Thanks to steephill.tv for the pic link
As most everyone knew yesterday, and I had bet on at the tour start, Andre Greipel won the overall in the Tour Down Under on Sunday by finishing 5th in the final sprint and securing his 11 second lead over Caisse D’Epargne’s Luis Leon Sanchez. Sky, also not a surprise, wanted to close out the Tour with an official stage win and went one-two again, as they did in the cancer classic pre-race crit. This time it was the Aussie Sutton edging out the Kiwi Henderson at the line, but the result for Sky was still the same. The tour itself, however, re-established Columbia-HTC as the big dogs of the Sprint world, as Greipel seemed to handle Sky’s best with little difficulty. That’s an intimidating thought as Cavendish is somewhere warming up for his domination of the boys in black and blue. Is there anyone this year who will be able to give Cavendish difficulties? Pettachi? Hushovd? Boonen? Sky doesn’t seem to have an answer.
The stage itself was your basic round-about for 60 km, with a very fast average speed of 47.6km/h the guys were flying. It went by somewhat anti-climatically with the gaps so large in the top three that nothing much was to be decided other than thrid step on the podium which was taken from Milram’s Luke Roberts by the second placing Henderson.
Overall, you could say it was a great tour for Columbia-HTC and a good early season showing by Caisse D’Epargne, BMC’s Cadel Evans and a little from Milram and Sky. Expectations were and are very high for Sky, and although I wouldn’t say this was at all a dissapointing tour – with one stage win, third place and a pre-race win, the results and competition level, maybe were not quite high enough. As for Radioshack, there tour went by with little presence on the road and much presence to the fans. I thought ‘the shack’ looked bad. Gert Steegmans did little to convince me he will compete for stages later in the year and the team, less Armstrong, seemed docile. Lance, being this early in the season looked good for short stretches, but never seemed to be active when it mattered. I guess that’s what happens when you get the old guy out of bed early in the year.
Stage 6 Results:
1 SUTTON Chris______Sky_____90 km in 1.53’20” (47,647km/h)
2 HENDERSON Greg___Sky
3 BROWN Graeme_____Rabobank
1 GREIPEL Andre _____HTC-Columbia_____18:47:05
2 SANCHEZ Luis Leon _Caisse d’Epargne___0:00:11
3 HENDERSON Greg_____Team Sky________0:00:15