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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, January 23, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Tour de France: 2020

Bill & Carol McGann's book The Story of the Tour de France, 2020: The Tour During Covid-19, Better Late Than Never is available in both Kindle eBook and Audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Tour Down Under stage 5 reports

We posted the race organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from stage 5 winner Simon Yates' Team Jayco-AlUla:

Briton Simon Yates has clinched his first ever victory on Australian soil, sprinting to the stage win at the top of Mount Lofty in style, edging out Jay Vine and Ben O’Connor.

After an intense battle all week, Yates, who came within inches of taking a stage win on day three, finally had the chance to throw his hands in the air with a special victory which secured his second place overall at the Australian WorldTour event.

Simon Yates wins stage five. Sirotti photo

The Team Jayco AlUla rider showed his intent for general classification success as he danced his way up the Corkscrew climb on day three, but despite getting up for intermediate sprint time bonuses during the penultimate stage, he couldn’t quite snatch the overall win and took second place, only 11 seconds shy of the overall victory.

After a rollercoaster week for the Australian outfit, the team walk away from the five day ‘home’ race very content after a few trips to the podium with Michael Matthews also taking the overall victory in the points classification.

Simon Yates - Stage 5 winner:
“I am ecstatic, really happy! We came here to win the overall and we really gave it a good shot, so I think we can walk away very happy. We had a lot of motivation to do a good ride this week, everybody has ridden fantastically.

"It was a tough day out there today, a short stage though and one of those circuit races around here that I like with a couple of laps around Mount Lofty. The boys were really great again and everybody played their part and I just managed to line it up there on the final climb and pass Vine on the line for the win. It's great to win here in Australia!"

Michael Matthews - Points winner:
“Simon has been in great shape this week and it is just really awesome and really special to be a part of a team like this where everybody really commits and when we pull it off like this it means a lot. We all delivered to make sure Simon was in position on that final lap and he did it. We have had a bit of a rollercoaster week and especially for me personally, but as a team we did all we could and to take a stage win, the points jersey and also second overall, I think it has been a good week and start of the season for us. It has been really hard aggressive racing and it has been a real pleasure to race again here in Australia."

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Here's the report from GC winner Jay Vine's UAE Team Emirates:

Jay Vine and UAE Team Emirates have got the 2023 season off to the perfect start with overall victory at the Tour Down Under in Australia.

Vine, who has held the leaders Ochre jersey since stage 2, kept his composure to follow all attacks on the final 112km from Unley to Mount Lofty (112km).

Jay Vine takes home the ochre jersey. Sirotti photo.

His closest rival Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula) would hit out for victory with just over a kilometre to go, but Vine had the strength to match his efforts, finishing just a bike length behind the British rider but conceding no time.

The overall team performance was rewarded with first place in the team classification to compliment the victory of Vine.

UAE Team Emirates won the teams classification. Sirotti photo

Vine: “It feels pretty incredible to be standing here wearing this jersey. The way the team rode that race was first class, the guys were incredible and our DS Marco in the car was also always clear and giving us good instructions. It was pretty hectic at the start of the stage, we really had to be on our toes but I had good guys around me, the team was incredible and they deserve it as much as I do.”

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Here’s the final Down Under report from King of the Mountains Mikkel Honoré’s Team EF Education-EasyPost:

Mikkel Honoré claimed the king of the mountain jersey on the final stage of the Tour Down Under, concluding a fantastic opening race with the team and a solid week of racing by the entire squad.

“It feels amazing,” Mikkel says. “First race here with the team. I am so proud to ride with these guys. We had an amazing race. It's a super good group and we put in a lot of hard work together from the start until the end. Personally, I really suffered out there today but we won the jersey so that's the most important thing.”

King of the Mountains Mikkel Honoré. Sirotti photo

It’s been a really solid opening week to the 2023 WorldTour season for the team. It had its ups and downs, but the team showed time and time again its resilience and camaraderie.

Mikkel came into the final stage of the Tour Down Under with a mere one point lead in the king of the mountain classification. While the race organizers did not include the traditional finale atop Willunga Hill there were still plenty of points on offer as the peloton took on Mount Lofty five times.

Attacks came thick and fast in the opening laps of the race, with numerous riders going up to the road. The team did a fantastic job covering moves and being at the front when it mattered in order to protect the jersey and in the end it proved to be enough to seal the green polka dot jersey for Mikkel.

The team experienced mixed luck in the race but, as sport director Tom Southam notes, the riders supported each other from the beginning.

“We had mixed fortunes in the prologue. We had two guys crash who were hoping for the GC. They all got behind Alberto and defended him as long as they could in the jersey. When things changed, the guys went straight back into the race. They went on the offensive and got the mountains jersey. We did the stage yesterday with Alberto and got second. Today they were active. Every time we wanted to try something in the race, the guys had the courage to do it. It shows really good intent for the rest of the season. They did good teamwork. They’ve got new guys in there like Mikkel and Sean hasn’t raced that much with the guys. The group felt really cohesive and yesterday we had six riders in the front group of 55 so that just shows how well they were committed to each other.”

From Alberto Bettiol's claiming the first leader's jersey on the opening prologue, to the entire team defending the jersey together, to then shifting focus to stage wins and the KOM jersey, the team showed grit and perseverance through it all.

If week one taught us anything, it’s that there is a whole lot to look forward to in 2023. We can’t wait to see where the road takes us.

Thank you Adelaide for your hospitality and kindness. It was so good to be back.

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Jai Hindley’s Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this final Down Under report:

The final stage of the Tour Down Under was quite short at 112.5km, but included five steep climbs up to Mount Lofty. After a few unsuccessful attempts, a break including Marco Haller managed to go clear from the peloton. With 30km remaining, the leaders were reeled in and Jai Hindley, Giovanni Aleotti and Maximilian Schachmann moved to the front of the reduced field to position themselves ahead of the final climb. Max then tried to attack over the last 20km but was brought back quickly. Ultimately, it was Simon Yates who won the sprint from a trio, to take the day's victory, while Jai and Giovanni crossed the line in sixth and eighth place respectively. The Australian thereby moved up to 16th place, with his Italian teammate placing 17th overall.

Jai Hindley signs in before the start of stage two. Sitorri photo

"So it was a really hot stage, and we pretty much went full gas all day on a really challenging parcours, but the boys rode really well. We were always present in the front, either with the breakaway or the attacking groups. Although it was a tough course, it wasn't hard enough to let the pure climbers get away, and the day finished in a tough uphill sprint. Overall, thanks to my teammates, they did a great job to try to help get the best result possible, and in the end, sixth on the stage was the best we could do. However, we'll still take a lot of positives from the past week, which is also a good way to end the Tour Down Under." - Jai Hindley

"Our goal today was to have Max Schachmann in the leading group and fight for the stage win. This plan actually looked quite good at the beginning. Max was very active, but in the end he wasn't able to get into the group. However, we were eventually represented there with Marco Haller. Unfortunately they never had a real chance, because the largest time gap was always less than a minute. In the end we were hoping for a tough finale to have a chance with Jai Hindley and Giovanni Aleotti. They put in a solid performance, but were unable to compete for the stage win. All in all, we aren't completely satisfied as we head into the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, as we weren't able to take the hoped-for stage win or top ten in GC. However, it must be said that we were quite unlucky with losing Jordi Meeus after Stage 1. In this respect, luck was definitely not on our side. Regarding the Great Ocean Road Race, we're confident that we'll be able to finish off our Australian trip with a good success." - Christian Pömer, Sports Director

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