Jay McCarthy escapes late crash, takes the stage and the Ochre Jersey at the Tour Down Under.


Photo credit: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Stage2a-Australian Jay McCarthy(Tinkoff) beats Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) on the Staging Connections Stage 2 finish line.

Stage2a-Australian Jay McCarthy(Tinkoff) beats Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) on the Staging Connections Stage 2 finish line.

“I definitely have the chance to go for the GC this week” says Stage 2 winner Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) who avoided the chaos of a late crash to take the Ochre jersey.

The second stage of the Tour Down Under (TDU) rolled out of Unley, just 2km from the Adelaide CBD, before heading into the eastern hills for five laps of a 21km loop through the towns of Heathfield, Mylor, Aldgate and finishing in Stirling. Ahead were 132kms, over 3000 metres (10,000 ft) ascending, and more 30°C+ temperatures.

Stage2c-Australian Jay McCarthy(Tinkoff) wears the Santos Ochre Leaders jersey

Stage2c-Australian Jay McCarthy(Tinkoff) wears the Santos Ochre Leaders jersey

Manuele Boarro took the points on the KOM, and the jersey with it, at Range View Road after 13.8km.  He beat out current polka dot jersey wearer Patrick Lane (UniSA), and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal).

Orica GreenEdge then closed down the break immediately so they could lead out their GC man Simon Gerrans at the first sprint point. Gerrans took full points and bonus time ahead of teammate Caleb Ewan. Dimension Data’s Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg crossed third.

Peloton strongman Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) then threw caution to the wind and soloed away from the field in the post-sprint lull. 

Stage2d-Lampre-Merida rider Tsgabu Grmay meets the local wildlife

Stage2d-Lampre-Merida rider Tsgabu Grmay meets the local wildlife

The second sprint point was taken by the solo Hansen, with an aggressive Gerrans second, and Ewan third. The TDU is often won by a handful of seconds, so those efforts by the Orica GreenEdge duo could be crucial come the final on Sunday.

Orica GreenEdge again took pace making responsibility as they did on Stage 1, allowing Hansen to hover two minutes up the road.

Stage2e-Ochre Jersey wearer Caleb Ewan signs autographs for the fans at race start

Stage2e-Ochre Jersey wearer Caleb Ewan signs autographs for the fans at race start

The red BMC mist descended on the front of the bunch at 26km to go, protecting their two-headed climbing GC monster of Richie Porte and defending champ Rohan Dennis. 

Orica GreenEdge took control again at the final lap bell, swallowing up Adam Hansen 19km from home. 

Kiel Reijnan (Trek-Segafredo) made the save of the day as he flew off the road, brakes locked, with a double-puncture with 10km to go. It’d be a car convoy finish for the unlucky American.

Fans at the start line

Fans at the start line

The lead of the race became hotly contested territory with Giant Alpecin, Trek-Segafredo, and Tinkoff joined forced to string out the bunch. Dimension Data sprinters Tyler Farrar and Mark Renshaw were among the big names sliding off the back. 

Sky swarmed to the front and lifted the tempo again, causing race leader Ewan to drop off the back. Ewan knew before the stage that he “can’t go through the whole tour wearing Ochre” but rode valiantly until conceding.

The race start at Unley

The race start at Unley

The Sky lads dropped back soon after, replaced by Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, Giant-Alpecin, then Lampre-Merida.

A touch of wheels between an Astana rider and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) caused a crash at 800m from the line, bringing down several riders including Simon Gerrans, and disrupting many others. Tinkoff and Cannondale took advantage and pushed on the front. 

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was the first to open the uphill sprint. The Italian looked like he’d take the stage but young Jay McCarthy Aussie ground him down before winning with a bike throw. Defending champ Rohan Dennis (BMC) avoided the chaos to finish third.

The peloton on the look-out for Kangaroos

The peloton on the look-out for Kangaroos

After the stage McCarthy revealed he “had an eye on this stage”. 

“This year I knew I was in really good shape,” he said of his aspirations.

Dennis was another beneficiary of the chaos but said he hoped Gerrans can come back. 

“I hope the crash doesn’t hinder Simon (Gerrans), because no one wants to win like that,” Dennis said.

Solo breakaway rider Adam Hansen gets a tyre change

Solo breakaway rider Adam Hansen gets a tyre change

Gerrans was realistic after the stage. 

“It’s a shame to lose time bonuses, because a second counts for a lot in this race,”  he said. There’s plenty of reason for optimism, Gerrans efforts chasing intermediate sprint bonuses leave him in third spot in the GC. 

McCarthy was also realistic about the hard yards ahead.  

“Now I have to go back, recover for Corkscrew. There’s plenty more work ahead of us.”

Stage 3 begins by the seaside at Glenelg, 12km south of Adelaide, and finishes in the Adelaide suburb of Campeltown. The stage could be decisive with Corkscrew road guaranteed to blow apart the race.

What were they thinking?

The non-Orica-GreenEdge teams with GC hopes were caught out twice letting Gerrans and Ewan take the sprint bonus seconds. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Great job Orica-GreenEdge, that tactical nous could see you win the TDU.

Adam Hansen Lotto-Soudal,was the Alpecin Most Competitive Rider of the day

Adam Hansen Lotto-Soudal,was the Alpecin Most Competitive Rider of the day


Santos Tour Down Under Classification Leaders after Staging Connections Stage 2 

                Santos Ochre Leader’s Jersey - Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff)

                iiNet Sprint Jersey - Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge)

                Subaru King of the Mountain Jersey - Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff)

                Alpecin Most Competitive Rider - Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal)

                Wilson Parking Winning Team Competition - Cannondale Pro Cycling

Thank you James and "THE LEAD SOUTH AUSTRALIA".


Anything but a “cruise” in the park , coverage of the TDU 2016

Morning everyone,

This is from James Raison reporting back to us from the Tour of Down Under 2016.

People’s Choice Classic criterium kicks off a week of Tour Down Under racing in Adelaide, South Australia

“Just cruising around with my team, and when the hard part started, I just moved up the front and I think we did the job perfectly.”

Caleb Ewan’s assessment of his emphatic victory of the 30 lap, 51km People’s Choice Classic criterium around the eastern Adelaide parklands oozes a relaxed confidence in himself and his team. 

Ewan (Orica GreenEdge), emblazoned in the green and gold of the Australian National criterium champion, timed his final sprint to perfection. Just 50 metres from the line he split a gap between Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Adam Blythe (Tinkoff), leading the 2 home in that order. It’s easy to forget Ewan is just 21 years old with such a patient, well-timed sprint.

The field in Caleb’s wake looked neither casual nor relaxed.

“A bit of a shock to the system,” said Geraint Thomas.

From the gun, Astana sprinted from the line with three riders, including former Tour Down Under winner and GC contender Luis Leon Sanchez. The People’s Choice Classic is normally a lock for a bunch sprint finish, but that didn’t deter the Kazakh squad.

The main action for the first phase of the race was focused around four intermediate sprints on laps 5, 10, 15, and 20 that rewarded the first man over the line with 500euros. The first sprint went to Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) who caught the peloton unaware by crossing to the other side of the road before powering to the line. Young Australian Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) took the second sprint after a short break off the front, Chris Hamilton (UniSA) soloed for the third, and the final went to Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) who attacked from a break group of three.

The main field spent much of the race controlled by Orica GreenEdge and Team Sky, apart from the occasional interruption caused by the intermediate sprints.  The final 10 laps saw the Sky men-in-black string out the peloton with brutal pacemaking from Geraint Thomas and British National Road Racing Champion Peter Kennaugh.

The final two laps were hectic as the sprint trains fought for tarmac to deliver their fast men. Orica GreenEdge looked vulnerable as their line was whittled down to just Daryl Impey and Caleb Ewan. Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, and IAM Cycling had been invisible for the whole race but swamped the decimated GreenEdge line in the final lap. IAM led through the final turn but it was Trek-Segafredo’s Nizzolo who opened his sprint first. The diminutive Ewan overhauled the comparatively giant Nizzolo before punching the air in celebration as he crossed the line.

The young Australian is “delighted for the victory... [but] this is only the start of a long week.”

The win was a mirror of the Santos Women’s Tour crit held in the afternoon heat hours before on the same circuit. Annette Edmondson, returning to her hometown of Adelaide, road to victory with the help of her Wiggle Hi5 team. She tucked in safely in the centre of the pack for the 19 laps before teammate Chloe Hosking led her out Edmondson on the final lap.

Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under kicks off on Tuesday with a 130km stage from the Adelaide suburb of Prospect to the town of Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley wine region. Ewan will be one of the favourites on the flat stage with a slightly downhill sprint finish. South Australian summer will hit the field hard with 38°C forecast. Ewan is unfazed by the heat, feeling that “us Australians are more used to it than Europeans who came from winter.”

 What were they thinking?

Team Sky rode the People’s Choice Classic criterium as if the maillot jaune was at stake rather than prize money. Geraint Thomas, one of the Tour Down Under favourites, was closing gaps as early as lap 4, and spent more time on the front than any other rider in the last 10 laps. Why?

“I was at the front to help Swifty [Ben Swift],” Geraint explains. “We hit the front early, and we knew we were never going to make it from that far out, but Swifty got an easy ride.”

Swifty, you owe Geraint a beer mate, and at least 1 “easy ride” before the Tour Down Under is over.

Wiggle Women Team

Wiggle Women Team

Thank you James again for the amazing reportage back from Australia.

For you all in UK have a good day and good night for our riders.