Events

Tour Down Under: Rogers, McEwen pace Aussie sweep

You couldn't blame Michael Rogers for demanding a spare bike be ready for immediate use as he rode the final kilometers to victory in the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under in Australia on Sunday. After all, he learned 24 hours before winning the 733km race how "Lady Luck" can abruptly barge her way in unannounced and throw every winning hope into disarray. That a quick-minded spectator was there to lend Rogers his own bike on the previous stage was the most poignant moment behind his overall victory - by 21 seconds over Russian Alexandre Botcharov (AG2R) and 30 seconds on South Australian

By Rupert Guinness of The Australian

Rogers

Rogers

Photo: Graham Watson

You couldn’t blame Michael Rogers for demanding a spare bike be ready for immediate use as he rode the final kilometers to victory in the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under in Australia on Sunday. After all, he learned 24 hours before winning the 733km race how “Lady Luck” can abruptly barge her way in unannounced and throw every winning hope into disarray.

That a quick-minded spectator was there to lend Rogers his own bike on the previous stage was the most poignant moment behind his overall victory – by 21 seconds over Russian Alexandre Botcharov (AG2R) and 30 seconds on South Australian Patrick Jonker (Uni SA).

But when asked why there was an extra bike on the roof of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) car, it was clear that the near-disaster had taught him a lesson.

McEwen celebrates his fourth stage win

McEwen celebrates his fourth stage win

Photo: Graham Watson

“It was a luck thing,” said the 22 year-old rider, admitting the drama of Saturday’s stage took as much a toll on him physically as mentally.

“I tossed and turned all night. I didn’t sleep so well. The pressure was always on.”

And it was still on him in Sunday’s 90km sixth stage circuit race in Adelaide which saw Queensland’s Robbie McEwen (Lotto) claim his fourth stage.

For Rogers, who placed 20th and at the same time as McEwen, the chances of him seeing the overall victory slip through his grasp were slim. Then again, he had already discovered how the supposedly safest of stages can still be some of the most dangerous.

On the same stage two years ago Rogers crashed when his bike frame suddenly snapped. It forced him out of the race.

So why would his bike not fail him again yesterday — as it did on Saturday? The loss would be more than in skin and pride, but in the greatest victory of his cycling career.

Rogers admitted he asked himself the same question before lining up to seal his win, which capped a dominant week by Australian riders in the tour.

If the tour was to have given Australian riders a multi-cultural experience in pedaling prowess by the foreign teams, it ended with them teaching the Europeans a lesson.

When the 733km came to an end, it was the Australians who were left gorging on the victory pie like a starved pride of African lions feeding on wild prey.

McEwen added more gloss to his polished season start by winning his fourth stage in front of an 80,000-strong crowd that saw total race attendance reach 435,000.

McEwen’s ride on Sunday was typically aggressive. He tried repeatedly to slip away in breakaway groups before the stage ended in a mass gallop to the line.

“I knew it was going to be really aggressive. I tried to get in a couple of breaks and got caught, caught again and again,” he said. “Then that was it. I thought I am here, I’ve got to get across the line so I might as well be first.”

His victory today also ensured local riders a clean sweep of stage wins. On top of McEwen’s four wins, Rogers and Victorian Cadel Evans took one stage a piece. Australians also won the race for best climber (Evans) and sprinter (McEwen), as well under-23 (Dave McPartland) and most aggressive (Stuart O’Grady) riders.

The one satisfaction left for visitors was victory in the teams category by the Italian Mapei squad. But even that still included one Australian in Evans.

Meanwhile, national head coach Shane Bannon and road coach Brian Stephens defended their young charges against criticism by veteran professional Scott Sunderland.

After sustaining a fractured right shinbone and posterior cruciate ligament damage in a crash at Victor Harbor on Friday he said the under-23 riders were in over their heads.

“I don’t believe that,” said Bannon. “If they were, we wouldn’t have entered them.”

Stephens said: “Scotty has to understand he was 21 or 22 once. These type of accidents can happen in any race, from a club race to the Tour de France.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage 6 – January 20: Adelaide City Council circuit, 90km;
Stage Results;
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Adecco, 1.51.29 (48.4 km/h);
2 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC – Tiscali;
3 Baden Cooke (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux;
4 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step;
5 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
6 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Telekom;
7 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole;
8 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
9 Brett Aitken (Aus) UniSA;
10 Lauri Aus (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
11 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Mapei Quick Step;
12 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
13 Sebastian Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole;
14 Innar Mandoja (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
15 Allan Davis (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
16 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance;
17 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei Quick Step;
18 Thierry Loder (Fra) AG2r-Prevoyance;
19 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA;
20 Bobby Julich (USA) Telekom;
21 Jans Koerts (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
22 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
23 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom;
24 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
25 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step;
26 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step;
27 Bradley McGee (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux;
28 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water;
29 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei Quick Step;
30 Chris Jenner (NZl) Credit Agricole;
31 Frederick Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux;
32 Anthony Morin (Fra) Credit Agricole;
33 Bjarke Nielsen (Den) CSC – Tiscali;
34 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC – Tiscali;
35 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
36 Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom, at 0.10;
37 Inigo Chaurreau Bernadez (Spa) AG2r-Prevoyance;
38 Robert Tighello (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
39 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) AG2r-Prevoyance;
40 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Telekom, at 0.13;
41 Frederic Bessy (Fra) Credit Agricole;
42 Ashley Humbert (Aus) United Water;
43 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
44 Oscar Mason (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
45 Steve Cunningham (Aus) UniSA;
46 Raphael Jeune (Fra) CSC – Tiscali;
47 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step;
48 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei Quick Step;
49 Scott Davis (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
50 Dave McPartland (Aus) United Water, at 0.17;
51 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
52 Simon Gerrans (Aus) United Water;
53 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
54 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) CSC – Tiscali;
55 Christian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
56 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
57 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Domo Farm Frites;
58 Brad Davidson (Aus) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
59 Bruce McIntosh (Aus) United Water;
60 Robert Bartko (Ger) Telekom;
61 Jonathan Vaughters (USA) Credit Agricole;
62 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC – Tiscali;
63 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Credit Agricole;
64 Anthony Langella (Fra) Credit Agricole;
65 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
66 Ief Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
67 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
68 Glenn d’Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
69 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
70 Andreas Kloden (Ger) Telekom;
71 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux;
72 Daniel Mackey (Aus) United Water;
73 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 0.32;
74 Steve Williams (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 0.34;
75 David Pell (Aus) United Water;
76 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA 0.38;
77 Bram Tankink (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
78 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC – Tiscali 0.41;
79 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA 0.42;
80 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto Adecco 0.46;
81 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA 0.48;
82 Thomas Bodo (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 0.50;
83 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo Farm Frites 1.28;
84 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA 4.40;
85 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water;
86 Corey Sweet (Aus) UniSA 4.41;
87 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC – Tiscali;
88 Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport;
89 Matt Wilson (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux;
90 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo Farm Frites;
91 David Kopp (Ger) Telekom 10.41;
92 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
DNS Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux;
;
Jacob’s Creek final general classification after stage 6;
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 16.59.44 (43.1 km/h);
2 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance 0.21;
3 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 0.30;
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step 0.40;
5 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 0.58;
6 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC – Tiscali 3.14;
7 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 3.57;
8 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 4.36;
9 Anthony Morin (Fra) Credit Agricole 4.40;
10 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom 5.28;
11 Robert Tighello (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 5.29;
12 Inigo Chaurreau Bernadez (Spa) AG2r-Prevoyance 6.27;
13 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco 9.32;
14 Scott Davis (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 9.52;
15 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Telekom 10.00;
16 Thierry Loder (Fra) AG2r-Prevoyance 12.43;
17 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei Quick Step 12.46;
18 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) AG2r-Prevoyance 12.55;
19 Dave McPartland (Aus) United Water 12.56;
20 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 13.10;
21 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 14.02;
22 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 25.07;
23 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 26.13;
24 Sebastian Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole 28.25;
25 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA 28.43;
26 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Adecco 32.59;
27 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Telekom 33.16;
28 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Domo Farm Frites 33.20;
29 Fabian De Waele (Bel) Mapei Quick Step;
30 Bobby Julich (USA) Telekom;
31 Chris Jenner (NZl) Credit Agricole;
32 Ashley Humbert (Aus) United Water 33.33;
33 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water 33.34;
34 Simon Gerrans (Aus) United Water 33.37;
35 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
36 Robert Bartko (Ger) Telekom 33.48;
37 Bradley McGee (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 34.14;
38 Frederic Bessy (Fra) Credit Agricole 34.50;
39 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Credit Agricole 34.54;
40 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA 36.39;
41 Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom 37.17;
42 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC – Tiscali 37.26;
43 Allan Davis (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 37.30;
44 Innar Mandoja (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
45 Steve Cunningham (Aus) UniSA 37.40;
46 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo Farm Frites;
47 Glenn d’Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco 37.42;
48 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC – Tiscali;
49 Oscar Mason (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 37.43;
50 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei Quick Step;
51 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto Adecco 37.47;
52 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) CSC – Tiscali;
53 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
54 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 38.02;
55 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA 38.09;
56 Frederick Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 38.14;
57 Tomas Konecny (Cze) Domo Farm Frites 38.15;
58 Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Lotto Adecco 38.16;
59 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport 38.18;
60 Bruce McIntosh (Aus) United Water 38.30;
61 Thomas Bodo (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 39.14;
62 Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport 39.18;
63 Bram Tankink (Ned) Domo Farm Frites 39.30;
64 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA 41.38;
65 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water 42.03;
66 Jans Koerts (Ned) Domo Farm Frites 42.29;
67 Baden Cooke (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 42.30;
68 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
69 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 42.32;
70 Brett Aitken (Aus) UniSA;
71 Bjarke Nielsen (Den) CSC – Tiscali;
72 Lauri Aus (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance;
73 Brad Davidson (Aus) Saeco-Longoni Sport 42.49;
74 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport;
75 Anthony Langella (Fra) Credit Agricole;
76 Andreas Klˆden (Ger) Telekom 43.14;
77 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Domo Farm Frites 43.17;
78 Raphael Jeune (Fra) CSC – Tiscali 43.35;
79 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Domo Farm Frites 44.00;
80 Jonathan Vaughters (USA) Credit Agricole 44.08;
81 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC – Tiscali 44.32;
82 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Saeco-Longoni Sport 44.51;
83 Christian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 45.06;
84 Ief Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto Adecco;
85 David Pell (Aus) United Water 45.14;
86 Steve Williams (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 45.14;
87 David Kopp (Ger) Telekom 48.08;
88 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC – Tiscali 48.39;
89 Corey Sweet (Aus) UniSA 49.51;
90 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto Adecco 53.13;
91 Matt Wilson (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 1.06.57;
92 Daniel Mackey (Aus) United Water 1.12.11;
;
SA Lotteries Sprints classification;
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Adecco 36 pts;
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 20;
3 Jans Koerts (Ned) Domo Farm Frites 18;
4 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 12;
5 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 12;
6 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC – Tiscali 10;
7 Glenn d’Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco 10;
8 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 10;
9 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 10;
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step 8;
11 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 8;
12 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei Quick Step 6;
13 Thierry Loder (Fra) AG2r-Prevoyance 6;
14 Christian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 6;
15 David Pell (Aus) United Water 6;
16 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 6;
17 Corey Sweet (Aus) UniSA 6;
18 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC – Tiscali 6;
19 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Telekom 6;
20 Robert Tighello (Aus) Australian Institute Of Spor 4;
21 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA 4;
22 Baden Cooke (Aus) La Francaise Des Jeux 4;
23 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance 4;
24 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance 2;
25 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom 2;
26 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco 2;
27 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) AG2r-Prevoyance 2;
;
Laubman & Pank King of the Mountain classification;
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step 48 pts;
2 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA 36;
3 Glenn d’Hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco 28;
4 Brad Davidson (Aus) Saeco-Longoni Sport 20;
5 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 20;
6 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water 16;
7 David Pell (Aus) United Water 16;
8 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 16;
9 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance 12;
10 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole 12;
11 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 10;
12 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 8;
13 Servais Knaven (Ned) Domo Farm Frites 8;
14 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC – Tiscali 8;
15 Frederick Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 6;
16 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Telekom 6;
17 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Adecco 6;
18 Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport 6;
19 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance 4;
20 Thierry Loder (Fra) AG2r-Prevoyance 4;
21 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport 4;
;
Share the Road U23 rider classification;
1 Dave McPartland (Aus) United Water 17.12.40;
2 Ashley Humbert (Aus) United Water 20.37;
3 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water 20.38;
4 Simon Gerrans (Aus) United Water 20.41;
5 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA 23.43;
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 24.34;
7 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto Adecco 24.51;
8 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 25.06;
9 Bruce McIntosh (Aus) United Water 25.34;
10 Thomas Bodo (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 26.18;
11 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA 28.42;
12 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water 29.07;
13 Brad Davidson (Aus) Saeco-Longoni Sport 29.53;
14 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Domo Farm Frites 30.21;
15 David Pell (Aus) United Water 32.18;
16 Daniel Mackey (Aus) United Water 59.15;
;
Century 21 Most aggressive rider;
1 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole;
;
Clipsal Teams classification;
1 Mapei – Quick Step 51.05.41;
2 Australian Institute Of Sport 4.44;
3 Ag2R Prevoyance 12.02;
4 Credit Agricole 25.04;
5 Telekom 41.47;
6 UniSA 48.31;
7 CSC – Tiscali 11.42;
8 United Water 13.06;
9 Lotto Adecco 14.11;
10 La Francaise Des Jeux 17.12;
11 Saeco Machine Per Caffe – Longoni Sport 19.38;
12 Domo Farm Frites 33.55;