Sanchez First, Valverde Third – TDU

Thanks to steephill.tv for the picture link.

I had picked Alejandro Valverde to win the 5th stage of the Tour down Under, but the heir apparent at Caisse d’Epargne, Luis Leon Sanchez grabbed it at the line. Sanchez, who won last year’s Paris-Nice, is likely looking to peak a little earlier this year vs. Valverde with aims to defend his Paris-Nice title. However, that could all change if Valverde is suspended for his actions from years back with Kelme. Then, the leadership of Caisse would be handed over to Sanchez and he would be expected to perform well in at least two of the Grand Tours. But, that, is perhaps all in the near future.

Today, in South Australia, the two journeys over the Willunga Hill were on schedule and I had picked a compact sprinter to grap the win and try to put time into Greipel, if not with an early break on the first ascent, then a quick surge on the second. It appears that Caisse had their aims on the win for either rider and Sanchez was the man with the legs.

Greipel meanwhile did well to limit his losses and finished 9 second back of Sanchez, who with the time bonus climbs into second behind Andre, just 11 seconds back-and too far- for the overall tomorrow. Greipel, meanwhile lost no time to his fellow sprinters and should win the overall on Sunday’s final stage barring a disaster. In fact, it may be a wise bet to assume he is going to close this thing out in style, with the stage win, but don’t count out Sky, who are going to want the final stage as much, or more then, anyone.

For Video and Results

1 SANCHEZ Luis Leon___Caisse d’Epargne__148 km in 3.29’39” (42,356km/h)
2 ROBERTS Luke_______Milram___________@ 2 sec
3 VALVERDE Alejandro__Caisse d’Epargne__@ 4 sec
4 EVANS Cadel________BMC Racing
5 SAGAN Peter________Liquigas – Doimo___@ 6 sec

General Classification after 5 stages

1 GREIPEL Andre______HTC-Columbia______16:53:45
2 SANCHEZ Luis Leon__Caisse d’Epargne____0:00:11
3 ROBERTS Luke______Team Milram_______0:00:17
4 McEWAN Robbie_____Katyusha__________0:00:20
5 EVANS Cadel_______BMC Racing Team____0:00:21

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