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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, January 20, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men. - John Locke

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Tour Down Under stage 5 team reports

We have to start with the post from Caleb Ewan's Lotto-Soudal team:

The penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under resulted in another sprint finish today. It was Lotto Soudal rider Caleb Ewan who was first across the line. But only a few moments later, the Australian was relegated to the last place of the group that sprinted for the victory (83rd). The race commissaires took this decision as a result of an incident with Jasper Philipsen – who was later promoted to first place - in the run-up to the sprint. Caleb Ewan and Lotto Soudal sports director Mario Aerts went to talk to the jury but without result.

Caleb Ewan

Caleb Ewan was first across the line (second from left), but Jasper Philipsen (far left) was awarded the stage victory. Sirotti photo.

Caleb Ewan: “This is very disappointing. I was so looking forward to my first official victory for Lotto Soudal. After crossing the line, it felt like a massive relief, but the next moment all of that joy disappeared when I heard that I had been relegated. Nevertheless, the team did a great job today. It was a tricky and hectic day with a lot of wind. Before the stage, everyone knew that there was a possibility of echelons, but the team kept me in front all day long. I could also start the finale in a perfect position.”

“During the final kilometres, I was on Peter Sagan’s wheel but Philipsen tried to take that spot as he tried to push me out of Sagan’s wheel. You are not allowed to take your hands off the handlebars in the sprint so I used my head to avoid ending up in the barriers. Head movements are of course clearly visible on a helicopter shot but a lot of former sprinters will confirm that my manoeuvre was not irregular.”

“Of course, I have to accept the decision taken by the jury, but I don’t agree with it. I wanted to protect myself and the whole peloton against a crash. The commissaires did not listen to our side of the story before taking the final decision. It will take a couple of days to process the disappointment. Now, it’s mainly about finishing the Tour Down Under on a good note and focusing on new goals afterwards.”

Here's the report from GC leader Patrick Bevin's CCC Team following his crash:

Patrick Bevin experienced the highs and lows of cycling on stage five of the Santos Tour Down Under with the race leader putting another five seconds into his General Classification rivals, before crashing in the final 10 kilometers.
Bevin was one of the first to go down in the crash, with strong winds and expected bunch sprint making for a nervous finale, and despite his obvious pain, the New Zealander was able to get back on the bike and start to chase back.

A classy show of respect for Bevin’s leader’s jersey from Mitchelton-SCOTT saw the peloton slow down for the next five kilometers and with the help of his teammates, Bevin pushed through the pain and was able to rejoin the bunch with three kilometers remaining.

Upon crossing the line, Bevin was immediately taken to the race ambulance and transported to hospital for observation, where X-Rays and CT scans fortunately confirmed that there were no fractures, however Bevin sustained multiple contusions and bruised ribs and hip.

Patrick Bevin

Patrick Bevin right after the race.

Bevin will be observed overnight and will undergo a concussion test on Sunday morning to determine whether he is able to start stage six and attempt to defend his race lead to become the first New Zealander to win the Santos Tour Down Under.

Earlier in the stage, Mitchelton-SCOTT took control of the race to bring back a three-rider breakaway before the two intermediate sprints which provided valuable time bonuses for the General Classification battle.

Bevin and Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-SCOTT), who started the day seven seconds behind Bevin, both claimed a first and second place at the two sprints to gain five seconds each over the rest of the General Classification contenders.

After the sprints, two riders attacked and were able to gain a three-minute advantage but strong winds in the final 50 kilometers provided a chance to wreak havoc and the duo was quickly pulled back.

Bevin was positioned well and in the front group when splits formed in the peloton, but eventually the race came back together and the battle for position heading into the sprint finish started, at which point the crash took place.

After chasing back, Bevin rolled across the line in the main group behind the bunch sprint, which was eventually won by Jasper Phillipsen (UAE Team Emirates) after Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) was relegated for an irregular sprint.

CCC Team will provide an update on Bevin’s condition on Sunday morning prior to stage six.

Patrick Bevin:
“It was such a nervous stage and there was a battle for position all day. All it took was a touch of wheels and I went down. I’m pretty banged up right now but I really hope that I will be able to line up tomorrow. Fortunately, nothing is broken so we will see how I pull up in the morning.”

CCC Team doctor, Dr. Piotr Kosielski:
“Patrick was taken to Calvary Wakefield Hospital in Adelaide where he underwent X-Rays and CT scans to determine his injuries. Fortunately, he did not break any bones and had no internal injuries however, he has extensive bruising and abrasions all over his body. Although the CT scan did not show signs of any head injuries, our main concern is concussion which is why we want to wait until tomorrow morning, when we will perform a concussion test, before making the final decision as to whether Patrick can line up tomorrow. We will continue to monitor his condition overnight.”

Stage winner Jasper Philipsen's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

Jasper Philipsen put his name on the first victory of the 2019 year for UAE Team Emirates.

The 20-year-old new professional only needed five days of racing to take his first win in UAE Team Emirates colours. That came in Strathalbyn after 149.5km of racing from Glenelg in the Tour Down Under’s fifth stage.

Philipsen was not the first rider over the line, instead it was Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal). However, the jury regulated Ewan to the back of the pack for an irregular sprint and gave the honours to Philipsen, second over the line.

Hasper Philipsen

Jasper Philipsen enjoys his stage win.

“It’s an important victory for me, my first WorldTour race, but it arrived in a strange way, so I missed that feeling of crossing the line first. Still, success is always beautiful and I’m very content to have taken it,” Philipsen said. “The final, just like in the past days, had a lot of movement. There was a good fight for position and a crash, but I was in good position for the last curve.

"I feel that I have strength and spark, and like that I was able to realise a good sprint. Thanks to the team and the sponsors who wanted me and brought me into this team. And to all my team-mates for the contestant support that they gave these days“.

And here's the update from Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team:

The Tour Down Under was nearing its end, but this was doing nothing to dampen the riders’ fighting spirit, even with more than 750km of racing in their legs. After a day where there were not one, but two breakaways, the ambition was high for the sprinters, knowing this would be their last chance to take the win in the 2019 edition of the race. In true Peter Sagan fashion, the Slovak National Champion fought hard in the sprint and weaved his way into gaps any ordinary rider would find impossible, but in spite of this, Peter had to settle for third spot. After the finish, stage winner Caleb Ewan was relegated by the commissaires due to an incident with another rider, which saw Peter’s third position upgraded to second.

Japer Philipesen

The first three riders were really close.

Making its way south down the coast of the Gulf St Vincent from Glenelg, the penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under saw the riders cover 149.5km and some undulating terrain. With some wind coming off the sea, the peloton would be feeling the efforts of five days of racing in high temperatures, but with a flat finish waiting for them in Strathalbyn, you could be sure the sprinters would find the energy to contest the win. A trio went off the front early on, but in spite of some early success, couldn’t keep the peloton at bay, and with more than 90km remaining, it was all back together. In spite of another attempt to break away, this time hitting a more substantial 3:25 at its peak, they were again swept up with 35km remaining. There was some nervousness in the bunch, as a late attack could still shake things up, but with teams gearing up for a sprint, the pace was high enough to put an end to any attempts to escape, with Gregor Mühlberger in the thick of it along with Oscar Gatto and Daniel Oss.

A touch of wheels saw a crash just inside the 10km to go point, which caused splits in the peloton. This created some anxiety in the bunch, with speeds ramping up ahead of the finale. Coming round the final bends in a good position, the Slovak National Champion fought again and again, finding space where there was none, but was just unable to find the win, taking third position. Due to an incident involving stage winner Caleb Ewan and another rider, Peter was awarded second on the stage owing to Ewan’s relegation.

"The day turned out as expected. The strong breeze stretched the peloton at times but in the end, we had a bunch sprint.  I had good legs and went for the stage win but I was squeezed and couldn't make it.  My form is good, the team did an excellent job today and we'll fight again tomorrow on the last stage of the Tour Down Under." – Peter Sagan

"Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under was a tense one and the crosswind resulted in action in the peloton. The team worked perfectly, we put on a solid effort twice to create a selection but the wind wasn't strong enough to create a big split.  Peter was brought in a good position for the sprint, he had the legs but found himself blocked. In the end, he was third on the finish line, another good result for the team." – Patxi Vila, Sport Director 

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