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Gallery: Fast and furious at the Tour Down Under

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Simon Gerrans begins the final stage of the Tour Down Under.

Simon Gerrans begins the final stage of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Simon Gerrans had the biggest smile on the podium.

Simon Gerrans had the biggest smile on the podium.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Andre Greipel is a popular figure in Adelaide.

Andre Greipel is a popular figure in Adelaide.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) cruises to victory on the final stage of the Tour Down Under.

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) cruises to victory on the final stage of the Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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The sprint is on, but it looks like Andre Greipel will easily take the win.

The sprint is on, but it looks like Andre Greipel will easily take the win.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Lampre-ISD looked most keen to keep the race together.

Lampre-ISD looked most keen to keep the race together.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Cameron Meyer was looking ot spoil the sprinters' fun.

Cameron Meyer was looking ot spoil the sprinters' fun.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) finished third on the stage.

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) finished third on the stage.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Rabobank were keen for the win today.

Rabobank were keen for the win today.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Robbie McEwen was looking focused on the sprinters' course.

Robbie McEwen was looking focused on the sprinters' course.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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The pace was on early in the stage.

The pace was on early in the stage.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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Remnants on the podium as the curtain comes down on the 2012 Tour Down Under.

Remnants on the podium as the curtain comes down on the 2012 Tour Down Under.
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)

After the tough finish at Willunga on the penultimate stage, the sprinters had another chance to shine on the 90km criterium that brought the curtain down on the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide on Sunday.

With so many of the world’s top sprinters on show in Australia, including Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw, Matt Goss and Oscar Freire, it was always going to be tough for a plucky escapee like Cameron Meyer to stay clear of the baying peloton.

Adding to the intrigue of the final day was the tense battle for the ochre jersey of race winner, with Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) entering the stage in the lead but locked on the same time as the threatening Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

In the event, Gerrans and GreenEdge successfully marked the controversial Spaniard to seal overall victory, while André Greipel roared to the stage win. In doing so, the German showed once again that he is a step ahead of the rest of the sprinting fraternity at this early juncture in the season.

Mark Gunter was on hand to record an eventful day’s racing for posterity and you can see his fine gallery of pictures here.