Victor Harbor (Australia), January 25th – The sprinters did it again at the Santos Tour Down Under. A bunch sprint finish was the likely outcome of stage 5 (Glenelg-Victor Harbor, 149.1km), but not taken for granted, as the course featured a final 2.9km climb (5.9% average gradient) 20km from the finish, that could be as an obstacle for the fast men.
Like yesterday, the race started with GC contenders’ battle for the time bonuses at the intermediate sprints, that saw Daryl Impey accomplishing the mission of taking over the overall leader’s jersey from Richie Porte.
Then several attacks followed, a breakaway formed, but it was always under control and caught on the climb. There, as expected, the peloton split and the sprinters were dropped. Despite that, their teams organised the chase and an intact group got ready for a bunch gallop: Giacomo Nizzolo took it, ahead of Consonni and Bennet.
Team Bahrain McLaren riders did again an excellent job to support both Hermann Pernsteiner and Santiago Buitrago, especially Yukiya Arashiro, who was working hard throughout the stage and then was our best-placed man in the sprint, taking 16th.
“It was a fast race, with teams interested in time bonuses pushing hard since the beginning. Sometimes side wind and the final climb made it harder, anyway we’re satisfied with our performance today and everything’s went as planned. Now we’re focused on tomorrow’s final stage, with the aim to put Hermann and Santiago in the top ten. I’m ready for supporting them”.
Waiting for the showdown of Willunga Hill, after today’s stage 5, Pernsteiner is still 13th in the general classification, while Buitrago moved up to 18th place. The young Colombian neo-professional rider has another target tomorrow: he will try to take over the white jersey from Pavel Sivakov, that has still his same time.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @Team Bahrain McLaren)
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