Blanco's Bobridge sole threat for final stage
In an action-packed final hour of racing on Stage 5 at the Tour Down Under it was the Movistar squad that unleashed the biggest threat to overall leader Geraint Thomas (Sky). Javier Moreno finished third on the stage up Old Willunga Hill and moved into second-place overall but he'll be the one to shout his teammates an Australia Day beer at the hotel tonight.
The Spanish squad launched riders up the road on the first ascent of Old Willunga in an attempt to force the chase from Geraint Thomas and his Sky team. While the attacks from Eros Capecchi, Jose Herrada and Andrey Amador were eventually swallowed up, it providing Javier Moreno with the perfect launch pad to capture third on the stage and take the lead in the King of the Mountains classification.
Blanco's Jack Borbridge wore the KOM jersey on Stage 4 as the outright leader of the competition but Moreno's podium place on the hilltop finish meant he overtook the Australian for the lead. The Spaniard also pushed himself into second-overall behind Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco).
"In the last climb, I got a good lead with 1km to go," explained Moreno.
"I was at the front but I got passed by two riders [Simon Gerrans and Tom-Jelte Slagter] who were stronger than me."
Bobridge will have his work cut out for him tomorrow defending new race leader Slagter's position but he may have an opportunity to retake the KOM jersey. The Adelaide City circuit provides two Catergory 3 climbs on Lap 10 and 15 but Bobridge will need to ride aggressively throughout the 20-lap race if he is to capture the overall KOM prize.
Unfortunately for Moreno the Cat 3 climb is just 635m long with an average gradient of just 2.52%. With Bobridge already taking points throughout the week, there could be another race happening on the final stage.
"I didn't look for the jersey of king of the mountain but this is the kind of classification that I like!," said Moreno. "Then being second on GC is probably the best ranking I could hope for. Slagter was absolutely superior. My performance shows the hard work I've done this winter. It gives me good hopes for the future."