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Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) beats Michael Matthews (Rabobank) in the sprint of the queen stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under

Added: saturday 22 January 2011 at 10:01:00
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    Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) beats Michael Matthews (Rabobank) in the sprint of the queen stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down UnderThe stage between McLaren Vale and Willunga was the Queen stage of this Santos Tour Down Under 2011. Willunga Hill, often seen as the decisive climb of the TDU, was climbed twice but the stage ended in a sprint anyway. This sprint was won by the Spanish rider Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team), with only a few centimeters distance on Michael Matthews(Rabobank). This last young rider seems to become a very promising sprinter after having won the 3rd stage on Thursday already!

    The summary of the 5th stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under: McLaren Vale > Willunga

    All 131 renners riders came to the start in McLaren Vale this morning in the Santos Tour Down Under 2011.
    After 3 unsuccessful attempts, the first real leading group was formed by John Murphy (BMC Racing Team), Tanel Kangert (Astana), Sebastian Haedo (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Joost van Leijen (Vacansoleil DCM Pro Cycling Team), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha Team), The breakawayMichael Hepburn (UniSA-Australia), Davide Viganò (Leopard-Trek) and Juan Horrach (Katusha Team).

    In this group Davide Viganò won the first intermediate sprint in Snapper Point, ahead of Haedo and Murphy and not much later, their gap went up to 2 minutes.
    Just after the second sprint, about halfway the stage, José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Movistar Team) asked for the help of his team car and finally decided to give up. This way he became only the 3rd rider to leave the Santos Tour Down Under 2011 peloton. This second sprint was won by John Murphy, ahead of Viganò and Horrach.

    Ben HermansThe gap than started to decrease, down to about 30 seconds at the foot of the first climb of Willunga Hill. The peloton came back on the leading riders in this climb, especially thanks to the work of the Basque riders of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team.
    Luke RobertsAt the first crossing of the top of the hill, Luke Roberts (UniSA-Australia) attacked and thus took as much points as possible for the King of the Mountain classification. He arrived on top ahead of Angel Madrazo (Movistar Team) and Ben Hermans (Team Radioshack). 7 riders than tried to escape in the descent but didn't stay ahead for a long time.

    Richie PorteAfter a tour of the local circuit, several riders attacked in the second climb of Willunga Hill and Richie Porte (Saxo Bank-Sungard) is one of the riders who really succeeds in creating a gap, together with Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervélo) and Ben Hermans (Team Radioshack). The last mentioned rider attacks just before the top and is the first on top, ahead of Bobridge and Porte. Richie Porte, who tweeted about this: stretched the legs up Wilunga Hill, had fun at the same time!, was named the most aggressive rider of today's stage thanks to this attack.

    At 10 kilometers from the finish, the 3 riders were taken back by a big group which got a little gap on the peloton.

    After Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervélo) and David Lopez (Movistar Team) fell in the last turn of the stage, 18 riders were ahead and despite Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi)'s attack, the stage was decided in a sprint. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) managed to win this sprint with only a few centimeters on Michael Matthews (Rabobank) who, at 20 years old and in his first year as a pro, already shows to be a promising sprinter. Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) finished 3rd and took some bonification seconds for the general classification with this third place. Leading this general classification still is Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervélo) who finised 13th today. Statistically seen, the rider who's leading the GC in the Santos Tour Down Under after the Willunga stage wins the Australian Tour the next day ... We'll see whether the 8 seconds he has on Goss will be enough tomorrow (knowing that the stage winner gets 10 bonus seconds!).
    The sprint

    The video of the 5th stage of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under

    Francisco Ventoso's comments after his stage win in the Santos Tour Down Under 2011

    After the finish of this 5th stage, the Spanish rider Francisco Ventoso said: I've never been so happy, it all went perfect. For me and for the team it's very important to start the year like this ... I won this stage from some pure sprinters. It was a heavy course and we had to give all we had in the first climb.
    Having Arrieta as a directeur sportif is really great. He exactly knows how we feel, what goes on in our head ... In the last straight line I was together with Rojas and I decided to go for the win. We are good mates and it's not a problem for us to work for one another, but at 800 meters from the finish I suggested him to both try to go for the win. We already had a perfect place ahead and the best strategy was to bet on two riders. I attacked in the last 180 meters, I gave everything I had and when I saw Matthews on my side when crossing the finish line, I didn't whether I'd won the stage or not. I heard the speaker shouting my name and that gave me a lot of joy. The victory is for the whole Team Movistar. My colleages, the supporting staff, Eusebio Unzue who put faith in me and all people who follow us, that's really amazing. We've only just begun but I think people are already following our moves!

    The classifications of the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under after the 5th stage

    The stage classification of the 5th stage: McLaren Vale > Willunga

    Francisco VentosoHere's the top 10 of the stage classification:
    1/ Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) - 3h06'10"
    2/ Michael Matthews (Rabobank)
    3/ Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad)
    4/ José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team)
    5/ Luke Roberts (UniSA-Australia)
    6/ Robbie Hunter (Team Radioshack)
    7/ Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale)
    8/ Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team)
    9/ Ben Hermans (Team Radioshack)
    10/ Ben Swift (Team Sky)

    The general classification after the 5th stage

    Cameron MeyerCameron Meyer keeps the lead in the general classification, the day before the final stage:

    1/ Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) - 16h00'40"
    2/ Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) - +0'08"
    3/ Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) - +0'10"
    4/ Michael Matthews (Rabobank) - +0'12"
    5/ Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) - +0'17"
    6/ Ben Swift (Team Sky) - +0'18"
    7/ Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale) - +0'26"
    8/ André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) - +0'27"
    9/ Allan Davis (Astana) - +0'28"
    10/ Luke Roberts (UniSA-Australia)

    >> Check out the full classifications

    The photos in this article are © Santos Tour Down Under 2011 / John Veage and are being used with permission.

    >> More photos of the 5th stage of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011

    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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