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Ben Swift (Team Sky) wins a stage with a chaotic finish in the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under 2011, Robbie McEwen is the new leader

Added: wednesday 19 January 2011 at 9:21:00
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    Ben Swift (Team Sky) wins a stage with a chaotic finish in the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under 2011, Robbie McEwen is the new leaderThe longest stage of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011 between Tailem Bend and Mannum was won today by Ben Swift for Team Sky. A nervous stage with a big crash which finished in ... a bunch sprint ...

    The summary of the 2nd stage Tailem Bend > Mannum of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011

    The second stage of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011 took place today between Tailem Bend, about 100 kilometers south-east of Adelaide, and Mannum over a 146 kilometer distance.

    The programme of the day consisted of a first intermediate sprint in Kanmantoo, the climb of Dawesley Hill, the feeding zone in Charleston and the second intermediate sprint in Mount Pleasant (for more information, see my article with the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under race route on Google Maps/Google Earth.

    Right from the start in Tailem Bend, several riders tride to get away from the peloton but since the speed was quite high at that time (55 to 60 km/h) most tentatives remained unsuccessful.

    The first rider who managed to get away was Yuriy Krivtsov (AG2R La Mondiale) who was quickly joined by two Australian riders who started their pursuit, David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Sungard) and Mitchell Docker (UniSA-Australia). Their gap quickly went up to 3'40" after 33 kilometers.
    At the first sprint, won by David Tanner ahead of Krivtsov and Docker, their gap however went back down to 2'15". On Dawesley Hill Mitchell Docker arrived first on top, ahead of Krivtsov and Tanner, and 1'40" ahead of the peloton led by Luke Roberts. Roberts than really got away from the peloton and was joined by Simon Zahner and Timothy Roe (both BMC Racing Team). These 3 riders than closed the gap with the 3 riders of the leading group to form a new leading group of 6 riders. This leading group kept the peloton at 45 seconds distance but this went up to above one minute.

    Tim RoeThe second sprint was won by Simon Zahner, ahead of Mitchell Docker and David Tanner. Docker was in the leading group yesterday already and thus took the leader's jersey of the sprint classification.
    After a solo attack by Tim Roe the 5 other riders were taken back by the peloton. At 26 kilometers from the finish Roe's gap with the peloton was up to 1'20".

    Thanks to the work by the riders of HTC-Highroad and Team Sky, this gap litterally melt away and the peloton finally took back the Australian rider at 5 kilometers from the finish.

    In the last 4 kilometers of the stage, several riders tried to get a perfect spot for the inevitable mass sprint and this nervosity led to a massive crash which took down Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and the first "ochre jersey" of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011, Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) among others.
    Today all riders came to the start but tomorrow that might thus not be the case ... Bernard Sulzberger (UniSA-Australia) broke his collarbone and was taken to a hospital by an ambulance.

    Mark CavendishThe sprint was thus disturbed by this massive crash and while the original plan was for Ben Swift (Team Sky) to put up his team mate Chris Sutton to a stage win, the English rider finally got the chance to win the stage himself with a bike length ahead of Robbie McEwen (Team Radioshack) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank).
    Ben Swift

    Ben Swift's comment after the finish

    After his stage win in the Santos [[Tour Down Under 2011], Ben Swift declared: The plan today had been for everyone to ride for CJ but when he crashed we kept our lead-out going because Greg Henderson was there.

    We were right on the front in the final kilometre with Mathew Hayman leading the way, me in second and Geraint Thomas on my wheel, but I got the call from G with around 600m to go that Greg had dropped back and it would be me who was going for it.

    He hopped on Hayman's wheel and I got on G's and they took me right up until about 200m to go and then I just went for it. McEwen got a bit of a jump on me at first but that gave me something to run at and thankfully I was able to pull away at the end there.

    It's the biggest win of my career, without a doubt, but it all It felt a bit unreal to be honest because our plan changed three times in the final four kilometres. Fortunately we were all able to think on our feet though and everything turned out brilliantly.

    The video of the second stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under

    The classifications after the 2nd stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under

    The top 10 of today's stage classification
    1/ Ben Swift (Team Sky) - 3h27'44"
    2/ Robbie McEwen (Team Radioshack)
    3/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
    4/ Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil DCM Pro Cycling Team)
    5/ Jürgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    6/ Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step)
    7/ Michael Matthews (Rabobank)
    8/ Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha Team)
    9/ Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team)
    10/ Allan Davis (Astana)

    Robbie McEwenThe top 10 of the overall classification of the 2nd stage
    1/ Robbie McEwen (Team Radioshack)
    2/ Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad)
    3/ Ben Swift (Team Sky)
    4/ André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - +0'04"
    5/ Mitchell Docker (UniSA-Australia)
    6/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank) - +0'06"
    7/ David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Sungard)
    8/ Mathieu Perget (AG2R La Mondiale) - +0'07"
    9/ Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    10/ Simon Zahner (BMC Racing Team)

    >> Click here to view the full stage and overall classification after the 2nd stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under 2011

    The photos in the article are © Santos Tour Down Under and are used with permission; the photo which illustrates the article is © Thomas Vergouwen / www.velowire.com

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour Down Under| Tour Down Under 2011 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

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