TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE 2: GREIPEL WINS AGAIN, BROWN TAKES LEAD
André Greipel repeated his victory in the Down Under Classic by taking the second stage of the Tour Down Under in Hahndorf, a town where the Germans first settled in the late 1830s.
It almost felt like a home win for the German sprinter as he continued Team High Road’s impressive January streak.
Now he believes the rest of the race is going to be dominated by the sprinters.
Saturday’s stage to Willunga looks to be the only chance for a break to succeed as the potentially-decisive Willunga Hill comes around 25 kilometres from the finish.
“I think there are still going to be plenty of opportunities. There are so many strong sprinters in the race and that makes it really hard for anyone to stay away,” Greipel said.
“We’ve trained on Willunga Hill and that looks like the best chance for anything to happen for the general classificaion.”
The 148-kilometre stage was animated by the French. Yoann Offredo (Française des Jeux), Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom) and Stéphane Pouhiles (Ag2r-La Mondiale) built a four-minute gap at one stage but were caught 30 kilometres from the line.
With 13 kilometres to go Crédit Agricole rider Pierre Rolland tried his luck and he did remarkably well to stay away until three to go.
But a sprint was inevitable. Once again Rabobank’s Graeme Brown was in the thick of things, and again he came up short. Greipel was the fastest but Brown gained his reward.
He swapped his orange Rabobank jersey for the ochre leader’s jersey, taking it from fellow Australian Mark Renshaw.
All three are tied on time but Brown has scored more points so takes the lead into Thursday’s third stage.
Delighted with the leader’s jersey, Brown nevertheless wants a stage. “I am not really a GC rider, even if the course here suits me. I want to win a stage, that’s my goal. Once I’ve got one, I’ll go for two.”
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa-Australia
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Ger) Caisse d’Epargne
5. Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana
6. Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval
7. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Crédit Agricole
8. Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom
9. Denis Flauhaut (Swi) Saunier Duval
10. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre
62. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Crédit Agricole all same time
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Crédit AGricole
3. André Greipel (Ger) Team High Road both same time
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 4sec
5. Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis same time
6. Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française des Jeux at 5sec
7. Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa-Australia at 6sec
8. Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom same time
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Unisa-Australia at 8sec
10. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) CSC at 10sec
82. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Crédit Agricole same time