ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) – Simon Gerrans has sealed a fairytale debut for the fledgling GreenEdge Australian professional cycling team, claiming overall victory in the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under.
By consequence, Gerrans joins team-mate and local hero Stuart O’Grady and Sunday’s final stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), as the third rider in the event’s 14-year history to twice win overall honors.
“It’s an even sweeter victory than my first one here in 2006,” said Gerrans, who rated his Australian championship win a fortnight ago as slightly more emotional. “It couldn’t be a better start for us.”
Raced over 20 laps of a street circuit on the banks of the Torrens River, located north of the Adelaide CBD, the 90-kilometer finale set off under a vermillion sky at 1:10 p.m. local time, as the mercury hit 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).
31-year-old Gerrans went into the stage tied on time with Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), but as race leader on count-back, when the pair’s places on previous stages were tallied.
However edgy though brimming with confidence, the GreenEdgers were up to the task and vigilant throughout the stage, making sure every move was covered. “When I was told yesterday that I was getting the leader’s jersey,” Gerrans said, “I didn’t feel any pressure at all; it was just a nice surprise.
“I knew it would give us a tough job for this last stage, but as it turned out, I can’t be happier. This is just fantastic. I can’t thank the GreenEdge team enough for this victory. I had Robbie McEwen looking after me (and) that was pretty special, since it was his last race in Australia.”
Valverde and Gerrans who crossed the line in 25th and 27th place, respectively, split only by Gerrans’ stage-finish pilot McEwen, who made sure the Spaniard was well-marked. “It’s a fantastic way to go out as far as Australia racing is concerned,” said McEwen.
“I joined the team and was really excited about being a part of the GreenEdge project, racing in an Aussie team, our national team. It was all about winning the jersey and that’s the success for the team; it feels like a personal win to be a part of it.”
Despite not being on the top step of the podium, Valverde was satisfied to have won the Tour’s first-ever hilltop finish yesterday on Old Willunga Hill. “I am very happy with finishing second in the Tour Down Under. The outcome is much better than I expected when I came to Australia. I’m very happy,” he said.
The spring race season kicks off this weekend in Belgium with Omloop and Kuurne. Who will draw first blood at these early tests?
Global Cycling Network takes a ride with former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador to talk cycling and more
Steele Von Hoff nets another big win for the UniSa team in stage 4 of the Tour Down Under
Watch out! Jérémy Roy (FDJ.fr) barely avoids a huge crash at the finish of stage 4 in the Tour Down Under
It's all BMC Racing in a fast uphill finale that sees Rohan Dennis win the day and claim the overall lead in Australia on stage 3
Global Cycling Network recaps the second stage of the Tour Down Under, which saw Juan Jose Lobato snag a sprint win in Stirling
Global Cycling Network's recap of the first day of action in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under
"Are you 100 percent that one of these journalists isn't f—king your wife?" Cavendish demands while defending cycling's anti-doping
Global Cycling Network takes a ride with Contador to find out firsthand how effective his explosive, out of the saddle attacks can be
Ride one of the most technical, narrow descents in France with the guys from Global Cycling Network