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Tour Down Under 2008: André Greipel (Team High Road) wins almost everything ...

Added: monday 28 January 2008 at 1:43:00
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    Tour Down Under 2008: André Greipel (Team High Road) wins almost everything ...Where André Greipel already won the Down Under Classic as a preview on the Tour Down Under 2008, he was not yet satisfied.
    The young rider (25) of Team High Road continued winning: four stages and the ochre leader jersey by finishing at the first place in the overal ranking and the green/red SA Lotteries best sprinter jersey.

    The Tour Down Under 2008 was made up of 6 stages around Adelaide in South Australia.

    First stage - Mawson Lakes > Angaston - 129 km

    Last Tuesday the UCI ProTour officially started with the first stage of the Tour Down Under 2008.
    After having finished second the day before in the Down Under Classic Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) - the winner of the Down Under Classic 2007 - won the first stage by starting an early sprint: at 300 meters of the finish. Several riders battled for the second and third place and with only a few millimeters difference Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) finished second, just before Graeme Brown (Rabobank).
    The stage's story was like the one of most stages which finish in a sprint: first there were a few escapes which were all caught back quite easily, than at kilometer 40 three riders escaped - Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom), Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) and Ritchie Porte (UniSA - Australia) - and took a little over 6 minutes. Since the 3 banks (Crédit Agricole, Caisse d'Epargne and Rabobank) all wanted to get back on these 3 riders to give their sprinters a chance to win the stage, the three only had 40 seconds left at 10 kilometers of the finish and they were taken by the pack at only a few kilometers before the finish and the stage thus ended in a sprint.

    The top 5 of the first stage:
    1/ Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole)
    2/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne)
    3/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
    4/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia)
    5/ Jan Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner)

    Second stage - Stirling > Hahndorf - 148 km

    The second stage was almost completely the same as the first: a big escape which was caught back this time at about 30 kilometers of the finish followed by a few small attacks, all with no success. In the finish town - originally founded by German immigrants in 1839 (Hahndorf) - the German André Greipel (Team High Road) was the quickest and beat Graeme Brown (Rabobank) just before Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia). Like Mark Renshaw the day before he started the sprint quite early.

    The top 5 of the second stage:
    1/ André Greipel (Team High Road)
    2/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
    3/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia)
    4/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne)
    5/ Aaron Kemps (Astana)

    Third stage - Unley > Victor Harbor - 139 km

    Yet another stage which finished in a sprint ... which was won this time by the only rider who participated in all 10 editions of the Tour Down Under, Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia). The rest of the podium was also completely Australian with Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) and Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) on the second and third place.
    After a few small escapes with no real success, Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux), Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas) and Wesley Sulzberger (UniSA - Australia) created a real gap of up to 5 minutes to finally be taken back by the pack at 5 kilometers from the finish. Allan Davis did the same as the winners of the two previous stages and started sprinting early; after the finish he said: I probably started the sprint earlier than I wanted, at about 350 meters, but I thought that if I would still be leading at 50 meters from the finish it would be OK. When I looked between my legs I didn't see anyone coming. It was really great to win here today.

    The top 5 of the third stage:
    1/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia)
    2/ Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole)
    3/ Mathew Hayman (Rabobank)
    4/ Davide Vigano (Quick.Step Innergetic)
    5/ André Greipel (Team High Road)

    Fourth stage - Mannum > Strathalbyn - 134 km

    And two for Greipel, four for sprints: under a bright sun and with lots of sidewind the pack broke up several times and Team CSC and Caisse d'Epargne tore on it on all sides while Crédit Agricole tried to get the pack back together. They finally succeeded at about 50 kilometers from the finish, so everything was set up again for yet another sprint ...
    By winning this sprint Greipel not only won the stage but also a "yellow jersey" cow named Fleurieu Freckle. Greipel pretty soon understood this wasn't really interesting for him and said he couldn't imagine going back to Germany with a cow in his suitcase.

    The top 5 of the fourth stage:
    1/ André Greipel (Team High Road)
    2/ Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole)
    3/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne)
    4/ Matthew Harley Goss (Team CSC)
    5/ Denis Flahaut (Saunier Duval-Scott)

    Fifth stage - Willunga > Willunga - 147 km

    André Greipel was not yet satisfied with two victories and added a third at the end of the fifth stage ... In the sprint he beat Allan Davis (UniSA-Australia) and Jose Benitez (Saunier Duval-Scott) and also took the ochre jersey of the general ranking leader with 7 seconds on Allan Davis and 20 on Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne).
    Since the last stage still proposed 26 bonus seconds (in the intermediate sprints and at the finish), it was not at all sure at that time that the German rider could win the Tour Down Under.

    The top 5 of the fifth stage:
    1/ André Greipel (Team High Road)
    2/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia)
    3/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne)
    4/ Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux)
    5/ Michael Albassini (Liquigas)

    Sixth and last stage - Aidelaide East End Circuit - 88 km on a 5.5 km circuit

    André Greipel probably thought: "you can never have a three without a four" and took yet another stage victory.
    The bonus seconds which were to be taken today in the intermediate sprints and at the finish were quite important since there was only a 7 seconds time difference between André Greipel and Allan Davis. At the first intermediate sprint Greipel got locked up and despite his team mate Greg Henderson trying to get the bonus seconds Allan Davis won the sprint and the difference thus went down to 4 seconds. At the second sprint Team High Road succeeded much better and this sprint was won by André Greipel: three bonus seconds for Greipel and two for Davis who crossed the line second ... the difference grew just a little bit to 5 seconds.
    Knowning that the stage winner would get 10 bonus seconds (and 6 seconds for the second and 4 for the third), André Greipel still wasn't sure of his overall win in the Tour Down Under 2008. Result: a sprint not only to win the stage but also to win the Tour Down Under 2008 and thus become the first ProTour 2008 leader. Rabobank's Erik Dekker already indicated this was important since the second ProTour event will be the Tour of Flanders and on its small roads it can be quite useful to have your team's car first behind the pack ...

    The top 5 of the sixth stage:
    1/ André Greipel (Team High Road)
    2/ Jan Robert Foster (Gerolsteiner)
    3/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
    4/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne)
    5/ Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto)

    The distinctive jerseys

    The ochre general ranking leader jersey

    Adelaide - Ochre general ranking jersey1/ Andre Greipel (Team High Road) - 18h46m18s
    2/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia) - 0m15s
    3/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) - 0m33s
    4/ Mickaël Delage (Francaise des Jeux) - 0m37s
    5/ Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) - s.t.
    6/ Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Saunier Duval-Scott) - 0m39s
    7/ Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas) - s.t.
    8/ Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) - 0m41s
    9/ Richie Porte (UniSA - Australia) - s.t.
    10/ Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC) - 0m42s

    King of the Mountain (KOM)

    South Australia - A brilliant blend - King of the Mountain (KOM)1/ Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) - 38 pts
    2/ David Moncoutié (Cofidis) - 22
    3/ Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) - 18
    4/ Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux) - 16
    5/ Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Saunier Duval-Scott) - 16
    6/ Stephane Poulhies (AG2R-La Mondiale) - 16
    7/ Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas) - 12
    8/ Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) - 12
    9/ Jon Bru Pascal (Euskaltel - Euskadi) - 12
    10/ Yoann Offredo (Française des Jeux) - 12

    Best sprinter

    SA Lotteries - best sprinter1/ Andre Greipel (Team High Road) - 38 pts
    2/ Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia) - 34
    3/ Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole) - 24
    4/ Graeme Brown (Rabobank) - 14
    5/ Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux) - 12
    6/ Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis) - 12
    7/ Carlo Westphal (Gerolsteiner) - 12
    8/ Jan Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner) - 12
    9/ Yoann Offredo (Française des Jeux) - 10
    10/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) - 10

    Best team

    Bartercard - best team1/ Française des Jeux - 56h21m03s
    2/ Saunier Duval-Scott - s.t.
    3/ Caisse d'Epargne - s.t.
    4/ Liquigas - s.t.
    5/ Euskaltel - Euskadi - s.t.
    6/ Silence-Lotto - s.t.
    7/ Cofidis - s.t.
    8/ UniSA - Australia - s.t.
    9/ AG2R-La Mondiale - 0m56s
    10/ Astana - s.t.

    Best young rider

    Share the Road - best young riderThe best young rider is the rider under 23 who has the best ranking in the generic ranking.
    1/ Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d'Epargne) - 18h46m51s
    2/ Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux) - 0m04s
    3/ Richie Porte (UniSA - Australia) - 0m08s
    4/ Pieter Jacobs (Silence-Lotto) - 0m10s
    5/ William Walker (Rabobank) - s.t.
    6/ Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Saunier Duval-Scott) - s.t.
    7/ Ivan Santaromita Villa (Liquigas) - s.t.
    8/ Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) - s.t.
    9/ Davide Vigano (Quick.Step - Innergetic) - 1m06s
    10/ Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick.Step - Innergetic) - 1m53s

    A good start of 2008 for Team High Road

    Team High Road2008 really started very well for Team High Road, the team without a main sponsor but with quite an impressive list of technical partners, with:
    - on Sunday 6 January 2008 Roger Hammond who takes his 8th British national championship cyclo-cross; for the first time in the Team High Road colours
    - on Wednesday 9 January 2008 Adam Hansen becomes Australian champion time trial with no less than 53 seconds on his runner-up
    - André Greipel who wins four stages and takes the overall win of the Tour Down Under after having won the Down Under Classic

    Don't you think T-Mobile regrets putting its sponsoring contract with this cycling team to an early end just a little bit?!

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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