Thomas Third As Slagter Wins The Tour Down Under
Article by Kev Monks
Updated Sunday, 27th January 2013
Tour Down Under Final Stage Report
Team Sky's Geraint Thomas finished on the podium as Blanco’s Thomas Slagter won the 15th Santos Tour Down Under.
The final stage with everything up for a grabs was held in Adelaide and saw twenty laps of a 4.5 kilometre circuit featuring a King Of The Mountains climb and two Jayco Sprints on laps eight and twelve.
Thomas Slagter went into the final day in the leaders ocre jersey ahead of Javier Moreno by thirteen seconds with Team Sky's Geraint Thomas fifth some 29 seconds back.
The stage started at 1.30pm local time or 3am UK time and Radio Shack's Laurent Didier, Frantisek Rabon of Omega Pharma Quick Step, Juraj Sagan of Cannondale and Calvin Watson of UniSA. were straight on the attack In front of crowds over 100,000. Just before the opening lap was completed, a Euskatel rider in Mikel Astarloza joined the escapers.
Radio Shack's Jens Voigt joined on lap two and allowed the pace to increase and with the gap at eighteen seconds, Vacansoleil's Tomasz Marczynski joined the escapers.
With the first five laps completed at speeds averaging 47kmph, the escapers lead was eleven seconds.
Andy Schleck had to change his bike before the four of the leaders were caught as they started lap seven.
With every rider back in the peloton, Team Sky took to the front trying to set Geraint Thomas up for the three sprint seconds available, leaving him to get one more point to get a podium place ahead of Ben Hermans.
On King William Road, there were a big sprint and Thomas took the seconds in a photo finish ahead of Wilco Kelderman of the Blanco team and team mate Edvald Boason Hagen.
Lap nine saw Uni SA's Adam Phelan try to get away and a lap later, George Bennett, Simone Ponzi, Tomasz Marczynski and Alan Marangoni. had taken over at the front of the race.
This was the Skoda King Of The Mountain lap but none of the contenders bothered with it and it was Garikoitz Bravo who took the six points before he was caught.
Tomasz Marczynski was now the lone rider out in front as they started lap twelve which was the second Jayco Sprint lap.
Thomas needed at least two points to confirm his place on the podium and a number of other teams sent their riders to the front to try and stop him.
Hayman and Edvald Boason Hagen set up Thomas but it did not work out and the Norwegian ended up taking the three points, with two for Euskatel's Juan Jose Lobato and one for Thomas to put the Welshman joint third but ahead on count back ahead of Hermans due to his stage victory.
On lap 14, AG2R's Blel Kadri, BMC's Martin Kohler and UniSA's Jordan Kerby took to the front and were ahead as the riders who were riding at 47kmph for the first 59kms, started on lap 15 which had the second King Of The Mountains climb at Monteviore. Kohler took the points meaning that Javier Moreno wins the King Of The Mountains title.
Lotto Belisol were now controlling the peloton and trying to get a victory for Andrei Greipel to give him his 100th victory.
The Three K's were in front by 13 seconds as we started lap seventeen but were back in the pack when Saxo Tinkoff’s Jonathan Cantwell crashed on lap 19.
The speed shot up again on the final lap . Lotto and Sky were on the front going into the final kilometre.
Mark Renshaw attacked but Andrei Greipel went on his right and won to get the stage victory he wanted in a time of 1.52.59.
Boasson Hagen was third with Geraint Thomas sixth on the stage but more importantly on the podium in third.
Apologies for the lateness of this report. This was due to the site crashing, meaning that this report was not able to put on line.