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Live coverage

Santos Tour Down Under 2010: Stage 5


Welcome back to Cyclingnews for live coverage of stage five at this year's Santos Tour Down Under. Today's stage takes us from Snapper Point to Willunga, covering a distance of 148km. There are two intermediate sprints and two batches of KOM points on offer on the summit of Old Willunga Hill, which is covered twice.

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Who'll make the 'EB'? UniSA has been active in making the early break each day this week, will one of the local boys do it again?

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The peloton has splintered and a group of four has gone away, with Michael Matthews (UniSA), Pierre Cazaux (Francaise des Jeux), Serguei Klimov (Katusha) and Anders Lund (Saxo Bank) trying their luck

Tha group has been reconstituted with more riders coming across. We can see that RadioShack's Gert Steegmans is there and Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions) has also joined the break

The early break has been let go. It's composition is: Michael Matthews (UniSA), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R La Mondiale), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Cameron Meyer, Matt Wilson (both Garmin-Transitions), David Gutierrez (Footon-Servetto) and Valeriy Dmitryev (Astana)

Our man on the ground, Greg Johnson, told me that Casey Stoner is riding in the Saxo Bank car today. The 2008 MotoGP world champion uses cycling as the basis of his training and is good friends with Stuart O'Grady...

The break has come through the town of Willunga for the first time, followed soon after by the peloton

The time gap is 47 seconds as big Bert Grabsch leads HTC-Columbia on the front of the peloton. It's important for Andre Greipel's teammates to keep a close watch of the break today...

As the riders head out of Willunga, they'll face moderate winds heading along Aldinga Rd, which takes them back to the coast.

128km remaining from 149km

So we can see that UniSA again made the early break, with Michael Matthews a part of the seven-man group that is riding off the front. This morning, his teammate, Rohan Dennis, told Cyclingnews: "This is all a lot different to riding the national series but I'm really liking it." Although Dennis didn't make the break after trying hard early, team manager Dave Sanders should be happy with his troops

The break is riding along Aldinga beach and is working very well together - regular turns on the front and the speed is excellent. With three Aussies in the move, there are some real drievrs in there

The intermediate sprint beckons in one kilometre...

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Vorganov was aiming to get himself higher on general classification and now sits behind Greipel by 28 seconds. If he keeps putting in big efforts for bonus seconds, however, he'll be cooked by thehill and won't be much chop in the break later...

The break is now on its second lap, heading towards McLaren Vale... meanwhile, the peloton is approaching the intermediate sprint so the gap must be somewhere around three minutes... we'll endeavour to get confirmation of the gap soon

107km remaining from 149km

SBS TV presenter Mike Tomalaris says he hopes Cadel Evans or one of the Spanish riders takes the stage today or moves into the overall lead, setting up a thrilling finale tomorrow... It might be a big call, but I'm agreeing with 'Tommo' for the race to come down to the final day!

UniSA rider and breakaway member Michael Matthews is affectionately known as 'Bling' and he's currently riding with a distinct shine amongst some of the world's best. He'sa very strong lad and has been driving the breakaway hard

Well-known TV race commentator Paul Sherwen forgot to take his lunch this morning... here at TDU central we're enjoying the spoils. Sorry Paul, you're going to have to stop by one of the bakeries in the area for a pie, or maybe a pastie...

Here we go folks, our first reader prediction of the day: John Calliott, who gave us a great heads up with Allan Davis' Tweet yesterday, reckons Astana could take its first win of the week today...

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While the break is still working well together, the initial spring and sting of the group has gone along Main Rd towards Willunga

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Our 'unofficial' time check confirms the whiteboard man, as the gap sits at 1:45

Thre break comes through the feed zone in Willunga - they've done 62.5km already...

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So, as we look towards the first ascent of Old Willunga Hill, it's a chance to take a peek at our feature on the hill that makes such a stir. We rode  the fifth stage - now being ridden by the pros - to get a feeling of what to expect from the Tour Down Under's penultimate day

It's a great return to the top level for Garmin-Transitions Matt Wilson. The 2004 Australian national champion and former Francaise des Jeux rider has experienced a few lean years but looks like he's making the most of his chance to ride the ProTour in 2010. Directeur sportif Matt White will be happy to have two of his boys in the break

Tiago from Portugal has given us his predictions for today's stage:

Speaking of Old Willunga Hill, Team Milram's Luke Roberts told Cyclingnews earlier in the week:

The break is heading along the Esplanade, with 77.5km ridden, there's three kilometres before the second intermediate sprint and the gap hasn't moved very much. We'll get you a time check soon, official or unofficial

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And guess what... it's Bert Grabsch leading his teammates on the front of the peloton

Speaking of Grabsch, HTC-Columbia directeur sportif Allan Peiper told journalists on Monday that during a time trial last season the big German rode a 58x11 gear to take back precious seconds. He regained the lead, pegging back over 25 seconds over the final half of his ride. No wonder he's been seen on the front of the peloton most of this week...

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Meanwhile, the break is coming into McLaren Vale

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Astana has Valeriy Dmitryev in the break, but one man who wasn't going to be in an escape group is Oscar Pereiro. The 2006 Tour de France champion told Cyclingnews: "There'll be nothing from me today... we will try and pop a top 10 on general classification though."

The break is now on Main Rd, just outside of Willunga; there doesn't appear to be too much wind along the dead straight piece of road but what's certain is that the peloton behind will be starting to twist the throttle very soon

The break is crossing the finishing line as it's about to head up the hill for the first time. Time check is at 2:17...

The peloton is now entering Willunga

46km remaining from 149km

There's every chance the break could be caught at the top of the climb... It's a tough ascent for a small group against the strength of the peloton, still driven by HTC-Columbia

Cam Meyer is drivig the break up the climb... come on son!

Thomas Rohregger has hit out and has caught the break!

Rohregger has driven straight past the break!

Valeriy Dmitryev (Astana) gets the maximum KOM points ahead of Thomas Rohregger (Milram)

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There's 17 seconds between the break and the peloton, as Caisse d'Epargne is driving the main group

As the break looks like being swallowed up, Seth in Chicago says: "I would love to see Valverde win out of a small group today because I love the way he rides, but it's so hard to bet against Greipel so I have to go on him again."

Aditya has asked how long Willunga Hill, and the answer is approximately four kilometres. It raises to about 400m altitude...

Dave from Adelaide says: "I was at the start this morning and Cadel was looking focused and ready for business. I predict he'll test his legs against LL Sanchez and Alejandro, not to mention Lance, on Wilunga Hill, even if it's not for the win today.

The break continues to try its best despite being doomed... David Gutierrez is struggling and hasn't done a turn in a looooong time

The break is dropping down Penny's Lane Rd at speeds hitting close to 90km/h - I rode the descent the other day and was hitting speeds around 85km/h. It's a fun run down!

As we see Cadel Evans in the bunch, the Australian said this morning that, "I think the way Andre and HTC-Clumbia are riding, they'll be very hard to crack."

23km remaining from 149km

We can see Cadel Evans having a chat with Alejandro Valverde - wonder what they're planning...

Anthony fro Ravena, New York, says:

Kvist rides over the finishing line for the second time - next time round it's for real! The peloton is still very close behind and in fact he is caught soon after

BMC Racing is sitting on the front at the bottom of the climb, giving Cadel Evans a platform to attack...

Evans attacks!

The attack from Cadel Evans has splintered the peloton... Francaise des Jeux's Wes Sulzberger is with him too

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Evans is towing Sulzberger up the climb with about one kilometre of the acent remaining as Valverde attacks about 500m behind

Evans is now solo off the front with Valverde coming up close behind - he looks behind to see where the Spaniard is

Peter Sagan (Liquigas) is riding with Valverde in pursuit of Evans. The Aussie is trying to break Greipel behind him and although we can't see it, the German may be in trouble...

Sanchez has also made his way to Valverde to form a group of three. They've caught Evans

The smack has gone right down and the four-man break has crested the climb

Valverde, Sanchez and Evans take one, two and three on the second KOM...

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The ridge between Old Willunga Hill and the descent of Penny's Lane Rd is tough, with dead roads and crosswinds making life difficult for a break to succeed, although this quartet is still looking great

With a gap of 37 seconds, Evans is indeed leading overall as HTC-Columbia is DRIVING the peloton very hard

That chat between Evans and Valverde wasn't just about tea and biscuits - or tapas for that matter. As we suspected, it was about an attack on Willunga Hill and that's what has transpired

The leading break is doing in excess of 100km/h down Penny's Lane Rd on the road back to Willunga - an incredible performance from these four men, with Sanchez doing an amazing job of maintaining the pace

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There are undoubtedly plenty of Aussie fans out there yelling at their TV sets in support of Cadel Evans - the pedigree group is working well together as it's on the flat and speeding towards Willunga with 33 seconds' advantage

We can't see the peloton behind the leading group and these four men aren't giving up at all - the race overall is at stake

The break passes the five kilometres-to-go in the stage... as it turns left onto Main Rd for the staight run to Willunga

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Jens Voigt is helping HTC-Columbia drive the peloton towards the break and the gap is 27 seconds

The break about two kilometres left to ride - will they stay away?

The leading quartet is labouring...

Coming into the final kilometre the break is looking around and the peloton is within sight

It's going to be a sprint... The bunch is almost on them as Sanchez counters his breakaway mates

Sanchez's attack has worked! He wins the stage!!!

Big hugs for Luis Leon Sanchez as a very late counter attack has netted him the stage win at the Tour Down Under

It was a thrilling conclusion to stage five at the Santos Tour Down Under with 2005 champion Luis Leon Sanchez taking the win but André Greipel and HTC-Columbia managed to hold onto the overall lead and go into the final day with a 20-second lead over Sanchez and Robbie McEwen.

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