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McEwen rockets to Adelaide win

The number 13 may not be so unlucky after all. Why? Because just after 8 p.m. Sunday evening in Adelaide, Australia, Katusha’s sprinting pocket rocket Robbie McEwen notched his thirteenth stage victory in the race by winning the Cancer Council Classic criterium, outsprinting Milram’s Wim Stroetinga and Graeme Brown of Rabobank.??Cancer Council Classic

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By Anthony Tan

Robbie the Rocket lives up to his nickname.

Robbie the Rocket lives up to his nickname.

Photo: Graham Watson

The number 13 may not be so unlucky after all.

Why? Because just after 8 p.m. Sunday evening in Adelaide, Australia, Katusha’s sprinting pocket rocket Robbie McEwen notched his thirteenth stage victory in the race by winning the Cancer Council Classic criterium, outsprinting Milram’s Wim Stroetinga and Graeme Brown of Rabobank.

Cancer Council Classic
51km (31.7 miles): 30 laps of a 1.7km (1.1 mile) circuit in Adelaide in 1:04:32

Average speed: 47.4 kmh (29.5 mph)

?Winner: Robbie McEwen (Katusha) wins and will wear the Tour Down Under leaders jersey on stage 1. Wim Stroetinga (Team Milram) was second and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) third.
DNF: Michael Rogers (Team Columbia-High Road) and Tom Leezer (Rabobank), however the race does not count towards overall classification.
Peloton: 133 riders.

The criterium served as a prologue of sorts for the Tour Down Under: although the times will not count toward the general classification, McEwen will don the leader’s ochre jersey for Tuesday’s 140km run from Norwood to Mawson Lakes. His win quashed claims that as he gets older, he’s getting slower. Just ask Lance Armstrong, whose unremarkable 64th place can be regarded as a success in itself.

“I don’t know if doubters fire me up … they’ll always be doubters,” McEwen told VeloNews with brown eyes still ablaze, asked if those who doubted him drove him most.

“It’s been written — getting old, this and that — but thing is, I’ve just done my thing, kept training, worked towards this point pretty solidly and here I am, across the line first — that’s all that matters.”

This perennial champion, who’s been winning fast finishes ever since he threw a leg over a BMX bike some 30 years ago, always seems to have a knack of rising to the biggest occasions, and being Armstrong’s first race back in the ProTour, there was no grander stage.

“I love a crowd,” said McEwen with a cheeky grin, whose last major victory came in last year’s Paris-Brussels in mid-September.

“It’s something special, to win in your own country, the biggest race in the country, in front of all these people, it’s a really special atmosphere. And I love coming to this race and when you’ve got a crowd like this, so enthusiastic and they’re all cheering for you, it does give you a little bit extra.”

The 36-year-old Queenslander — just 15 months younger than Armstrong — said he didn’t place pressure on his teammates to set him up for the win considering they all lacked race fitness, but nevertheless, the Katusha coterie chose a designated game plan before the 51km circuit race through the city’s eastern parklands.

Defending champion André Greipel (Columbia), finished fourth.

Much of the 30-lap criterium was raced at high intensity with lap times for the 1.7km course ranging from 2 minutes 15 seconds midway through to a lung-busting 1:46 for the final lap. Four intermediate sprints were on offer, although none had any bearing on the final result.

Lance needn’t have worried

And speaking of doubters, those who doubted Armstrong’s ability to find his racing legs again should not have. For much of the hour-long criterium, he rode at the front, at ease, and as if he never left the sport, his legs still a willing slave to the rhythm of professional bike racing.

Armstrong rolled across in 64th.

Armstrong rolled across in 64th.

Photo: Graham Watson

Toward the end, Armstrong slipped toward the back of the field.

“I’m glad it’s over,” said the American, who is far more suited to stage racing than hectic criteriums where the threat of crashes is ever present.

“There was a lot of anxiety today but it was good for a first day.”

Asked how he enjoyed racing back in the bunch, Armstrong added: “Yeah, it’s not my style but I enjoyed it. Honestly, I had fun today.”

Armstrong attracted a lot of attention in Adelaide.

Armstrong attracted a lot of attention in Adelaide.

Photo: Graham Watson

The few words of advice from Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel before the race? “Just stay out of trouble,” Bruyneel said

“I don’t think we needed to have this criterium to know that he’s happy with his condition. I think the thing he’s most happy about is being a bike rider again with a number on his back and being able to race in the professional peloton. I can see he was really enjoying it,” said Bruyneel.

Was there any point the Belgian was worried? “No, no,” he demurred.

“(The Tour Down Under is) not a difficult race, but I don’t think he needs a difficult race right now. I think he needs to get into a race, into the stage races and see how he recovers and see how he goes uphill. It’s definitely not our mission or intention to win here.

“What is sure is that if Lance feels good on a certain stage, he will want to test himself. I think he’s good enough to be in the front group — but to really go for the win, that wouldn’t be realistic, either. He needs some more time,” Bruyneel said.

Agence Press France contributed to this report

Photo Gallery


1. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Katusha, 51km in 1:04:32
2. Wim Stroetinga (Ned), Milram, s.t.
3. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.
4. Andre Greipel (Ger), Columbia-High Road, s.t.
5. Jose Rojas (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, s.t.
6. Allan Davis (Aus), Quick Step, s.t.
7. Baden Cooke (Aus), UniSA, s.t.
8. Francesco Chicchi (Ita), Liquigas, s.t.
9. Hilton Clarke (Aus), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:01
10. Chris Sutton (Aus), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:02
11. Mark Renshaw (Aus), Columbia-High Road, at 0:02
12. Nicholas Roche (Irl), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:02
13. Sebastien Hinault (Fra), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:03
14. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:03
15. Rony Martias (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:03
16. Inaki Isasi (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:03
17. Andrea Grendene (Ita), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:03
18. Gert Steegmans (Bel), Katusha, at 0:05
19. Aliaksandr Usau (Blr), Cofidis, at 0:06
20. Julien El Fares (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:07
21. Markel Irizar (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:07
22. Mikael Cherel (Fra), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:07
23. Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:07
24. Alexandre Pichot (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:08
25. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:08
26. Cameron Meyer (Aus), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:08
27. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:08
28. Matthew Goss (Aus), Saxobank, at 0:09
29. Timothy Gudsell (NZl), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:09
30. Kasper Klostergaard (Den), Saxobank, at 0:09
31. Luca Barla (Ita), Milram, at 0:09
32. Aaron Kemps (Aus), UniSA, at 0:09
33. Dries Devenyns (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:10
34. Christian Knees (Ger), Milram, at 0:10
35. Greg Henderson (NZl), Columbia-High Road, at 0:10
36. Josu Agirre (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10
37. Jos Van Emden (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:10
38. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:10
39. Yoann Offredo (Fra), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:11
40. Pablo Urtasun (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:12
41. Frank Hoj (Den), Saxobank, at 0:12
42. Nikolay Trusov (Rus), Katusha, at 0:15
43. Guillaume Blot (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:15
44. Matteo Tosatto (Ita), Quick Step, at 0:16
45. Cladio Corioni (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:17
46. Nicki Sorensen (Den), Saxobank, at 0:18
47. Olivier Kaisen (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:18
48. Mickael Buffaz (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:19
49. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:21
50. Mathew Hayman (Aus), Rabobank, at 0:21
51. Kurt Hovelijnck (Bel), Quick Step, at 0:22
52. Jonas Ljungblad (Swe), Silence-Lotto, at 0:23
53. Nicolas Portal (Fra), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:23
54. Thomas Rohregger (Aut), Milram, at 0:24
55. Oscar Pereiro (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:24
56. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Saxobank, at 0:24
57. George Hincapie (USA), Columbia-High Road, at 0:24
58. Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Columbia-High Road, at 0:24
59. Michael Schar (Swi), Astana, at 0:24
60. Imanol Erviti (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:24
61. Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr), Liquigas, at 0:24
62. Mathieu Claude (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:24
63. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:24
64. Lance Armstrong (USA), Astana, at 0:24
65. Florent Brard (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:24
66. Jesus Hernandez (Spa), Astana, at 0:24
67. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at 0:24
68. Assan Bazayev (Kaz), Astana, at 0:25
69. Francesco Reda (Ita), Quick Step, at 0:25
70. Vitaliy Buts (Ukr), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:25
71. Travis Meyer (Aus), UniSA, at 0:25
72. Davide Malacarne (Ita), Quick Step, at 0:25
73. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:25
74. Markus Eichler (Ger), Milram, at 0:25
75. Daniele Nardello (Ita), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:25
76. Vincent Jerome (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:25
77. Mathieu Drujon (Fra), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:25
78. Jens Voigt (Ger), Saxobank, at 0:25
79. Anders Lund (Den), Saxobank, at 0:25
80. Perrig Quemeneur (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:26
81. Kenny De Haes (Bel), Katusha, at 0:26
82. Juan Horrach (Spa), Katusha, at 0:26
83. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa), Astana, at 0:26
84. Stef Clement (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:26
85. Hubert Schwab (Swi), Quick Step, at 0:26
86. Aitor Hernandez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:26
87. Ronny Scholz (Ger), Milram, at 0:26
88. Rene Mandri (Est), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:27
89. Glenn D’Hollander (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:27
90. Vladmir Efimkin (Rus), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:27
91. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel), Katusha, at 0:27
92. Sergio De Lis (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:28
93. Sergey Klimov (Rus), Katusha, at 0:28
94. Ivan Dominquez (USA), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:28
95. Ermanno Capelli (Ita), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:28
96. Rick Flens (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:28
97. Simon Clarke (Aus), UniSA, at 0:28
98. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz), Astana, at 0:28
99. Gianni Da Ros (Ita), Liquigas, at 0:28
100. Andoni Lafuente (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:29
101. Emanuele Bindi (Ita), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:29
102. Javier Megias (Spa), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:29
103. Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:29
104. Frederick Willems (Bel), Liquigas, at 0:29
105. Timmy Duggan (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:29
106. William Walker (Aus), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:29
107. Trent Lowe (Aus), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:29
108. Martin Muller (Ger), Milram, at 0:29
109. Adam Hansen (Aus), Columbia-High Road, at 0:30
110. Mario Aerts (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:30
111. Kai Reus (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:30
112. Christian Meier (Can), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:30
113. Jack Bobridge (Aus), UniSA, at 0:30
114. Volodymyr Zagorodniy (Ukr), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:30
115. Pieter Jacobs (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:30
116. David Loosli (Swi), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:30
117. Jeremy Roy (Fra), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:30
118. Matteo Bono (Ita), Lampre-N.G.C, at 0:30
119. Matthew Lloyd (Aus), Silence-Lotto, at 0:30
120. Scott Davis (Aus), UniSA, at 0:30
121. Tom Stubbe (Bel), Silence-Lotto, at 0:30
122. Matthew Wilson (Aus), UniSA, at 0:30
123. Remy Di Gregorio (Fra), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:30
124. Matthieu Sprick (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:30
125. Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Liquigas, at 0:31
126. Rein Taaramae (Est), Cofidis, at 0:31
127. Laurent Lefevre (Fra), Bbox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:31
128. David Moncoutie (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:31
129. Pablo Lastras (Spa), Caisse D’Epargne, at 0:31
130. Davide Vigano (Ita), Fuji-Servetto, at 0:43
131. Julian Dean (NZl), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:45

Did not finish
Michael Rogers (Aus), Columbia-High Road
Tom Leezer (Ned), Rabobank