Chaotic race before Willunga Hill showdown

19 January 2019
Imagen de la noticia ‛Chaotic race before Willunga Hill showdown’

Tour Down Under (st. 5)

A fight for bonus sprints, crosswinds, a crash by Bevin (CPT) and a sprint win for Philipsen (UAD) after Ewan’s (LTS) relegation – Movistar Team safe after hectic stage five, prior to Sunday’s Queen Stage.

After two grueling days into the hills, the 2019 Tour Down Under didn’t have an easy journey to recover at all during Saturday’s 149km stage five, the penultimate in this year’s course, from Glenelg to Strathalbyn.

Following a tight contest for bonus seconds in the first half of the race between race leader Bevin (CPT) and 2nd-placed Impey (MTS), a subsequent two-man break by Ladagnous (GFC) and Toovey (AUS) was soon caught as TJV tried to form some echelons into the crosswinds. As the move was neglected by their rivals, the peloton continued to ride in a nervous manner into the finishing area, ending up with a crash affecting Bevin himself with 10km from the end.

The Kiwi, very much sore but able to continue, eventually joined the main field, which saw Caleb Ewan (LTS) crossing the finish line first but being relegated to an irregular maneuver, with Jasper Philipsen (UAD) grabbing the victory. The Movistar Team riders, who saved energy before the decisive, Queen stage on Aussie soil on Sunday, had Prades (13th), Mas (15th) and Sütterlin (17th) near the front.

For the first time ever, Willunga Hill (two ascents of its 2.9km, 7% avg. gradient side) will be the final point of the race, end of a traditional 151km route which Lluís Mas and Eduard Prades will tackle within a minute of Bevin. Rubén Fernández, 5th yesterday and with no aftereffects from his crashes on Thursday, will also look forward to finishing on a high note in the Movistar Team’s first WorldTour race of 2019.