Francisco Ventoso Takes Fifth Stage Of TDU

Last updated : 23 February 2011 By Kev Monks
Francisco Ventoso won the fifth stage of the Tour Down Under today.

Stage five started on a warm day from the wine producing town of McLaren Vale and after a couple of 40km laps, it was over the Old Willunga Hills to the finish in Willunga.

Thomas de Gendt who had been in good form yesterday and Allan Davies who has riden all thirteen Tour Down Under's were amongst the early breakers.

Whilst Mark Cavendish (Pictured below) needed a knee bandage from the team doctor, eight riders got away.

They were one minute and thirty seconds clear as they approached the first sprint of the day at Snapper Point at the end of Aldinga Beach. Italy's David Legano who left Team Sky to join Frank and Andy Schlek's Leopard Trek team beat Sebastian Haedo with John Murphy in third.

That sprint came after 23km of the 131km and after 46km, the second sprint saw American John Murphy of the BMC team take the sprint but Legano was second and with the time bonuses being taken into consideration, he was now the leader on the road.

The gap had got up to two minutes and fifteen seconds but when HTC Highroad including Mark Cavendish took over at the front they knocked forty five seconds off that lead straight away.

It was down to thirty seconds as the race went into the hills. Basque team Eustkatel had two riders including Miguel Minguez chasing down the leaders and over-taking the leading group.

Australian Luke Roberts followed the Eustkatel riders up and broke to take took the first King Of The Mountains points on offer.

39 year old Lance Armstrong (pictured below) in his last international race, had bridged the gap and was now in a group of seven riders trying to consolidate their lead.

Armstrong, who started the day in 81st place, was up to second as the gap got up to forteen seconds but it didn't last as HTC-Highroad,followed by Garmin-Cervelo chased them down McMurtie Rd and it was grupo compacto once more.

The teams who wanted to win were all getting their riders into position as the field went up the hill for a second and final time with 22km to race.

Again Miguel Minguez attacked again until Saxo Bank's Richie Porte came up with Radio Shack's Ben Hermans who was 28 seconds back from leader Cameron Mayer and Garmin's Jack Bobridge caught him. Sky lead the peleton but as the riders got to the top of the 400m climb, Hermans broke to take the second King Of The Mountains points and time bonuses.

They were caught with 9km to go by HTC who had got their man Matt Goss up into second place in a group of twenty riders which included the three that were caught and four of the top five in the standings.

Brit Ben Swift was also in this group when they turned a corner with 5km to go and Jack Bobridge and David Lopez crashed.

Gorka Izagirra went for the line but 29 year old Movistar rider Francisco Ventoso left him to win ahead of Rabobank's Michael Matthews and HTC-Highroad's Matt Goss whilst Cameron Mayer keeps his ocre jersey.

The final stage is 90kms around Adelaide and can be seen on Sky Sports.

Pictures copyright of Covsupport News Service. Credit CNS/KM