Simon Gerrans was crowned Tour Down Under winner for a record fourth time as Australia and Orica-GreenEdge enjoyed a double celebration thanks to Caleb Ewan winning the final stage of the race.
Gerrans, who had won the race in 2006, 2012 and 2014, had virtually been assured of another triumph as he took a nine second advantage into the flat 90km circuit race around Adelaide, which would offer little chance of a successful breakaway.
The Australian though played a role in his team-mate, Ewan, claiming the final stage win of the first International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour race of the year, with the Orica-GreenEdge riders placing their sprinter in the mix for victory at the finish.
Ewan, in his extremely aerodynamic position, pulled away from his rivals to earn another impressive victory at the start of the season, having won stage one, the Australian National Criterium Championships and the People’s Choice Classic earlier this month.
The 21-year-old crossed the line in 1 hour 55min 02sec, with fellow Australian Mark Renshaw and Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo ending second and third respectively on the same time.
Having finished safely in the bunch Gerrans secured his fourth overall triumph, with Australia’s Richie Porte ending as the runner-up, nine seconds in arrears.
“It’s certainly a dream result and we couldn’t have asked for more,” said Gerrans.
“It’s fantastic to race the Santos Tour Down Under with Orica-Greenedge, an Aussie team winning a WorldTour race in Australia, it’s just awesome.
“The boys did a sensational job today, they kept me at the front, out of trouble and delivered Caleb as close to the line as possible, what a fantastic week it’s been for us.”
Having won stages three and four, Gerrans was also crowned as the winner of the sprint classification, with fellow Australian Jay McCarthy claiming the best young rider jersey, after the Tinkoff rider finished fourth overall.
Team Sky’s Colombian Sergio Henao, who finished third overall, 11 seconds behind the winner, claimed the king of the mountains classification.
The second men’s WorldTour race of the year will be Paris-Nice, with the stage race due to take place from March 6 to 13.
- By Michael Pavitt, this article was republished with permission from the original publisher Inside the Games www.insidethegames.biz