Tour Down Under 2018 | Stage 5 Report

Tour Down Under 2018 | Stage 5 Report


Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under is often where
the overall classification is decided, and with 33 riders sitting within 14 seconds of
race leader Peter Sagan, we were set for a very close finish. The destination today was
Willunga Hill, a 3km climb averaging 7.5%, The riders would tackle it twice inside
the final 20km after 3 big loops around McLaren Vale and Aldinga beach. For that reason it’s
Richie Porte who comes into the stage as favourite. He’s attacked, and won on this climb for
the last 4 consecutive years. His rivals will have a good idea when he will make his move
today – it’s just a case of whether anyone is strong enough to follow him. What a difference a day makes – with a temperature
drop of around 15ºC in the space of 24 hours,, conditions were much more comfortable for
the riders as they set off, and there were several riders who were up for
the day’s early breakaway. After a neutral zone of just 500m, 7 riders launched off the
front. The largest break of week so far quickly settled
into a rhythm which gave them a lead that stabilised around the 4 minute mark inside
the first hour of racing. A nasty crash for Movistar’s Nuno Bico could’ve ended his
day, but he got bandaged up and soon enough was back in the 7 man group. The first objective was to build enough of
a buffer to stay away at least until the first time up Willunga Hill, and they didn’t break
focus at the first intermediate sprint of the day at Snapper Point. Trek-Segafredo’s
Fumiyuki Beppu took the points without disturbing the paceline. 82km covered in two hours
equated to a brisk pace thanks in some part to the South-Easterly wind, with the time
gap to the peloton barely moving from about 3 and a half minutes. But, with a peloton containing many riders
with overall ambitions, it was time to step on the pace, with seasoned breakaway expert
Thomas De Gendt pulling the break over the 2nd and final intermediate sprint of the day. UAE
Emirates had joined BMC at the front of the peloton, and the lead for the breakaway was
falling fast as we begun the first ascent of Willunga Hill. The group slowly started
to disperse on the steep lower slopes, But De Gendt, and King Of The Mountains leader
Nicholas Dlamini pushed on to the summit. Any sort of points for Dlamini would mathematically
secure the King of the Mountains jersey. He thought he’d taken the maximum of 16 here…what
he didn’t realise was that the official finish of the KOM was 150m down the road,
which De Gendt accidentally claimed as he forged on with a solo move. Fortunately, the
Dimension Data neo pro still found enough points to secure the polka dot jersey.
De Gendt has been in countless breakaways in his time – this is in fact his 5th time
in the escape on stages featuring Willunga Hill – but it was always going to be hard
to keep the peloton at bay. He was caught as the race barrelled along the flat towards
Willunga again. The front group now reduced to only about 30 riders as we started to climb
one last time. Peter Sagan had held on
admirably to the leaders until he popped with 1.7km to go. A couple of hundred metres later,
and the Richie Porte show was about to begin. He jumped with a trademark opening attack
that only Jay McCarthy could follow. Just as the tempo eased slightly, the reigning
champion accelerated again which was enough to crack his compatriot McCarthy – he darted
away for yet another victory on Willunga Hill. But now came a nervous wait to see if he’d
done enough to clinch the leader’s jersey. We thought the rest of the field had been
blown away, but blitzing down the finish straight came Daryl Impey, giving everything until
the line, and it was just as well that he did. Finishing with exactly the same overall
time as Porte, Impey takes the ochre jersey on countback, having placed higher up on the
individual stage rankings. IMPEY: I am stoked. I cant believe it. I put in a lot
of work for this race but never thought I’d be to be in the leaders jersey. It’s fantastic
for an Australian team so to deliver like this with the help
of the team it’s just magical PORTE: I must give credit to my team.
they were fantastic today as always. Rohan Dennis layed it all on the line for me. I think it’s probably the hardest time I have done this climb. it really hurt today. But of course there is one stage still to
go, so can Richie still win? If time bonuses and the now crucial countback go his way,
it’s still possible. But as Impey has shown this week, he’s perhaps the better sprinter
on paper. We’ll have to wait and see what stage 6 brings for us. Definitely one for
the fast men – 20 laps around an Adelaide street circuit is on the cards, join us tomorrow,
when we might have managed to finally work out the countback rule.
Give this video a like if you enjoyed it, and give us your predictions for tomorrow
in the comments below. Check out the highlights from yesterday’s stage here, another nail-biter,
and for 7 WorldTour newcomers to watch in 2018, click here.