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McEwen wins muddled finish Down Under

Robbie McEwen and arch rival Graeme Brown were involved in another controversial start to the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under Tuesday. But unlike last year when Brown was disqualified for not holding his line, the chaotic finish saw McEwen win clearly from Dutch champion Rudi Kemna and NSW`s Mark Renshaw, with Brown fourth. However, there was utter confusion in the last lap when a breakaway group of 12 riders, led by Victorian David McKenzie (Navigators), caught the main field, and Brown accused McEwen's Lotto-Domo teammates of blocking his run. A fuming Brown labeled the event "an absolute

By Michael Stevens, Special to VeloNews

McEwen takes the win

McEwen takes the win

Photo: Graham Watson

Robbie McEwen and arch rival Graeme Brown were involved in another controversial start to the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under Tuesday.

But unlike last year when Brown was disqualified for not holding his line, the chaotic finish saw McEwen win clearly from Dutch champion Rudi Kemna and NSW`s Mark Renshaw, with Brown fourth.

However, there was utter confusion in the last lap when a breakaway group of 12 riders, led by Victorian David McKenzie (Navigators), caught the main field, and Brown accused McEwen’s Lotto-Domo teammates of blocking his run.

A fuming Brown labeled the event “an absolute joke” immediately after he crossed the line.

“I can’t believe that happened in a UCI-category race,” Brown said. “We’re racing inside the bunch and we lapped them; they should be out.

“I’m very disappointed to think it wasn’t a professionally run race for once. Normally the Tour Down Under is unbelievably professional and I think today was an absolute joke.”

Photo: Graham Watson

Brown said he was blocked on the last turn into the finishing straight when he had a meter clear run on the inside.

“I couldn’t make it through the last corner,” he said. People were in the way. We had about a meter, maybe two meter run into the last corner, a gap on the inside, and I can say it was just stupid, but congratulations to Robbie.”

Pressed further, Brown accused McEwen’s Lotto-Domo teammates of “cheating.”

“Dave McKenzie should have won the event,” he said. “The Lotto-Domo team effectively cheated, not Robbie.”

Brown’s angry outburst was echoed by fellow breakaway rider Peter Dawson of Western Australia.

“That was disgusting,” Dawson said of the last lap schemozzle.

The controversy happened because the breakaway group of 12 riders opened up a gap of close to two minutes on the 2km circuit on the closing laps of the 25-lap event.

Under UCI rules lapped riders must withdraw with two laps remaining, but the bunch was caught only on the last lap, leaving chief commissaire David Lappartient powerless to act.

McEwen, who will now wear the leader’s yellow jersey into today’s 157km second stage between Norwood and Kapunda after his seventh overall stage win, admitted the last lap was confusing.“It was quite confusing,” he said. “Dave McKenzie was just in front of us, but then we came up to the back of the peloton.“We were thinking they would pull them (the bunch) out of the race. It was really difficult to get through the bunch and it was a pretty hectic sprint.“I was able to stay on Graeme’s wheel and came out about 100m to go. This was what I should have done last year, but I’ve made up for it. First win of the season, I’m happy.”The event was marred before the start when pre-race favorite Brad McGee was forced to withdraw because of food poisoning.South Australian premier Mike Rann asked the 60,000 strong crowd for a minutes silence before the start in memory of one of Adelaide’s favorite sons, former test cricketer David Hookes, died after an altercation outside a Melbourne pub on Sunday. A 21-year-old bouncer has been charged with assault following the incident.The six-stage Australian tour finishes in Adelaide on Sunday.
Stage 1 East End Adelaide Street Race(50km)
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo, 1:02:19
2 Rudi Kemna (Ned) Bankgiroloterij
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) FDJeux.com
4 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria-Margres
5 Nicholas Vogondy (Fra) FDJeux.com
6 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance
7 David McKenzie (Aus) Navigators Insurance
8 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water
9 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole
10 David McPartland (Aus) Team Australia
Jacob’s Creek General classification after stage 11 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
2 Rudi Kemna (Ned) Bankgiroloterij
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) FDJeux.com
4 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria-Margres
5 Nicholas Vogondy (Fra) FDJeux.com
6 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance
7 David McKenzie (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
8 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water
9 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole
10 David McPartland (Aus) Team Australia
SA Lotteries Sprints classification
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) FDJeux.com
Laubman & Pank King of the Mountain classification
1 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA

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