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Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) finished the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under the same way he started it — by winning. The German powered down the finishing straight in downtown Adelaide on Sunday, using Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) as a launchpad to take the victory. The victory was the 18th of Greipel’s career Down Under, as he captured victory number 17 on the opening day in Lyndoch.
Ewan had to settle for second on the day. After sprinting to four stage wins at the 2017 Tour Down Under and winning the People’s Choice Classic, Ewan will leave his home race with a single stage win in 2018. World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who won the People’s Choice Classic a week ago and the fourth stage of the race, finished third on Sunday.
Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) was the overall victor of the 20th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under, winning the race on countback over 2017 winner Richie Porte (BMC Racing). Porte entered the stage on the same time as Impey. He did not contest the intermediate sprints to try to get time bonuses to leapfrog the South African.
Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) finished third overall at 16 seconds.
Top 10, stage 6
- 1. André Greipel, LOTTO SOUDAL, in 02:01:19
- 2. Caleb Ewan, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:00
- 3. Peter Sagan, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:00
- 4. Phil Bauhau, TEAM SUNWEB, at 0:00
- 5. Elia Viviani, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:00
- 6. Steele von Hoff, UNISA-AUSTRALIA, at 0:00
- 7. Simone Consonni, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:00
- 8. Mads Pedersen, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:00
- 9. Carlos Barbero, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 0:00
- 10. Mads Wurtz Schmidt, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 0:00
Top 10, Final GC
- 1. Daryl Impey, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, in 20:03:34
- 2. Richie Porte, BMC RACING TEAM, at 0:00
- 3. Tom-Jelte Slagter, DIMENSION DATA, at 0:16
- 4. Diego Ulissi, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:20
- 5. Dries Devenyns, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:20
- 6. Egan Arley Bernal, TEAM SKY, at 0:20
- 7. Gorka Izagirre, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 0:20
- 8. Luis Leon Sanchez, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:23
- 9. Ruben Guerreiro, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:23
- 10. Robert Gesink, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 0:24
Sunday’s final stage of the 20th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under was a circuit race around downtown Adelaide. The riders completed 20 laps of a 4.5-kilometer circuit around Elder Park for a 90-kilometer race. The course included the climb of Montefiore Hill, which peaked less than 2 kilometers from the line. With Porte and Impey entering the stage on the same time, time bonuses at the intermediate sprints and the finish were important. There was an intermediate sprint point at the end of laps eight and 12.
Many riders tried there hand at attacking out of the peloton, but the breakaway didn’t establish itself until the fourth lap of the race. Seven riders formed off the front of the peloton, but soon it broke apart and only two riders remained in the lead. Neo-pro Logan Owen (EF Education First-Drapac) and Truls Korsaeth (Astana) entered the fifth lap with a 20-second advantage over the main bunch.
Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) made the junction to the leaders just after the sixth lap of the race began to make the front group a trio.
The trio built a maximum advantage of 90 seconds, but the Australian national team, UniSA, sent nearly all of its riders to the front of the main peloton to keep them close.
The front group split on the eighth lap with Owen going solo and Korsaeth pulling off to the side of the road with an apparent mechanical problem. Owen finished the lap alone to take the intermediate sprint.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) finished second and gained a two-second time bonus. The mere two seconds catapulted him from 17th overall into the top 10. Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafedo) captured third in the sprint and also moved into the top 10 of the general classification by gaining a one-second time bonus.
Owen soon got assistance in the lead, as Dimension Data’s Ben O’Connor bridged the gap between him and the peloton. The duo completed the 10th lap of the race, marking the halfway point of the stage, with a 45-second advantage over the bunch.
On the 12th lap, Antoine Duchesne (FDJ) attacked out of the peloton in pursuit of the leaders. However, he would never make it across the gap. Th Canadian spent a few laps chasing, but the duo was simply too far out front. Owen and O’Connor had stretched out their lead to over two minutes. Mitchelton-Scott, the team of race leader Impey and fast-man Ewan, took up the chase in the peloton.
With six laps to go, the peloton still trailed the leaders by 1:32 with Duchesne still stuck in no-mans land between the leaders and the main bunch. Lotto Soudal sent strongman Thomas De Gendt to help Mitchelton-Scott in chasing down the riders that were up the road.
A lap later, Duchesne was back in the bunch and the leading duo’s gap had shrunk to 1:08.
On the 16th lap of 20, Owen attacked on Montefiore Hill and there was no reaction from O’Connor. The young American riding his first career WorldTour race was solo with less than 20 kilometers to go and about a one-minute advantage over the peloton.
Mitchelton-Scott swept Owen up with just under three laps to go, setting the stage for a sprint finish.
Team Sunweb led the peloton into the final lap, as the German-based squad was riding for Phil Bauhaus. Bauhaus sprinted to second on stage three behind Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).
The final lap was disorganized with not one team able to get all of its riders together and control the peloton. Former World Champion Rui Costa (UAE-Team Emirates) led the peloton onto Montefiore Hill for the final time. Mitchelton-Scott’s Cameron Meyer soon took over for Costa and strung out the field.
The riders dropped down off the climb toward the finish line with Team Sunweb again moving to the front on the left side of the road. However, Quick-Step Floors powered over the top of the boys in black and white with Viviani sitting third wheel.
The blue train sped down the right side of the road with the finish line in sight looking to be putting Viviani in perfect position to take his second stage win of the week. Bora-Hansgrohe brought Sagan up on the left side of the road, as the sprinters prepared to launch.
Ewan was the first to go, but he would merely serve as the last lead-out for ‘The Gorilla.’ Greipel came around Ewan at the last possible moment to win by inches. He ended the race on a high note, just the way he started it. Sagan settled for third on the day. Viviani would only manage fifth.
Impey is the first South African to win the Tour Down Under, finishing on the same time as Porte. This is the third time in the race’s history the overall winner was determined by a countback. The other years were 2003 and 2012.
Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) won the King of the Mountains classification and Sagan captured the points classification. Egan Arley Bernal (Sky), who finished fifth overall, took home the Best Young Rider classification and Bahrain-Merida won the teams’ classification.
Full results to come