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Tour Down Under Stage 6 – Live Coverage


Stage 6 will decide the overall race with two ascents of Willunga Hill

Today's stage starts like previous days, with two intermediate sprints preceding the KOMs. The sprints are a little farther out today, however. The first comes at 63.4km, in Esplanade, and the second at 103.4km, also at Esplanade.

By way of review, here's the top 10 from yesterday's stage.

Stage 5 top 10:

1 Giacmomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 3:32:45

And the current overall standings ...

Today is all about Willunga Hill and the two ascents that come at the back end of the day. As Mat Hayman points out in his preview, the race often comes down to seconds, and it looks like ti will  again this year.

Temperature today in McLaren Vale is 20.6 C  – or 69 F.

...aaaaaaaaand we're rolling, race fans, for a brief neutral start!

The peloton is stacked up behind the white Subaru pace car as the riders are champing at the bit too get going...

The pace car is pulling away and attacks have already started. This is going to be a blistering stage

UniSA are anxious to get someone in the break today, but the peloton hasn't appreciated the make-ups of the attempts so far and has shut everything down for one reason or another.

This group of 25-30 riders has escaped and has a 1:25 gap. All of the teams are represented, but this is certainly going to shake up a lot of plans

20km into the day, and the gap has gone up to 2:10 to a breakaway of 26. We're trying to get the Cyclingnews blimp close enough to get some numbers and figure out who is the move.

The breakaway has 3:30 on the bunch, and we3've got names!

Trek-Segafredo – Reijnen
Lotto Souda – Matthew Holmes, Jonathan Dibben
Cofidis – Mathias Le Turnier, Kenneth Van Bilsen
Deceuninck-QuickStep – Shane Archbold, Iljo Keisse
Team Ineos – Luke Rowe
CCC Team – Joey Rosskopf
Israel Start-Up Nation – Andre Greipel, James Piccoli
UAE Team Emirates – Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato
Bora-Hansgrohe – Cesare Benedetti
Astana – Manuele Boaro
Team Sunweb – Michael Storer
Groupama-FDJ – Bruno Armirail
Movistar – Juri Hollmann
NTT Pro Cycling – Dylan Sunderland
Jumbo-Visma – Bert-Jan Lindeman
Bahrain McLaren – Domen Novak, Marco Haller
EF Pro Cycling  – Mitch Docker, Jonas Rutsch
UniSA – Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott

Race radio says James Piccoli is not in the breakaway for Israel Start-up Nation. Rather, it's Rick Zabel. That makes it Zabel and Greipel in the move for the first-year WorldTour team

CCC Team's Joey Rosskopf, the current mountains leader, started the day 58 seconds down and is the virtual leader on the road.

AG2R is powering the chase back in the peloton at the moment, with Porte's Trek-Segafredo teammates lined up behind them

With 100 km to go our 26-rider lead group has 3:25 on the peloton.

Once again, here's the make up of that large front group:

Trek-Segafredo – Kiejl Reijnen
Lotto Souda – Matthew Holmes, Jonathan Dibben
Cofidis – Mathias Le Turnier, Kenneth Van Bilsen
Deceuninck-QuickStep – Shane Archbold, Iljo Keisse
Team Ineos – Luke Rowe
CCC Team – Joey Rosskopf
Israel Start-Up Nation – Andre Greipel, Rick Zabel
UAE Team Emirates – Vegard Stake Laengen, Marco Marcato
Bora-Hansgrohe – Cesare Benedetti
Astana – Manuele Boaro
Team Sunweb – Michael Storer
Groupama-FDJ – Bruno Armirail
Movistar – Juri Hollmann
NTT Pro Cycling – Dylan Sunderland
Jumbo-Visma – Bert-Jan Lindeman
Bahrain McLaren – Domen Novak, Marco Haller
EF Pro Cycling  – Mitch Docker, Jonas Rutsch
UniSA – Sam Welsford, Cameron Scott

Porte will be happy that his Trek-Segafredo team is getting help with the chase from AG2R La Mondiale. Porte was likely hoping that he could stomp his way back into the final ochre leader's jersey with a race-winning performance the last time up Willunga Hill. But if a large breakaway can stay away, that will complicate his plans significantly.

Impey also knows what he's up against, as he said at the start this morning.

Here's the bike Impey will be using today

...and Porte's ride

The leaders are 6km away from the first intermediate sprint, and the gap has gone up again. It's now 4:13.

The race is going through some flat lands now, with roads lined with vineyards and orchards. It's very exposed and there's a slight breeze, but wind doesn't appear to be an issue so far today.

And the leaders have popped around a corner and arrived at the beach. It's a beautiful day, and the beach is packed with spectators and sunbathers

Today the peloton will ride from McLaren Vale to Willunga, Aldinga Beach – where they're at now – and Tatachilla before tackling two climbs, including at the the finish, of notorious Willunga Hill.

The breakaway riders must be taking inspiration from the ocean breeze. They've taken the gap out to 4:30

Less than a kilometres to the frost sprint with 88.1km to go.

No surprises here. Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) easily took that sprint from Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates).

Nice to see the 'Gorilla' get a win, even if it was a simple intermediate test. There's one more sprint opportunity for the German, with 48.1km to go, but I'm afraid a stage win this year is out of the card for Greipel with the finish on Willunga.

40km to the next intermediate sprint, and the gap is holding at 4:30, with the entire AG2R La Mondiale squad having come forward to power the peloton's chase.

AG2R's leader Romain Bardet came to the race with designs on the overall, but a disastrous day in Stirling on stage 2, when he lost 2:33, put those plans to rest. He'd like to redeem himself with a stage win on Willunga Hill, and so his team is helping Trek to try and pull back this move.

Our Ellis Bacon also takes an in-depth look at the battle between Port and Impey for the ochre jersey. Read it HERE

AG2R has put a dent into the gap, and it's back below four minutes at 3:20 with 80 km to go.

For you cyclo-cross fans, Wout van Aert got his first podium result since returning from injury, finishing second to Mathieu van der Poel today at Kasteelcross in Zonnebeke. read all about it HERE

Over in Argentina, things are shaping up for the Sunday start of the Vuelta a San Juan. Our Barry Ryan caught up with 20-year-old superstar in the making Remco Evenepoel, who says he expects an even better season in 2020 than his debut last year. Read the article HERE.

UCI President David Lappartient raised some cycling eyebrows this week when he said the international governing body was looking into organising a world championships for gravel racing. EF Pro Cycling's Lachlan Morton, an "adventure" and gravel racer himself, basically said, 'Nah, bruh, we're good." Read the article  

Apologies. Here's the link to the article with Morton's comments about gravel racing and the UCI's potential involvement.

Back in Australia, there may have been some confusion with the race clock, because the gap from the peloton to our 26-rider lead group is back up to 4:35 with 70 km remaining.

We spoke with Mitchelton-Scott director Matt White this morning. And here's how he saw things then:

"The script has been written, now it's time for the actors to step up on the final stage and put on a show. I think it's going to be a nail-biting finish. It's no surprise that this race has again come down to seconds. Now it all depends on when and where Richie Porte attacks on Willunga, if it's 1.3km from the finish or closer to the line. Factors like that decide how much time he can get and if we can hang on to him and limit our losses. Most of the time nobody is capable of going with him, so it comes down to pretty fine margins.

With 58 km to go, the gap is 4:15

Rosskopf is a bit of a wrench in the works for the breakaway. At 58 seconds overall, he's the only real GC threat in the move. The peloton has got to pull him back to within 48 seconds, just to be sure, and then Porte can take the lead by finishing more than two seconds ahead of Impey, even if he doesn't get a time bonus.

The leaders have passed through sprint 2 with 48km remaining, and UniSA's Sam Welsford took out the top prize ahead of Armirail and Zabel

Reminder of our riders in the breakaway, which has just over four minutes with just over 40km remaining:

The gap has dropped below four minutes to 3:40 with 38km to go

The peloton is just over 10km away rom the first trip up Willunga Hill. The gap is now 3:04 with 32.5km to go.

Shane Archbold is tail-gunning the breakaway, his distinctive mullet making the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider easy to pick out even way up here in the Cyclingnews blimp.

The leaders are going through McLaren Vale for the final time at the end of the three big loops and will soon be on the first of two loops around Willunga Hill.

The gap is inside three minutes at 2:50 with 30km to go. The first KOM, at the top of Willunga Hill on the first lap, comes at 22.4km

The leaders are approaching the bottom of the climb.They'll carry a 2:25 gap the forst time up Willunga Hill. 3.7km to the KOM

Back in the field the team are lining up to position their leaders. Team Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Cofiids, Astana, 

Sprint leader Jasper Philpsen is on the front for UAE teammate Diego Ulissi

25km to go and the gap is 1:33

Joey Rosskopf has attacked ahead of the KOM and is being trailed by Dylan Sunderland and Bruno Armirail.

Rosskopf has taken the top points at the KOM and sealed the mountains classification victory. His acceleration also cut the lead group in half.

The gap from the lead group to the peloton is now 2:05, but there breakaway has fractured into several groups.

Stephen Farrand snapped this picture of Porte looking comfortable on Willunga Hill.

Luis Leon Sanchez has attacked from the field and is trying to bridge to the break. He's 19 seconds better than Rosskopf in the general classification and could be racing for the overall win.

The gap to our leaders has gone back out to 2:35 with 12.5km remaining. Sanchez is still in no-man's land. Trek-Segafredo is towing the peloton.

The boys are flying out there in this finale, but the breakaway isn't coming back so far!

10km to go and the gap is 2:37

Trying to get numbers of the lead group

Mitchelton-Scott is starting to panic now and has sent the team to the front of the peloton. 

6.5km to go and the gap to the Rosskopf and the leaders is 2:07

Here are some of the riders in the lead group. This may not be a complete list

4.2km to go and Luke Rowe has attacked the lead group with Jonas Rutsch, and there is a reaction behind.

Rowe and Rutsch have a small gap. 

Gap from the peloton to the leaders is 1:05 with 3.3km to go for the leaders

Jonas Rutsch has attacked Rowe with 2.8km remaining and a minute on the peloton. Rutsch has a gap.

Impey and Porte are marking each other back in the field, although Impey is not close to the front. Impey appears to be struggling about a third of the way back in the bunch.

At the front, Storer has caught and passed Rutsch. Holmes is there as well.

Impey is really struggling to hold the pace of Porte and the peloton. A gap is opening in front of Impey. The South African is really struggling. Yates must have gotten the news, because he's tagged onto Porte's wheel with.

Porte has taken over the front of the group as the peloton has exploded.

Porte, followed by Yates, and they're tracking down the remnants fo the break, a trio of riders.

Porte has cracked Yates and is setting off fore the stage win.

Porte has caught the leaders. He's over the steepest section and being tagged by Storer and Lotto's Holmes. Porte kicks again and only Holmes can hang with him this time.

400 metres to go for Porte and Holmes!

Matthew Holmes gets the Willunga Hill win ahead of Porte!

Stage 6 top 10

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