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Santos Tour Down Under 2016: Stage 5

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 5 at the Tour Down Under. Today is the much-anticipated Willunga Hill stage that will play a big part in deciding the general classification.

 

To refresh your memory of where the race stands, here's the general classification after stage 4:

 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 13:41:58
2 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff 0:00:14
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:26
4 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:28
5 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ
6 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Esp) Team Movistar
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale 0:00:32
9 Rafael Valls Ferri (Esp) Lotto Soudal 0:00:36
10 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team

Simon Gerrans has been on fire so far in this race, taking two consecutive wins on stages 3 and 4. Here's the top 10 from yesterday's stage. Read more about it here.

 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 3:13:59
2 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek–Segafredo
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff
5 Leigh Howard (Aus) IAM Cycling
6 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Rsa)
7 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
8 Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team Katusha
9 Nathan Haas (Aus) Team Dimension Data
10 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL–Jumbo

 

Our TDU meteorologist Brett Dutschke has been providing race weather forecasts all week, and he just checked into the Cyclingnews blimp with the latest for today. What do you say, Brett?

 

Summary - Dry. Low clouds passing by but clinging to the hill. SSE winds 15-20 km/h (tail, cross and head wind effects around the circuit with little protection from trees). The coolest stage at 20-24 degrees


11:10am at McLaren Vale - Sunny breaks developing. About 21 degrees. SSE winds 15-20 km/h


McLaren Vale to Willunga to Aldinga Beach to McLaren Vale circuit - Increasing sunny breaks between passing clouds. 21-24 degrees. SSE winds 15-20 km/h


Willunga Hill circuit - Some sunshine, but cloudier on Willunga Hill and Range Road. 23-24 degrees but only 20-21 degrees on Willunga Hill/Range Road. SSE winds 15-20 km/h (strongest on Willunga Hill/Range Road) - effectively head winds for the climb to Willunga Hill (KoM and finish)

 

In case you missed today's action at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, you can read all abut the stage here.

 

A crash 30km from the finish today in Argentina caught out many of the general classification favourites. Our Sadhbh O'Shea has the rundown here.

 

Well, while we were looking back at the Tour de San Luis, the race sneaked away fem the start line. Their underway on along straight road through and agricultural area.

 

The riders are pedalling through some vineyards, but they won't have time for any wine tasting as the pace is full gas.

 

As one might expect, Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White had a lot to say about this important stage:

 

"Again it's a stage that will determine the winner of the race and a simple thing like losing the wheel in the last 500 meters of whatever group you're in can and has changed the final classification. I think no matter who comes out , the race tactics will be quite simple. There will be an early breakaway then it will be pulled in sometime on the final circuit.


"Teams will want to make the climb as hard as possible so they can shell the likes of Gerrans who aren't pure climbers. Whether that's Sky, BMC or someone else with a pure climber who is looking for a stage win, the pace at the bottom of the climb will be incredibly fast. It's a climb that isn't that long and you can get a wide variety of guys challenging for victory on Willunga, not just our pure climbers. There are always few hidden gems in the early season bunch, people who aren't ready to go day-in-day-out for GC but when they get to the end of the week with just one climb, they could target a stage win. Someone like a Domenico Pozzovivo could challenge while teams like Movistar always have somebody who is always flying in January. Let's also not forget Ritchie Porte has made the climb his own the last two years."

 

An AG2R rider is stretching to his legs off the front, trying to establish a breakaway. 

 

Alexis Gougeard, the AG2R rider dangling off the front, has been caught.

 

Five riders are trying to escape the bunch now. A crosswind is really tearing things up. They're lined out single file under this effort.

 

137km remaining from 151km

Lars Boom (Astana) is at the head of a small breakaway group now.

 

The crosswinds are wreaking havoc as two riders go down in the back of the field. They're both back up and on their way.

 

One of the riders is Primoz Roglic, the former ski jumper.

 

The four riders off the front now are  Pim Ligthart, Lars Boom, Nelson Oliverira and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg.

 

126km remaining from 151km

The quartet of escapees has 1:30 on the peloton.

 

122km remaining from 151km

The breakaway has 2:33 now. They're riding though the suburbs now, and the peloton is lined out n single file. It's obviously going to be a tough day for the riders.

 

29-year-old Pat Shaw is competing in his first WorldTour race this week with UniSA. Our Zeb Woodpower caught up with him before the stage. You can read about Shaw here.

 

We've picked five riders to watch dying today's stage. You can read about our picks here. Who's your favourite for the win today?

 

In case you missed it, Birdie O'Donnell set a new women's UCI Hour Record last night. The 41-year-old raised the bar to 46.882km. Read about her record ride here.

 

While we've been catching up with the latest news, the four breakaway riders have been busy building their advantage to more than 3:30.

 

Australian Hilton Clarke, who has been plying the US criterium circuit for the past few years with UnitedHealthcare, has found a new team this year. He'll ride for US Continental team Cylance-Incycle p/b Cannondale. Read about the team here.

 

112km remaining from 151km

The breakaways gap is ticking up near four minutes now.

 

Despite not feeling as well as he's felt the last two years at the Tour Down Under, Richie Porte is confident of his new BMC team's chances of success by week's end. Read what Porte had to say here.

 

106km remaining from 151km

The gap continues to go up on the long flat roads. The leaders now have 4:30 on the Orica-led peloton.

 

99km remaining from 151km

The road they're on now s straight as an arrow, and the gap to the four leaders is holding at 4:30. 

 

Big Lars Boom is leading the breakaway though a sweeping left-hand turn. They're working well together and motoring along nicely. They're in an exposed part of the course, but any winds don't appear to be having much of an impact on the riders.

 

Orica-GreenEdge are leading the chase now for Gerrans, followed by a long line of Tinkoff riders, including overall runner-up Jay McCarthy.

 

89km remaining from 151km

despite the chase, the gap is edging up near five minutes.

 

The peloton is cruising along the coast now. I'm sure the water looks refreshing, but they'll have to wait for a dip.

 

86km remaining from 151km

The gap has jumped past five minutes now.

 

81km remaining from 151km

The breakaway continues to build its advantage.Now it's 5:35. They're definitely committed to stay away, but the peloton isn't panicking.

 

Lighart took the first intermediate sprint of the day, followed by Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg and Lars Boom.

 

At 1:49 down, Pim Ligthart is the closest to Simon Gerrans on GC and is now the virtual leader on the road. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg is 3:28 down, followed by Nelson Oliverira @ 4:15 and Lars Boom @ 12:41.

 

It looks like Caleb Ewan on the front f the bunch now, followed by the long line of Tinkoff riders.

 

Ewan must be applying a lot of pressure, as they're lined out single file behind him.

 

Just a reminder bout the finish: The peloton will tackle Willunga Hill twice in the final 25km of the race, but the real shoot-out on the 7 percent climb will surely come the second time around.

 

Michael Albasini and Michael Hepburn representing Orica-GreenEdge on the front of the bunch now. Tinkoff, Giant-Alpecin and Cannondale are line u p behind them.

 

They're heading through the feed zone now. Dinner time!

 

The gap is coming back slightly, but the escapees are still looking comfortable.

 

BMC and AG2R have moved near the front now, but the work is still left to Orica-GreenEdge.

 

53km remaining from 151km

The gap is back up to 5:50

 

Willunga Hill is filling up with fans. The race will be there soon enough.

 

The main field has slowed down and are spread across the road. Meanwhile, the gap is back up to 5:55.

 

48km remaining from 151km

The breakaway is approaching another intermediate sprint. But it looks like they have bigger fish to fry today.

 

It looks like they're riding a steady pace through the sprint, with Ligthart taking the lead again. The gap is an even six minutes.

 

Tinkoff have taken control of the chase. Has Orica called their bluff.

 

35km remaining from 151km

The gap has shrunk to 4:45 now. Will they be able to bring them back?

 

25km remaining from 151km

The gap to the four leaders is down to 3:37 now. The chase is clearly getting serious.

 

22km remaining from 151km

Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) has dropped his break mates and summited Wiluunga Hill for the first time. He's got a small gap to the other three with 22km to go.

 

Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg is still within site of the other three escapees, who've got 2:28 on the field

 

17km remaining from 151km

They've caught Van Rensburg and have 1:53 on the field.

 

13km remaining from 151km

Sky have taken u the chase now, and the gap has plummeted to 1:25

 

6km remaining from 151km

The gap is doen to 45 seconds. It's not looking good for the break.

 

Multiple trains are competing for the front now: BMC, Sky, Lotto, Tinkoff, Cannondale, Lampre and Orica.

 

4km remaining from 151km

The break is being swept up.

 

The final climb is 2.9km

 

Team Sky are in the front with Rowe and Kennaugh

 

Kennaugh is going, but they've brought him back. Orica posed to attack now.

 

Sky setting the pace, Orica waiting, followed by Tinkoff, Cannondale and BMC. All the contenders are there.

 

 

They're still all together.

 

Simon Clark goes, maybe to soften up the others for Woods.

 

Rohan Dennis is dropped.

Attack by Lucas Hamilton UniSA

 

There are 1,4km to go and Hamilton has a good gap.

 

 

George Bennett catches Hamilton

 

NoNow it's Porte attacking and Wood following.

Porte dropped Woods, but Henao is now on Porte's wheel.

 

Porte and Henao riding away. 

 

Porte drops Henao.

 

Porte will get the win.

 

Henao is second

 

Woods is third

 

Gerrans has finished. He's saved his tour by eight seconds

 

Top 10 from today's stage:

 

1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 3:34:16
2 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:06
3 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale 0:00:09
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre–Merida 0:00:17
5 Rafael Valls Ferri (Esp) Lotto Soudal
6 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Esp) Team Movistar
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge
9 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale

 

Top 10 in the general classification:

 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 17:16:31
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
3 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:11
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff 0:00:20
5 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale
6 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Esp) Team Movistar 0:00:28
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Rafael Valls Ferri (Esp) Lotto Soudal 0:00:36
9 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ 0:00:49
10 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale 0:00:50

 

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