GreenEdge used up some valuable energy today in its pursuit of victory at the Santos Tour Down Under, but according to team director Matt White, it was well worth it.
Yesterday Cyclingnews reported that the team was worried about Andre Greipel, however that scenario has been thrown out the window today, with the German conceding big time and the ochre leader's jersey - making good on his comments yesterday that he had "no chance" for the overall.
"We wanted to get rid of Greipel, and we succeeded," said White bluntly in response to a question about why the team was so active at the front of the peloton today.
His sprint wins on stages 1 and 3 saw him with a handy 20 seconds in accumulated bonifications, and with stage 6 also expected to end in a bunch dash, it didn’t seem unlikely that he could pick up another 10 there. But he struggled with the pace on the Menglers Hill climb, eventually waving the white flag to finish seven minutes and 45 seconds down on the main field.
Two aces to play on Willunga
For GreenEdge though, the real battle is tomorrow which will see the team with two options in Cameron Meyer and Simon Gerrans as genuine chances for the stage win, and in turn the overall. Meyer told Cyclingnews that though Gerrans had earned himself top status after his performance at nationals, he would be another card when the race becomes more selective late in the race tomorrow.
"If Simon has a problem for whatever reason, punctures or isn't feeling good, I'm there. Maybe I can go up the road, and that'll allow Simon to sit on. There are plenty of different scenarios. It's great to have a two-pronged attack, but if I need to sacrifice myself on Willunga I will."
Meyer added that he was confident that himself and Gerrans could both be in a select 10-man group at the end of the race, where other teams might be isolated.
"I don't think there are any other teams that have two guys who are capable of going up Willunga as fast as they'll need to. If we come to the last kilometre and that's the situation, it's definitely an advantage."