Latest updates: 13/6 - Evans bridesmaid again, 12/6 - Evans clings to second, 11/6 - Leaders unchanged, 10/6 - Evans holding steady, 9/6 - Cadel to 2nd on GC

Latest Racing News

Evans the bridesmaid again at Dauphine

Cadel Evans has once again fallen short in the Criterium du Dauphine. While the Australian has never won the race, he has now finished second overall on four occasions. Needing to make up 1'26'' on race leader Bradley Wiggins on the short but nasty final stage, Evans tried hard, but the Brit managed to hang on as the Australian attempted several surges on the last climb. They eventually crossed the line together, 10 seconds behind Joaquin Rodriguez who claimed his second consecutive stage victory, and while main rivals Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen Van den Boeck made up a few seconds on Wiggins and Evans, it was not enough to change the final general classification.

 Thibaut Pinot and Robert Gesink rounded out the day's podium places finishing second and third behind Rodriguez while Wiggins punched the air in victory knowing that he had claimed overall victory.

Final general classification
1st– Bradley Wiggins
2nd– Cadel Evans @ 1'26''
3rd– Alexandre Vinokourov @ 1' 49''
4th– Jurgen Van den Broeck @ 2'10''
5th– Joaquin Rodriguez @ 2'51''

Sean Q Lee

Evans clings to second overall at Dauphine

A top ten finish on mountainous stage six of the Criterium du Dauphine was enough to keep Australia's Cadel Evans in second position on general classification, however the BMC rider lost valuable time to race leader Bradley Wiggins and is facing serious challenges from rivals Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

Evans crossed the line in ninth place, 1'09'' behind stage winner Joaquin Rodriguez. Robert Gesink was second @ 31'', but of more importance to Evans were the times of Van Den Broeck (third) @ 39'', Vinokourov (fifth) @ 50'' and Wiggins (sixth) @  54''.

Evans readily admits that he has not ridden well over the past couple of stages but is satisfied with his second position considering his ill form. With one stage remaining, the Australian Tour de France hope has one last shot at reeling in Wiggins' lead, but with Vinokourov and Van Den Broeck hot on his heels and Team Sky intent on keeping Wiggins clear, it will take an exceptional ride.

General classification after stage six
1st– Bradley Wiggins
2nd– Cadel Evans @ 1'26''
3rd– Alexandre Vinokourov @ 1'52''
4th– Jurgen Van Den Broeck @ 2'13''
5th– Christophe Kern @ 2'52''

by Sean Q Lee

Leaders unchanged, Evans still 2nd on GC

The status-quo of the Criterium du Dauphine remains unchanged after a day spent in the mountains. Stage five saw Christopher Kern take the day's honours by seven seconds over Chris Anker Sorensen, while
third placed Thomas Voeckler led the group containing general classification leaders Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Janez Brajkovic and Alexandre Vinokourov across the line nine seconds behind the leader.

Wiggins defended his overall lead well, marking a late attack by Vinokourov, while Evans, who was lucky to avoid a highspeed collision with a rider who had dropped his chain, did what he had to do despite appearing sluggish to react to some of the uphill attacks.

With the mountains set to get harder over the next two stages, Wiggins is set to be put under increasing pressure by both Evans and Vinokourov.

General classification after stagefive
1st – Bradley Wiggins
2nd – Cadel Evans @ 1'11''
3rd – Janez Brajkovic @ 1'21''
4th – Alexandre Vinokourov @ 1'56''
5th – Rui Alberto Faria Costa @ 2'22''

by Sean Q Lee

Evans holding steady in second place 10/06/2011

The general classification positions of the
Criterium du Dauphine remain unchanged after all the main contenders crossed the line safely behind the sprinters on stage four of the French race. In what was a stage for the fast men, HTC Columbia's John Degenkolb continued his good form by claiming his second stage victory of the race. He outsprinted fellow rising star Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky and Saxobank-Sungard's Juan Jose Haedo for the top podium position.

Boasson Hagen's team mate Bradley Wiggins remains the overall race leader, 1'11'' ahead of second placed Cadel Evans (BMC). Both Evans and Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov are expected to challenge Wiggins as the race enters the mountains over the weekend.

General classification after stage four
1st – Bradley Wiggins
2nd – Cadel Evans @ 1'11''
3rd – Janez Brajkovic @ 1'21''
4th – Alexandre Vinokourov @ 1'56''
5th – Rui Alberto Faria Costa @ 2'12''

by Sean Q Lee

Cadel Evans leap frogs to second on GC

Cadel Evans has leap frogged from fourth to second place overall with a strong time trail performance on stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine.

With technical decents in wet conditions, Evans finished sixth on what will also be the time trial course for the Tour de France next month.

While Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins finished second on the stage behind HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin, it was enough to propel the Brit into first place overall. Evans lost over a minute to Wiggens but gained time on Alexandre Vinokourov and Jurgen Van de Broeck.

General classification after stage three

1st - Bradley Wiggins
2nd - Cadel Evans @ 1'11''
3rd - Janez Brajkovic @ 1'21''
4th - Alexandre Vinokouorov @ 1'56''
5th - Rui Alberto Faria Costa @ 2'12''

by Sean Q Lee

Lapse in concentration costs Evans

A lapse in concentration just 20km from the finish of stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine almost proved costly for Cadel Evans and his BMC team mates in the wet and windy conditions.

Evans and Team Sky rival Bradley Wiggins missed the split as the peloton shattered in strong crosswinds. With their teams working overtime to close the gap on the lead group which included race leader Alexandre Vinokourov, little was left for the sprint to the line.

While Wiggins managed to cross the line with Vinokourov, Evans lost six seconds to both men and has slipped to fourth on general classification. The stage was won by German rising star John Degenkolb.

While admitting to his mistake, Evans is optimistic that he can make up lost time in tonight's 45km individual time trial in Grenoble.

General classification after stage two

1st - Alexandre Vinokourov
2nd - Jurgen Van den Broeck @ 11''
3rd - Bradley Wiggins @ 11''
4th - Cadel Evans @ 13''
5th - Nicholas Roach @ 17''

by Sean Q Lee

Cadel Evans moves to third overall

The Criterium du Dauphine could develop into a shoot out between old rivals Alexandre Vinokourov and Australia's Cadel Evans, who, after the completion of stage one, sit first and third respectively on general classification.

Splitting them on GC is Cadel's former Omega Pharma Lotto team mate Jurgen Van den Broeck, who rode brilliantly to hold off the chasers on the uphill finish to claim victory on stage one. He finished six seconds ahead of Joaquin Rodriguez and seven seconds ahead Evans who claimed third position. Vinokourov, Irishman Nicholas Roach and all rounder Edvald Boasson Hagen recorded the same time as the Australian.

According to Evans the day was harder than expected due to head winds and he expects that it will be the first of several 'harder than expected' stages.

General Classification after stage one

1st - Alexandre Vinokourov
2nd - Jurgen Van den Broeck @ 5''
3rd - Cadel Evans @ 7"
4th - Bradley Wiggins @ 11''
5th - Edvald Boasson Hagen @ 13''

by Sean Q Lee

Good start by Evans at Dauphine

Australia's Cadel Evans has put himself in a strong position on the opening day of the Criterium du Dauphine. The BMC rider finished seventh on the short 5.4 km prologue, nine seconds behind Rabobank's ex-cyclocross rider Lars Boom who took the stage in an impressive fashion.

More importantly for Evans is that he is only seven seconds behind main rival Alexandre Vinokourov who finished second and just four seconds behind Bradley Wiggins who was third.

Evans was happy with his form and the performance of some new equipment which he had been trialling in training. He suspects that the general classification will get a shake up in tomorrow's 144 km stage from Albertville to Saint Pierre de Chartreuse which will feature four categorised climbs and a mountain top finish.

by Sean Q Lee

Greg Henderson second in Luxembourg

Team Sky's New Zealand rider, Greg Henderson, has finished second in stage one of the Tour of Luxembourg. He was outsprinted to the line by Katusha's Denis Galinzyanov, who left Henderson's slipstream with 150m to go and was never headed. Henderson's team mate, Davide Appollonio was third across the line. Australia's Matt Hayman, also from Team Sky, was fourth, three seconds behind the podium trio.

Leopard-Trek's Fabian Cancellara leads the race overall after a powerful performance on the opening day's prologue. Matt Hayman is the best placed of the Antipodean riders, 11 seconds behind Cancellara in fifth position.

Sean Q Lee

Sulzberger slips as big names dominate

Wesley Sulzberger has been unable to hang onto his top three spot overall at the five stage Bayern-Rundfahrt race in Germany overnight. The FDJ rider has slipped back to eighth on general classification, 1'53'' behind race leader Geraint Thomas (Sky).

Stage four was dominated by the big names of procycling with Sky's Bradley Wiggens claiming victory over Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) at 33'' and team mate Edvald Boasson Hagen at 46''.

The 2.HC rated race concludes this evening with a 162 km stage between Friedberg and Moosberg.

by Sean Q Lee

Wesley Sulzberger third in Germany

Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ) has finished third in stage three of the German race Bayern – Rundfahrt. The Australian was a part of an eight man sprint to the line after his breakaway group successfully held off the chasing peloton by over five minutes. Swiss rider Michael Albasini
(HTC-Highroad) had the stronger legs taking first place, while Great Britain's Geraint Thomas (Sky) finished second.

This trio of riders now hold the top three positions on general classification with only two stages yet to be ridden, one of which will be an individual time trial. Albasini holds a seven second advantage over Thomas and Sulzberger.

by Sean Q Lee

More success for Haussler in Germany

Australian Heinrich Haussler continues to build on his early season form. The Garmin Cervelo rider has finished third in the first stage of Bayern – Rundfahrt.

The German race finished in a bunch sprint after all breakaway riders were caught with three kilometres to go. Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen won the stage for Team Sky, with local rider Andre Schulze (Polsat Polkowice) coming second.

by Sean Q Lee

Goss and Henderson storm home

While they may not have had an impact on the overall standings of the Tour of California, Australia's Matt Goss and New Zealand's Greg Henderson made sure they went out with a bang by claiming first and third in the final stage of the popular American race.

With the general classification wrapped up by Radioshack's Chris Horner, it was left to the sprinters to finish off a flat and fast stage eight. HTC-Highroad and Peter Sagan's Liquigas Cannondale team set a fierce pace, reeling in the breakaways with five kilometres to go. Team Sky were also keen to get Ben Swift to the line and the lead out trains were buffeting for position as the race drew to its conclusion.

But it was to be Matty Goss, led out by fellow Aussie Leigh Howard, who had the finishing speed to prevail. Sagan crossed the line in second place while Henderson bettered team mate Swift to grab third for Team Sky.

Horner claimed overall honours, with team mate Levi Leipheimer second at 38'' and Garmin Cervelo's Tom Danielson third at 2'45''. Rory Sutherland was the best of the Australians finishing seventh at 4'12''.

by Sean Q Lee

Sutherland out of contention

Australia's Rory Sutherland has dropped out of contention for a podium finish in the 2011 Tour of California. The United Healthcare rider was unable to go with Radioshack team mates Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner who blew the race apart on the dreaded slopes of Mt. Baldy during yesterday's stage seven.

Also caught amongst the carnage was Leopard Trek's Tour de France hope Andy Schleck, who failed to make an impact on the climb and had to be content with a ninth place finish, 1' 39'' behind eventual winner Leipheimer. Sutherland crossed the line in 13th, 2'34'' behind the leaders.

While he has lost his third place on the overall standings, he still sits nicely in the top ten, 4'12'' behind overall leader Chris Horner in seventh place. Schleck is eighth at 4'33'' with one stage left.

by Sean Q Lee

Rory Sutherland eyes podium finish

A strong time trial performance by Australia's Rory Sutherland on stage six of the Tour of California has seen him push into third place overall with just two stages remaining.

The United Healthcare rider finished the 24 km time trial in ninth position, 59 seconds behind armin Cervelo's Dave Zabriskie who scorched the course in just 30'36''.

Sutherland, who has been consistant right throughout the race, is optimistic about his chances on the brutal stage seven climb up Mt. Baldy. While admitting that an overall win is probably beyond him and that it would be difficult to make up time on race leader Chris Horner, he was in no doubt that his team would give it their best shot and that he wouldn't die wondering. "It's all or nothing," he said.

Sutherland has ridden an enormous race considering his team, a second tier outfit, lack the depth and support that a ProTeam offers.

Radioshack's Chris Horner leads the race holding a 38 second advatage over team mate Levi Leipheimer, with Sutherland a further minute back.

by Sean Q Lee

Leigh Howard continues Aussie success

Aussie young gun, Leigh Howard, relished being the number one sprinter for HTC-Highroad today, after the team's number one fast man, Matt Goss, wasn't a factor at the finish after suffering from cramps.

Howard was the first to break out of the bunch as they approached the finish line to end stage five of the Tour of California, however he started his sprint a fraction too early and was run down by Slovak and Liquigas-Cannodale rider Peter Sagan. Sky team's inform Brit Ben Swift crossed the line in third place. This trifecta of young, up and coming sprinters show that there could be a slight changing of the guard amongst the men at the top of the sprinting world. It is definately a glimpse into the future of the sport.

Howard, speaking on the website, said of the stage, "I've been sprinting for Matt Goss all week and he didn't quite have the legs today, and when opportunity like that comes up you have to take full advantage. I had the opportunity and I just missed."

Radioshack veteran Chris Horner maintains his overall lead with a 1'15'' margin over team mate and second placed rider Levi Leipheimer. Fellow American Thomas Danielson of Garmin Cervelo is a further seven seconds back in third.

by Sean Q Lee

St. 3: Long sprint by Henderson brings win
St. 4: Forgotten Sutherland gains podium

Stage three of the Tour of California provided mixed fortunes for the riders of the Antipodes.

A brilliant win by Team Sky's New Zealand sprinter Greg Henderson had Kiwi cycling fans jumping for joy but across the ditch their Aussie counterparts were lamenting what might have been after crashes to stage favourite Matt Goss, veteran Baden Cooke and young gun Michael Matthews in the closing kilometres.

Henderson's win came as a surprise, even to the man himself, as his role was to be the last of team mate Ben Swift's leadout train. Swift, who had won the previous stage and was overall race leader, lost Henderson's wheel in a mixup and the Kiwi found himself to be Sky's last option.

He began his sprint from the front of the pack some 500 metres out from the finish and held on to win by two bike lengths from Saxo Bank Sungard's Juan Jose Haedo and Garmin Cervelo's world champion Thor Hushovd.

Henderson, who admitted he had never sprinted 500 metres to victory before, took over the race lead from team mate Swift.

However, the Kiwi spent only one day in the leader's jersey, slipping down the order on a hillier stage four. Radioshack veteran Chris Horner was a popular winner of the stage while Tour de France big gun Andy Schleck came in second. 'Forgotten' Australian rider Rory Sutherland, riding for United Healthcare, gained a much deserved podium spot, coming in third. He becomes the highest ranked Antipodean rider on general classification in fifth place 1' 30'' behind first placed Chris Horner.

Michael Matthews withdrew from the stage after struggling with injuries sustained in his crash on stage three.

by Sean Q Lee

Snow, no show, then Gossy goes

  Matthew Goss continues to finish at the pointy end of races after recording another podium result, this time at the weather affected Tour of California. While inclement weather is no stranger to the Tour, it was moved to its current May time slot last year in a bid to avoid the harsh weather that was constantly marring the race. And while last year's edition was won by Australian Michael Rogers in brilliant sunshine it seems that the Tour's bad weather curse has returned.

With stage one cancelled because of snow, Goss had to wait until stage two to showcase his talent. On a course that was shortened and rerouted, again because of snow, the stand out Australian rider finished third in a bunch sprint behind young British sprinter Ben Swift and another up and coming fast man, Peter Sagan.

Goss, who was racing for the first time in five weeks, was happy with his form and expects to gain more speed as the race goes on, but while his team struggled to get their lead out train working smoothly, Team Sky combined beautifully to whisk Swift to his fifth win of the year.

Goss and Swift are developing quite a rivalry, having already traded blows at this year's Tour Down Under. Swift broke the Aussie monopoly on the event by winning two stages.

by Sean Q Lee

Aussies not a factor at sad Giro

  Australian riders are yet to have an influence at this year's edition of the Giro d'Italia. As of stage six, only evergreen sprinter Robbie McEwen has managed a top ten finish, and that was in the bunch sprint that ended stage two.

Richie Porte, last year's best young rider, is working for Alberto Contador, and is unlikely to figure in the fight for the various jersey classifications. With domestique duties weighing heavily on the other Australian participants and the absence of our 2010 stage winners - Cadel Evans, Matthew Goss and Matthew Lloyd – it shapes up as being a quiet Italian tour for the boys from Downunder.

Evans and Goss are focusing on Le Tour while Lloyd is currently in the cycling wilderness after being sacked by Omega Pharma Lotto for erratic behaviour and not presenting himself in the best condition for races.

While last year's race will be remembered for its innovative course and exciting racing, this year's edition will be forever remembered for the tragic death of Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt. The Leopard Trek rider crashed on a descent in stage three after misjudging a corner and snagging his pedal in a barrier. Despite medical attention being administered just moments after the crash, Weylandt couldn't be revived.

An emotional tribute was paid during the neutralised stage four with his Leopard Trek team mates and best friend Tyler Farrar (Garmin Cervelo) riding side by side across the finish line with the peloton and race leader David Miller a respectful distance behind. Despite no competitive riding taking place on the day, crowds flocked to the side of the roads and the finish line to pay their own tribute to Weylandt as the peloton passed.

Farrar, his distress evident as he crossed the line to the appreciative applause of the crowd, abandoned the race and flew home. Leopard Trek also withdrew from the race.

Sean Q Lee

McEwen best of Aussies on stage 1 and 2

  Australian riders are yet to have an influence at this year's Giro d'Italia although Robbie McEwen rode well in the opening team time trial helping Radioshack to second place behind the smooth HTC-Highroad team. The veteran followed this up with an eighth place in the bunch sprint that ended stage two but didn't have the closing speed to go with Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish who finished first and second. McEwen is seventh on GC, 22 seconds behind Cavendish who, thanks to his team's TTT win and time bonuses gained for his podium finish in yesterday's stage, enjoys a 12 second lead over the next group of riders.

by Sean Q Lee

'Bling' Matthews on podium again

Almost forgotten in the excitement of Cadel Evans winning his second Tour of Romandie last weekend was Michael Matthews gaining another podium finish in Germany.

The young Rabobank rider claimed third in a bunch sprint that ended the 202km Rund Um Den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt. The 1.HC rated race was won by local up and coming rider John Degenkolb with Belgian Jerome Baugnies finishing second.

by Sean Q Lee

Evans takes second stage race for year

Cadel Evans has claimed his second stage race of the season by hanging on to win the Tour of Romandie by 18 seconds from HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin with Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov finishing third at 19 seconds.

Evans crossed the line with the bunch to end the final stage at the top of the general classification table after his team BMC controlled the race beautifully, bringing back the last breakaway with six kilometres to go. The stage was won by up and coming British sprinter, Sky Team's Ben Swift.

Meanwhile Cameron Wurf and Wezley Sulzberger have finished in the top ten after the final stage of the Tour of Turkey. Wurf finished fifth on general classification at 2'17'' while Sulberger was eighth at 11'19''.

by Sean Q Lee

Evans takes yellow, Porte rides powerfully

Cadel Evans has stolen the yellow leaders' jersey for the Tour of Romandie from Russian Rider Pavel Brutt after a solid stage four time trial that saw the Aussie favourite finish eighth.

American David Zabriskie pipped  Richie Porte for the stage, completing the 20km course just two seconds faster than the young Tasmanian. Lieuwe Westra from the Netherlands finished third, 14 seconds behind the the first place getter.

Evans is pleased with his performance considering a knee injury sustained during a training session restricted his number of races throughout the classics season. He now leads the general classification with Tony Martin (18 seconds) and dangerman Alexandre Vinokourov (19 seconds) sitting just behind him.

Meanwhile, at the Tour of Turkey, Cameron Wurf and Wesley Sulzberger have held their places in the top 10. After stage seven Wurf is fifth at 2'17'' while Sulzberger is eighth at 11'19''. Veteran Russian rider Alexander Efimkin leads the race with one stage left to run.

by Sean Q Lee

Evans still in contention at Romandie

While Alexandre Vinokourov crossed the line first to take victory in stage three of the Tour of Romandie, Australia's Cadel Evans finished safely in the same group and remains well placed on general classification.

Russian rider Pavel Brutt remains the race leader. Vinokourov at 32'', Damiano Cunego at 38'' and Evans at 42'' make up the top four.

Meanwhile two Australians remain in the top ten of the Tour of Turkey. At the completion of stage six, former rower Cameron Wurf was sitting in fifth position 2'17'' behind race leader Alexander Efimkin, while Tasmanian Wesley Sulzberger is eighth at 11'19''.

by Sean Q Lee

Evans second at Romandie despite block

  Cadel Evans has managed to finish second in stage two of the Tour of Romandie after having his sprint ruined by French rider Mikael Cherel.

Evans, who opened the sprint, was beaten to the line by Damiano Cunego, but was blocked by Cherel in his pursuit of victory. Alexandre Vinokourov finished third.

The podium finish moves Evans into third on general classification, 42 seconds behind Russian rider Pavel Brutt and just four seconds behind Cunego.

Young Australian rider, Jack Bobridge has performed solidly in the race thus far, coming home fourth in yesterday's stage to lead the young riders classification, while countryman Leigh Howard finished third in the opening prologue.

by Sean Q Lee

Cameron Wurf strong in Turkey

  A strong performance by Australian Cameron Wurf in stage five of the Tour of Turkey, has seen the Liquigas-Cannondale rider shoot up to second on general classification to sit 27 seconds behind Garmin-Cervelo's Thomas Peterson (USA).

Wurf, who finished the stage in seventh position just three seconds behind the leading bunch, has taken over the GC position of fellow countryman Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ) who had moved up to second position at the conclusion of stage four after some strong rides that included a third place in stage three.

By Sean Q Lee

Goss wins brilliantly at Milan-San Remo

Mat Goss continued his brilliant start to the season by smashing the field and sprinting to glory at Milan-San Remo overnight.

The victory, following hot on the heels of several stage wins already this season, has seen Goss arrive as one of the premier sprinters of the pro-peloton.

The Australian was part of an eight man final selection after crossing over the feared Poggio climb and thanks to a calm head while all those around him were continually attacking, managed to conserve his energy and sprint away from his rivals at the finish. He becomes the first Australian rider to win La Classicissima.

Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara was second while classics specialist Phillipe Gilbert managed third, crossing the line ahead of riders such as Ballan, Pozzato, Scarponi and Nibali. Australian Stuart O'Grady finished tenth while the highly fancied Heinrich Haussler was 27 seconds back in eighteenth.

A crash and split in the peloton earlier in the race saw race favourites such as Thor Hushovd, Oscar Friere, Tyler Farrer and Mark Cavendish chasing the main group and out of contention.

The victory by Goss adds to the remarkable tally of wins compiled by Australian riders so far this season. The Aussies have been ranked by the UCI as the number one road cycling nation in the world since the Tour Down Under in January, and recent wins by Cadel Evans at Tirreno-Adriatico and now Goss here at Milan-San Remo, have well and truely cemented the Australians at the top of the table.

by Sean Q Lee

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Smart racing snares Cadel top honours

  Cadel Evans has proved that he can still mix it on the ProTour by claiming overall victory in the prestigious Italian stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico. The Australian took a nine second lead into the final stage, a short 9.3 km individual time trial.

While TT specialist Fabian Cancellara again proved to be unbeatable against the clock, Evans, being last away, knew exactly what times he had to beat. Needing to complete the course in less than 11'19'', the BMC rider managed to power home in 11'04'' to claim the trident trophy and become the first Australian to win the Italian race.

Evans thoroughly deserved his victory, being without doubt the strongest and most tactically astute rider in the race. While keeping out of trouble on the early flat stages of the seven day epic, he outsmarted his opponents on the steeper gradients of the later stages, and gradually worked himself to the top of the general classification table.

Though he took the overall lead at the end of stage five, it was his stunning stage six victory that cemented his position as the race's number one rider. Ignoring the ambitious and perhaps foolhardy attacks of his rivals as they climbed the slopes to the finish line, Evans kept his rhythm and reeled them all back in, to finish the stronger in a display of powerhouse riding.

While the former world champion must be encouraged, and no doubt delighted, by his early season form, his goal remains the Tour de France in July. In a bid to remain fresh, Evans will compete in little more than 30 days of racing before the three week grand tour, and will hopefully hit the French race at peak fitness. His performance here in Italy indicates that his progress is on track.

So an exciting week of racing comes to an end. Only a handful of seconds separated the leading riders throughout, and any combination of them could have finished on the final podium coming into the last day. In the end it was Evans and his tactical nouse that triumphed.

Final top five GC positions

1st – Cadel Evans
2nd – Robert Gesink @ 11''
3rd – Michele Scarponi @ 15''
4th – Ivan Basso @ 24''
5th – Vincenzo Nibali @ 30''

by Sean Q Lee

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Evans takes stage victory in Italy

  Cadel Evans has fought off his nearest rivals to snare a magnificent stage victory on day six of Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico. Defending his narrow overall lead against some of the most talented cyclists in the pro-peloton, Evans ensured that time bonuses for the early place getters wouldn't work against him by beating Michele Scarponi, Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Robert Gesink and Vincenzo Nibali on the tough uphill finish to claim the maximum bonus for himself.

Evans, aided by Scarponi and Nibali playing cat and mouse with each other within the last kilometre, powered to the lead with 300 metres to go and was uncatchable. While his main concern going into the stage was to not lose any time before tomorrow's individual time trial, the former world champion has stretched his overall lead and now looks a near certainty to maintain his advantage.

With a nine second lead over second placed Scarponi, and 12 seconds on Basso, Evans, who is a strong time trialler, will be hard to catch over the remaining nine kilometres of the race.

The top six GC positions going into the final stage are -

1st – Cadel Evans
2nd – Michele Scarponi @ 09''
3rd – Ivan Basso @ 12''
4th – Robert Gesink @ 15''
5th – Vincenzo Nibali @ 21''
6th – Damiano Cunego @ 33''

by Sean Q Lee

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Evans leads GC at Tirreno-Adriatico

  After solid performances in the two longest stages of Tirreno-Adriatico, Australia's Cadel Evans has become the overall leader of the Italian race with just two stages remaining.

After gaining ground on the general classification leaders during a smartly raced fourth stage, the former world champion followed up by finishing just two seconds behind Phillippe Gilbert in last night's fifth stage and 15 seconds ahead of former race leader Roger Gesink.

The result was enough to propel Evans to the top of the GC table where he now holds a two second lead over Ivan Basso with Damiano Cunego a further second behind in third place.

While conceding that he could not have out sprinted Gilbert, the Australian lamented the fact that he was 'caught in traffic' during the final moments of the race. Of his nearest GC rivals he crossed the line with Basso, Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali and only lost time to Cunego. With only 12 seconds separating the top six GC riders, the final two stages – the last of which is a time trial – promise some exciting racing.

If BMC can control tonight's stage for their leader, Evans should go into the final day's TT well placed and confident that he can outpace his rivals over what will be a short but hectic 9.3 km test against the clock.

The top six GC places after stage five stand as follows -

1st – Cadel Evans
2nd – Ivan Basso @ 02''
3rd – Damiano Cunego @ 03''
4th – Michele Scarponi @ 05''
5th – Robert Gesink @ 05''
6th – Vincenzo Nibali @ 12''

    Meanwhile, over in France, Paris-Nice concluded without any further influence from its Antipodean entrants. Michael Rogers remained our highest placed finisher, ending the race in 12th position, a little over two and a half minutes behind eventual winner, Tony Martin.

by Sean Q Lee

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Strong finish by Evans at Tirreno-Adriatico

  Veteran Australian cyclist, Cadel Evans, proved he is still a force to be reckoned with by finishing a strong third on yesterday's monster 240 km fourth stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. Riding conservatively on the final two kilometre climb to the finish line, the BMC rider managed to close the gap on those who had attacked more ambitiously, to lose just two seconds to eventual stage winner Michele Scarponi.

Scarponi's Lampre ISD team mate Damiano Cunego, worked brilliantly to assist Scarponi in the closing stages and was rewarded with second place for his efforts.

The trio beat home a strong final selection of race favourites including Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, overall leader Robert Gesink, Rinaldo Nocentini, Vincenzo Nibali, Thomas Lovkvist and Phillipe Gilbert.

Evans, who will be on a limited race program until the Tour de France in July, will be pleased with his early season form. He now sits second on general classification, ten seconds behind Gesink. Ivan Basso is a further two seconds back in third.

In other racing news, the Aussies and Kiwis failed to influence a wet stage seven of Paris-Nice. Heinrich Haussler crashed three times in the atrocious weather, once into a wall, after being well positioned earlier on. Michael Rogers is the highest ranked of the Antipodean cyclists, sitting in 12th position on general classification, 2'39'' behind race leader, Tony Martin.

by Sean Q Lee

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Porte shows time trial speed at Paris-Nice

  Australia's Ritchie Porte has finished third in the stage six time trial at Paris-Nice. The Saxo Bank-Sungard rider completed the 27 kilometre course in 33'53'', a credible 29 seconds behind HTC-Highroad's TT specialist Tony Martin and just nine seconds behind Sky's Bradley Wiggens.

Michael Rogers, once almost unbeatable against the clock but now focused on other endeavours, could only manage 22nd place, some 1'58'' behind Martin.

Porte is now the highest ranked Australian on general classification, sitting in 12th place at 2'05'' while Rogers is 13th at 2'17''. Martin has taken over race leadership with Andreas Kloden second and Wiggens third.

Meanwhile at Tirreno-Adriatico, HTC-Highroad's Mark Renshaw and RadioShack's Robbie McEwen have finished fifth and sixth respectively in the bunch sprint that ended stage three. Renshaw, sitting eleventh on general classification trails race leader Tyler Farrer by 18 seconds.

by Sean Q Lee

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Michael Rogers climbs GC at Paris-Nice

  After dominating the first four stages of Paris-Nice, our Antipodean riders had a quieter stage five. While a change in terrain has seen the likes of Matthew Goss, Greg Henderson and Heinrich Haussler assume different roles within their teams and slip out of overall contention, it has also seen Michael Rogers gain some ground on general classification.

The Team Sky rider was in the second group to cross the finish line, 19 seconds behind winner Andreas Kloden. He has moved up to 16th on GC to be the highest ranked of the Aussie and Kiwi riders, 29 seconds behind Kloden who has also taken the overall lead.

Meanwhile across in Italy, HTC-Highroad sprinter Mark Renshaw has finished fourth in stage two of Tirreno-Adriatico. He now sits in 11th place overall, 11 seconds behind race leader Tyler Farrer.

by Sean Q Lee

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Stomach cramps hinder Goss at Paris-Nice

A disappointed Matthew Goss was hindered in his defence of the leader's jersey at Paris-Nice after suffering stomach cramps and being unable to eat during stage four of the French race.

The Tasmanian sprinter crossed the line at the back of the bunch and has lost the race lead to Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt who rode brilliantly as a part of a four man breakaway to cross the line in third place some 13 seconds ahead of the peloton.

Australia's Heinrich Haussler again proved he is one of the strongest riders in race by outsprinting his rivals to be the first of the peloton across the line (fifth place).

he stage was won by popular French rider Thomas Voeckler with countryman Remi Pauriol second and De Gendt third.

In overall standings, Matthew Goss is still the highest ranked Antipodean cyclist sitting 21 seconds behind De Gendt in fourth place, with Haussler sixth at 27 seconds. New Zealander Greg Henderson has slumped out of the top ten and is now over 13 minutes behind the race leader.

by Sean Q Lee

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Aussies shine on La Course Au Soleil

Australia's domination of early season races continued in stage three of Paris-Nice with Matt Goss and Heinrich Haussler coming home first and second in the French race.

Goss and Haussler have had brilliant starts to their 2011 campaigns and continue to achieve results for their respective teams.

Goss, who was second to Kiwi Greg Henderson on stage two, went one better last night, weaving his way around fallen riders to cross the finish line and claim his seventh win for the season. Haussler, caught behind Henderson towards the end of the sprint, lamented his tactical error and had to be satisfied with second, while the New Zealander recorded another top ten placing finishing sixth.

The win takes Goss to the top of the general classification table, giving him a two second advantage over former race leader Thomas De Gendt. Haussler and Henderson sit third and fourth overall, six seconds behind Goss.

Haussler, Henderson and Goss also sit first, second and third on the points table while Goss leads the best young rider classification.

by Sean Q Lee

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Henderson triumphs in Paris-Nice

Kiwi Greg Henderson has narrowly beaten Aussie Matt Goss in a high speed bunch sprint to end stage two of Paris-Nice.

While the HTC-Highroad lead out train looked to have set Goss up perfectly for his final sprint to the line, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas upset the Tasmanian's apple cart by catapulting Henderson to the front of the pack.

Despite a huge effort from Goss in the fast, hectic but clean sprint to the line, Henderson managed to hold on by a wheel length to claim victory in what was a memorable stage.

Heinrich Haussler, who was third in yesterday's opening stage managed fourth after clawing his way back to the peloton after being caught up in what was one of several crashes earlier in the race.

Henderson now sits second on the general classification, just four seconds behind race leader Thomas De Gendt. Goss is fourth overall at eight seconds, while Haussler is sixth at ten seconds.

Henderson has indicated that he would like to take the leader's jersey before shifting his focus later in the week to helping team leaders Mick Rogers and Bradley Wiggens in the hills.

By Sean Q Lee

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Jesse Sergent takes GC in Belgian Race

  RadioShack's Kiwi rider Jesse Sergent, in just his first season at ProTour level, has claimed overall victory at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen in Belgium. The win, set up by a blistering time trial performance on day one of the three day race, gave RadioShack a clean sweep of the podium positions with team mates Sebastien Rosseler and Michal Kwiatkowski filling the minor placings.

Sergent, who has held the leader's jersey since day one, was a part of a large break that formed less than 30 km into the final stage. He crossed the finishing line safely ensconced in the group to take a much deserved overall victory.

by Sean Q Lee

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Haussler continues good form in France

  Australia's Heinrich Haussler is off to a good start at Paris-Nice, finishing third in stage one of the French race as the peloton partially caught a three man breakaway right on the line. Jens Voigt, Jeremy Roy and Thomas De Gendt managed to get a break over the main group late in the race, and although their lead never extended out to more than a minute, the peloton nearly destroyed itself attempting to bring them back.

De Gendt and Roy just managed to hold on to claim first and second, while Voigt, was swallowed by the chasers, led by Haussler who snuck in for third. New Zealand rider Greg Henderson came in fifth.

by Sean Q Lee

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Jesse Sergent holds lead in Belgium

  New Zealand's Jesse Sergent will spend a third day in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen leader's jersey after crossing the line safely in the bunch on day two of the Belgian race. RadioShack team mate and countryman, Sam Bewley remains in third place.

Sergent holds a ten second lead over second placed Belgian rider Sebastien Rosseler (also from RadioShack) and Bewley. The stage was won by HTC-Highroad's John Degenkolb.

by Sean Q Lee

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Matthews, Sergent and Bewley dominate

  Riders from Downunder continue to dominate the European racing scene with world U23 road race champion Michael Matthews finding more success. The first year Rabobank rider lit the afterburners to take out yet another bunch sprint finish in the 178 km first stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia in Spain.

While Matthews acknowledges the magnificent support that he gets from his team mates (and they were especially good leading him out this time around), Rabobank must be rubbing their hands together with glee as the man they call 'Bling' continues to finish off races with speed and skill, rarely wasting the opportunities presented to him.

Meanwhile, over in Belgium, it was the Kiwis teaching the Europeans a lesson. The prologue of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen was dominated by New Zealand riders with Jesse Sergent scorching the 7 km individual time trial in 8' 14'' to take the number one place on the podium. Countryman and RadioShack team mate Sam Bewley finished third, 10 seconds behind Sergent.

by Sean Q Lee

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Chris Sutton wins biggest race of career

Team Sky pulled a leadership swifty in the 64th edition of the Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne cycling classic in Belgium yesterday.

While all eyes were on their usual sprint dynamo, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Australia's Chris Sutton went for broke at 200m to go and managed to hold off the likes of Andre Greipel and Tyler Farrar to record the biggest win of his career.

Brilliantly led from the 500m mark by Boasson Hagen and Juan Antonio Flecha, both of whom raced the day before in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the fresher Sutton didn't let his team mates down.

He hung on in the group sprint to beat FDJ's Yauheni Hutarovich and Omega Pharma Lotto's Greipel to the number one spot on the podium.

by Sean Q Lee

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Matt Hayman on podium in Belgium

Australia's Matt Hayman started off the Belgium cycling season with a solid performance by placing third in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 61 seconds behind Rabobank's Sebastian Langeveld and Sky team mate Juan Antonio Flecha.

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Jesse Sergent ends Algarve on top form

  New Zealand's Jesse Sergent finished the Volta ao Algarve on a high note, completing the 17.2km individual time trial in a credible fourth position, just 27 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin. Martin also claimed overall general classification honours.

Aussies Michael Matthews, Bayden Cooke and Simon Gerrans, all prominent on GC earlier in the race, fell back down the rankings during the time trial. Gerrans was the best placed Aussie, finishing in 11th place overall, 1' 18'' behind Martin.

For details of earlier stages of the Volta see articles below.

by Sean Q Lee

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Michael Matthews in form at Algarve 20/02/2011

Michael Matthews is continuing his good early season form by finishing second to Andre Greipel in stage four of the Volta Ao Algarve in Portugal.

Fellow Australians Allan Davis and Baden Cooke also finished in the top ten of the bunch sprint finish, with Davis crossing the line in fifth place and Cooke in tenth.

Simon Gerrans remains the best placed Australian on general classification, sitting in eighth place, 26 seconds behind race leader Stephen Cummings.

by Sean Q Lee

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Mountain stage at Oman sinks Aussies

Stage four of the Tour of Oman which finished on top of Jabal al Akhdhar has proved to tough for Australia's Matty Goss who has had to hand over his leader's jersey to Rabobank's Robert Gesink.

Gesink, who won the stage ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen and Dries Devenyns, now leads the Middle Eastern race by 44 seconds from Boasson Hagen.

Australia's best place finisher was Heinrich Haussler, who crossed the line in 20th position, while former leader Goss could only manage 32nd, some 6' 10'' behind Gesink.

by Sean Q Lee

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Goss maintains GC lead at Tour of Oman
Matthews and Cooke in form at Algarve 18/02/2011

Matty Goss finished third in stage three of the Tour of Oman yesterday to maintain his overall lead. Rabobank's Theo Bos, aided by Australian Graeme Brown, had the speed to win the bunch sprint ahead of perenial second place getter Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek). In form Garmin Cervelo rider, Heinrich Haussler, crossed the line if fifth place.

Goss, who leads the GC by just two seconds, faces a tough task in tonight's stage which features a tough hill top finish.

In other racing news, Michael Matthews has finished third in stage two of the Volta Ao Algarve (Portugal), in a three man sprint to the line with John Degenkolb and Tyler Farrer. Fellow Australian Bayden Cooke finished fourth, a second behind the leading trio.

The two Australians sit fourth and fifth on GC, ten and 15 seconds behind race leader Phillipe Gilbert.

by Sean Q Lee

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Matt Goss takes win and GC lead at Oman

  HTC Highroad have won yet another sprint, this time at the Tour of Oman. But, as is becoming the norm during these early season races, it wasn't through the agency of Mark Cavendish. Australian Matt Goss, who enjoyed being released from the Cavendish leadout train during the Tour Down Under, has once again profited by being able to ride his own race, winning the tough second stage of the Tour of Oman by beating Daniele Bennati and Edvald Boasson Hagen in a bunch sprint to the line.

The win places Goss in the overall lead of the race, four seconds ahead of Bennati with Boasson Hagen a further two seconds back.

Heinrich Haussler, in such good form at last week's Tour of Qatar was hampered by a crash in the closing stages but still hung on for a credible 11th placed finish, just three seconds behind the leading group.

by Sean Q Lee

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The Home of Aussie and Kiwi Cycling

 Welcome to Downunder Cycling, a cycling news and opinions site that views the pro-peloton from an Australian and New Zealand perspective. We will endeavour to bring you quality writing and up to date news on our antipodean cyclists as they battle the world's best on the biggest stage of all – the ProTour.

We are only new and our content will grow, but we hope that you like what you see and check back often. If you feel that you can contribute then drop us a line. We especially need contributors from New Zealand.

While road cycling at the elite level will be our focus we also welcome articles concerning the other cycling disciplines and women's cycling as well, as long as there is an Australian or New Zealand spin to it.

Preferred article length is no more than 500 words.

Have you snapped a photo of yourself with a pro cyclist? Have you snapped any cycling related photos? Send them in and we'll publish them for all to see.

Right, we are finally up and running, so have a look around, tell your friends about us, save us in your favourites, drop us a line (we love feedback), and enjoy the ride!

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Downunder Cycling news and opinions

Lloyd a potential recruit for GreenEdge

Australia's latest foray into pro-cycling at the highest level, GreenEdge Racing, continues to   attract attention, despite being a team in name only. Smart marketing by the company has seen it have a presence at world tour races from January's season opener at the Tour Down Under to the just completed Giro d'Italia.

While it is believed that the power brokers at GreenEdge have a wish list of riders that they would like to sign, officially they are not permitted to make contact with any rider until August. This, of course, hasn't stopped them, or indeed the riders themselves, from making comment about future plans and aspirations.

Cadel Evans, arguably the biggest name in Australian road cycling, has a year to run on his contract with BMC and, while acknowledging that an Australian registered team is long overdue, seems content to stay where he is.

The semi-controversial Matthew Lloyd however is on the lookout for a new home and has began spruiking the possibility of lining up with GreenEdge. The accident prone climber was stood down in mysterious circumstances by Omega Pharma Lotto earlier this year after struggling to recover from a collision with a Melbourne tram. Injuries sustained from this and other mishaps no doubt effected Lloyd's race preparation and this is where the details get hazy. Either Lloyd wasn't presenting himself in best condition for the races his team expected him to compete in, or he was forced to race when he was unfit. Either way, the end result was Lloyd and Omega Pharma Lotto parting company.

As talented as Lloyd is – he was King of the Mountain and a stage winner at last year's Giro – he is somewhat of a different unit. One only has to read transcripts of his interviews or peruse his articles in Australian cycling magazine 'Ride', to see that he dances to the beat of a different drum. This is not a bad thing. In fact it is quite refreshing, as long as the rider concerned remembers that he is a part of a team, not apart from it.

Of more concern to GreenEdge would be the high risk rating the UCI gave him before last year's Tour de France. In a list leaked to French newspaper L'Equipe, Lloyd was ranked eight on a scale of one to ten for suspicion of doping. Fellow Australians Wesley Sulzberger and Michael Rogers also ranked highly with scores of seven. While the UCI was quick to point out that the list was no more than a guide and not proof that high ranking riders were doping, public image is everything in a sport that is battling for credibility after years of doping abuses.

On riding ability alone, Matthew Lloyd is a good fit for GreenEdge. He is Australian, a decent climber and a possible general classification option. In fact late last year it was even touted that he could be Omega Pharma Lotto's protected rider for this year's Giro. The question GreenEdge must ask itself is whether they want the excess baggage that Lloyd may bring to the team.

by Sean Q Lee

Robbie McEwen to ride on in 2012?
Pic: Robbie McEwen at the 2011 Bay Classic in Geelong - Photo By Tracey Lee

There are two things we know about veteran Aussie fast man Robbie McEwen. Apart from being a mighty fine bike rider, he is resilient and loves cycling. We know this because he wouldn't still be cycling otherwise.

At the end of last season the 38 year old Queenslander left his Katusha team and signed with fledgling Australian squad Pegasus. Eager to be a part of Australia's first procycling team, McEwen hoped to squeeze an extra year out of his aging body and overcome the niggling injuries that plagued him during 2010.

However, thoughts of having a successful farewell season wearing Australian colours sooned turned sour and an early retirement seemed imminent as the Pegasus squad crumbled around its star rider's ears. 

A lifeline thrown by Lance Armstrong's Radioshack team on the eve of the new season saved McEwen from fading into cycling obscurity and he instantly repaid his new team by briefly taking the lead in the Tour Down Under. It was a fitting moment in what most would have thought was the sprinter's last appearance in the Australian race.

While it was thought that retirement would coincide with the end of his one year contract with Radioshack, McEwen's love of cycling and desire to end his career riding with an Australian regsitered team, may once again prolong his career for at least one more year.

The formation of GreenEdge Racing, a promising looking Aussie outfit that, unlike Pegasus, appears to have stable financial and management structures in place, is the carrot that might entice McEwen to pull the lycra on for yet another season.

Whether McEwen is on the GreenEdge radar is unknown but the new squad would be doing itself no favours if it chose to ignore the multiple Tour de France stage winner.

While McEwen no longer has the finishing speed to compete head to head with explosive sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, he still finds himself at the pointy end of races when it comes to bunch sprint time. Although he failed to win a stage at last year's Tour, several top five finishes proved that he was still capable of mixing it with the world's top sprinters and influencing race results.

Despite being yet another year older, the experience that he would bring to a new squad like GreenEdge would be priceless. A mentoring role with the opportunity to pass on knowledge to  young cyclists coming up through the system, while still competing himself, would be a valuable resource that the squad would be foolish to squander.

With the collapse of Pegasus, coupled with his disappointment at being snubbed by the selectors for last year's world championships, no one would blame McEwen for becoming disillusioned with the sport. But on the contrary, McEwen's enthusiasm for cycling and his desire for competition remains as strong as ever. The chance of riding for an Australian registered team is only fuelling that desire.

by Sean Q Lee

Aussies under suspicion in leaked paper
Pic (T.Lee) - Mark Renshaw: Rated 'clean' by UCI before 2010 Tour de France

  A leaked list of riders from the 2010 Tour de France showing their 'level of suspicion' with regards to doping has made its way onto the pages of French newspaper L'Equipe. The list, put together by the UCI before last year's Tour, is based on the data contained in each rider's biological passport.

A rating system from zero (no suspicion) to ten (highly suspicious) was applied to each rider and used as a basis for target testing throughout the Tour.

While the majority of riders scored below five (minor suspicion) some big names, including cyclists from Australia, scored higher. Michael Rogers (7), Wesley Sulzberger (7) and Matthew Lloyd (8) would have all been under suspicion and closely watched by the UCI throughout last year's Tour.

Even Cadel Evans, often seen as the poster boy of clean racing rated a four, when most would have thought he was beyond suspicion. While the UCI stop short of saying that high scoring riders are guilty of doping, the abnormalities appearing in their biological passports must be causing some concern.

To be celebrated though was the fact that some of the sport's most dominant figures returned low scores. Fabian Cancellara (0) and Mark Cavendish (2) are capable of producing superhuman efforts and if their biological passports are to be believed, they have achieved their results through hard work and dedication, without the need for artificial assistance. Popular world champion Thor Hushovd (2), former doper and Giro winner Ivan Basso (3) and two time Tour de France runner up Andy Schleck (3) also seem to be in the 'low risk' category. Lance Armstrong (4) produced a stable biological passport while Tour winner Alberto Contador (5) and reformed drug cheat Alexander Vinokourov (5) sat middle of the table. Denis Menchov (9), Carlos Barredo (10) and Yaroslav Popovych (10), who has worked for both Evans and Armstrong, probably have some questions to answer.

The list makes interesting reading and no doubt embarrasses certain riders, whether they are guilty of doping or not. On its own it can not be used as an indication of doping, but it can be used as a guide and allows the UCI to further test riders of suspicion. Chances are this is one of many such lists that are prepared throughout the cycling season by the UCI in its fight against performance enhancing substances and if it helps in even the slightest way to clean up our great sport then it is a worthy practice.

Whether or not the list should have ended up being published in a newspaper is highly debatable.

Antipodean riders on the list and their ratings: 0 – Mark Renshaw, 1 – Julian Dean, Adam Hansen, 2 – Stuart O'Grady, 3 – Robbie McEwen, 4 – Cadel Evans, Luke Roberts, 7 – Michael Rogers, Wesley Sulzberger, 8 – Matthew Lloyd.

by Sean Q Lee

Aussies won't dominate Giro this time
Pic: Last year's best young rider, Richie Porte (photo by Erik van Leeuwen)

  This time a year ago Australian cyclists were about to embark on their most successful grand tour yet. History shows that they dominated the Giro d'Italia taking home every jersey except the general classification, despite the best efforts of Cadel Evans. Matt Lloyd was king of the mountains, Evans won the points classification and Richie Porte was best young rider after spending a few days wearing the leader's jersey. Cadel also spent a day in the lead. Lloyd, Evans and Matt Goss became individual stage winners, with Cadel's win perhaps one of the most hard fought and gruelling of his career. The honours flowed to the Australians on what seemed like a daily basis.

This year's Giro will be different and success for our riders will be harder to come by. Evans, Lloyd and Goss won't be riding and Porte, a late inclusion for Saxobank-Sungard, will spend most of his time protecting his leader Alberto Contador.

Mark Renshaw is a chance in the sprints if Mark Cavendish falters while Graeme Brown and Robbie McEwen are always thereabouts at the pointy end of the bunch sprints. Of the Garmin-Cervelo trio of Aussies, TDU hero Cameron Meyer would be the best chance for individual success as Matthew Wilson and Brett Lancaster will be kept busy with domestique duties. Unfortunately for New Zealand, no Kiwi riders have been selected this year.

by Sean Q Lee

Davis, Evans - Let down by team mates
Pic: GreenEdge racing - influencing the peloton already!

  It has been a messy week for Australian cyclists Allan Davis and Cadel Evans. Both have been let down by the actions of fellow team members and must be extremely disappointed and increasingly frustrated at the situation they find themselves in.

An annoyed Davis, who was in the mix for a couple of late stage victories at last week's Tour of Turkey, has claimed that team management failed to back him in his bid for a win by excluding him from team meetings and issuing the other Astana riders with differing instructions.

Despite being cold shouldered by his own team, Davis still managed to snag two top ten finishes, but has been left lamenting what could have been.

He suspects that the spectre of Australia's new pro-team GreenEdge Racing, is already hanging heavy over the heads of the pro-peloton, despite existing basically in name only. Davis believes that the rumour and innuendo about who will sign with the new squad is influencing the way teams are treating their riders, especially the Australians.

While GreenEdge claim that they won't poach riders contracted to rival teams it would be naïve to think that they haven't already started talking to potential recruits. Although poaching is hardly new to pro-cycling (just ask Saxobank-Sungard), the opportunity for Australian cyclists to race for an Australian registered team will no doubt create its fair share of headaches for rival teams as they head into the transfer period later in the year.

If the failed Pegasus experiment is anything to go by, a mass exodus of star Aussies to GreenEdge would appear unlikely although Davis hints that a significant number may be on the move stating that teams need to exercise a degree of understanding towards their riders and make use of them while they still can!

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans assault on July's Tour de France has hit a small hurdle with BMC suspending potential tour helpers Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio due to the Montovo doping investigation taking place in Italy. Ballan was suspended briefly last year over the same affair and is now facing another stint on the sidelines after more evidence has come to light. The investigation stems from pharmacist Guido Nigrelli's involvement with the Lampre team during 2008 – 2009.

Evans, who craves success at cycling's most famous race, has been stymied in his attempts to become the first Australian winner several times in the past. Crashes, injuries, drug cheats, weak teams and suspended team mates have all conspired to make what is already a difficult race even more difficult. Unfortunately for Cadel, despite his good form, 2011 may be more of the same.

by Sean Q Lee

Counting the wins - How we compare
Pic: Young gun Michael Matthews at the TDU 2011

  In their February edition, English magazine 'Cycle Sport' ranked the 50 greatest riders of all time based purely and simply on the number of victories obtained in major races. Not surprisingly Eddie Merckx topped the tally with 333 victories. With 11 Grand Tours, 19 Classics and three World Championships to his credit, his record towers over even his nearest rivals. His record of 34 Tour de France stage victories even casts a shadow over Tour 'specialist' Lance Armstrong. Armstrong, who made a science out of being 'ready' for the Tour could 'only' manage 22 stage wins.

The Texan's focus on the Tour, especially after his illness, no doubt cost him victories in other races, and his ranking of 33rd overall with 74 wins is perhaps lower than one would have expected. In comparison Tom Boonan is 27th on the list with 96 victories.

But what of the Australians? (Sorry New Zealand, no Kiwis made the list). Coming in just behind Lance at number 38 is the pioneering Phil Anderson with 70 victories. At a time when English was barely spoken in the peloton, the gritty Aussie became the first non-European to wear the Tour's yellow jersey (1981) and the first Australian to win a classic (Amstel Gold 1983). With the passing of time it is easy to forget the impact that Anderson had on professional cycling, but exercises such as this serve to remind us of his prodigious talent. When all is said and done, as it stands at the moment, he is the 38th most winningest professional road cyclist of all time! A fair effort.

Beating that effort and ranked 21st with 109 wins is the enigmatic Robbie McEwen. While sprinters are always going to be favoured in a comparison of wins such as this, compared to his contemporaries only Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel are ahead of him. While Zabel was an outstanding cyclist, Patacchi's record must be viewed with some dubiousness as once again the Italian rider is under investigation for doping.

While Australia is a relative new comer to the pro-peloton, it has quickly established itself as a country to be reckoned with. Two riders on the top 50 list is not a bad effort in what amounts to little more than 25 years of competing regularly against the big boys. But with Australians now dominating the world scene one would expect that a few more names might be joining McEwen and Anderson in the not to distance future.

So who will they be? While Cadel Evans wins his handful of races each year and is arguably our greatest cyclist, he will never make the list. His age and his focus on winning Grand Tours will count against him. The most likely candidates are among the sprinters or those capable of winning one day races.

Matt Goss has age and talent on his side. He has already accumulated a number of wins this year and is too fast and skilled a cyclist to remain Mark Cavendish's lead out man for ever. If this list is recompiled again in 10 years time then I would be very surprised if his name was not on it.

Another of the young guns who has shown that he has an affection for winning is Michael Matthews. The hugely talented U23 world champ has also taken wins this year and performed solidly enough to suggest that he has the racing nouse and instinct to become a force in the sport. He is well on the way to establishing himself already and could very well be giving the all time winners' list a nudge by the time he retires in 10 – 15 years time.

Agree or disagree? Let us know

by Sean Q Lee

Downunder Cycling is BACK!!!!!

  Downunder Cycling is back and looking forward to bringing you all the action for the remainder of the 2011 season. So, since we left you in late March, what have we missed? Basically the entire spring classic season, but as we were still here when Matty Goss claimed his brilliant victory in Milan-San Remo, we haven't missed too much of the Aussie and Kiwi action.

Apart from Michael Matthews expressing himself with another exciting victory at Rund um Koln, things have been a bit quiet. With Belgian rider Phillipe Gilbert selfishly claiming all the victories for himself it has been hard for anyone else to get a look in.

In fact, Gilbert's quartet of wins has, not surprisingly, rocketed him to the top of the UCI rider rankings, with Gossy (who was top of the pack before we went on our break) sliding down to number three. Gilbert has also dragged his country to the number one position, knocking Australia to second position.

But, with the grand tours and other stage races beginning to appear on the calender, start to look for names such as Evans, Henderson, Rogers, Porte, Lloyd and perhaps even Bobridge. And if Cav comes to grief, expect to see Goss and Renshaw take their fair share of sprint victories.

Stay with us for all the news, views and opinions surrounding our Antipodean riders in the pro-peloton. And remember if you wish to contribute to our site or just make comment on one of our articles don't hesitate to drop us a line at

We hope you enjoy the ride.

by Sean Q Lee

UCI rank Goss and Australia number one
Pic: Matt Goss at 2011 Bay Classic (photo by Grant Harper)

  Matthew Goss has been rewarded for his brilliant start to the season by achieving the honour of sitting atop the latest UCI rider rankings. Taking over from countryman Cadel Evans, Goss now sits 85 points clear of second placed Michele Scarponi, while Evans has fallen to third, a further ten points back.

Evans enjoyed a week at the top of the rankings thanks to his big win at Tirreno-Adriatico, before being usurped by Goss, who capitalised on his rampaging form by outfoxing his rivals to snare the first of the big classics, Milan-San Remo.

While Evans has eased himself into racing this year and is only now making his presence felt, Goss has been switched on from the word go, winning stages at the Tour Down Under back in January. Add to this stage wins at Paris-Nice, his victory at Milan-San Remo and success in non WorldTour events such as the Tour of Oman, and the Australian's remarkable form and consistency can be seen.

Goss, so often cast in the role of lead out man for super sprinting team mate Mark Cavendish, has relished being the focal point for his team HTC Highroad. With Cavendish out of form and battling injury and crashes, HTC have been content to let his Australian deputies, Goss and Mark Renshaw, lead the charge.

And lead the charge they have, with Renshaw also proving himself more than a competent sprinter by claiming overall victory at the Tour of Qatar after an epic battle with Garmin-Cervelo's Aussie rider, Heinrich Haussler.

But HTC Highroad aren't the only ones to benefit from the form of Goss and Renshaw. Australia, thanks to Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) winning the Tour Down Under and the continual good form of Goss, Renshaw, Haussler and Rabobank's young gun Michael Matthews among others, have been the number one ranked nation in road cycling since the start of the year. With a commanding 136 point lead over second ranked Italy, and Germany a distant third, Australia have finally taken their place amongst the cycling superpowers, currently having three riders ensconced in the top five.

Meanwhile, of the Kiwis, Team Sky's Greg Henderson is their best ranked rider, coming in at 29th, while New Zealand itself is ranked 13th, just one position below the United States.

UCI individual Top 15 (as at 21st March 2011)

1st – Matthew Goss (Australia) 203 points
2nd – Michele Scarponi (Italy) 118
3rd – Cadel Evans (Australia) 108
4th – Tony Martin (Germany) 108
5th – Cameron Meyer (Australia) 106
6th – Andreas Kloden (Germany) 88
7th – Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 86
8th – Phillipe Gilbert (Belgium) 86
9th – Ben Swift (Great Britain) 82
10th – Robert Gesink (Netherlands) 80
11th – Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)74
12th – Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) 71
13th – Michael Matthews (Australia) 70
14th – Ivan Basso (Italy) 62
15th – Alessandro Ballan (Italy) 60

by Sean Q Lee

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Michael Rogers, the shorter stage racer!

  Australian cyclist Michael Rogers will go into next week's Paris-Nice stage race as one of the favourites. The Team Sky rider, along with team mate Bradley Wiggins, will be vying strongly for overall honours. But for Rogers, it is a favouritism that stems from the disappointment of four years ago when he crashed out of the world's most famous cycling event.

'Dodger' had begun stage eight of the 2007 Tour de France 4' 03'' behind race leader Linus Gerdemann. The Australian had already achieved fame by winning three world time trial championships (2003 – 2005), but had sacrificed some of his power in a bid to improve his climbing and become a notable stage racer, his focus being to capture one of the Grand Tours, the Tour de France in particular.

By the halfway mark of stage eight the narrow French roads had began to twist their way through the mountains and Rogers found himself with a group of riders who had broken away from the chasing peleton. More than that, he had whittled down the four minute deficit to Gerdemann and had become the 'virtual' leader of the Tour himself.

For cycling fans in Australia, it was bliss. As well as Rogers, there was Cadel Evans and Stuart O'Grady to support. Evans was team leader at Predictor Lotto and a hot favourite to take out the event after finishing top ten in the previous two editions, while the evergreen O'Grady was putting in his usual hard working efforts, fresh from his historic victory at the toughest of all classics, Paris-Roubaix.

But the bliss was to be short lived. O'Grady crashed at high speed suffering life threatening injuries and had to be airlifted off the mountain while only moments later Rogers himself, had slid into a roadside barrier after having his wheels swept out from under him on an overcooked corner during a steep descent.

A shaky Rogers remounted his bike, but his shoulder, which had taken the brunt of the impact, was shattered. He manfully battled on, hoping against hope that the injury wasn't as bad as it seemed, but the TV pictures being beamed back to Australia were heartbreaking as a distraught and broken Rogers finally dismounted his bike in tears and slumped inconsolably into the back of his team's support vehicle. The dream was over.

While Evans went on to claim second place in a drug affected final result, Rogers looked to the future but was unable to recapture the form or fitness that had seen him briefly lead the Tour in 2007.

Continually knocked down by illness and injury over the following two years, it wasn't until 2009 that the frustrated Rogers was able to regain the type of conditioning in his legs that would enable him to again be competitive in major races. Solid overall performances at the Giro d'Italia and Tour of California proved that the popular Australian was back on track, but was he once again ready to seriously threaten the leaders at a three week Grand Tour?

After a difficult Tour de France in 2010, the answer from the man himself was a resounding no. But it was not through a loss of motivation or unwillingness to put in the hard work that Rogers answered thus. Rather, strong overall wins in shorter one week stage races such as the Tour of California and Vuelta a Andalucia have seen Rogers change his priorities.  

While he will always be haunted by the 2007 Tour, he is not one to sit back and say 'what if'. Instead his main focus now will be on winning shorter stage races, something that a rider of his all round ability is made for. He can still beat out a powerful and rhythmic time trial as proved in last year's tour of California, and is still comfortable on most climbs.

And now, as the European season kicks off, and the first of the major stage races approach, Michael Rogers will once again be able to showcase his true talents, albeit over one week rather than three.

by Sean Q Lee

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Kiwis want ProTeam by 2015
Introducing Pure Black Racing!

  While Australia's much heralded GreenEDGE racing works towards securing a ProTeam licence for 2012, New Zealand's Pure Black Racing is quietly putting together its plans to follow similar ambitions, with its ultimate goal of being included in the World Tour and riding the Tour de France by 2015.

Having sporned from the highly successful Team Bici Vida, Pure Black Racing made its official debut at New Zealand's Tour of Southland last November, being conspicuous in the breakaways and spirited in their approach to racing. A green points jersey to Roman van Ulden was a fitting prize for their first up effort.

Kiwi entrepreneur Carl Williams, a man more famous in sailing circles than cycling, is the driving force and chief backer of Pure Black Racing. The man who helped New Zealand win not just one, but two, America's Cups, knows about sport and big business. He would have watched with interest as Australia's Pegasus Racing project flared to life and then died as a combination of sponsorship and management issues brought the team undone. It is unlikely that he will make the same mistakes and how ever ambitious the project may be - and let there be no doubt that it is ambitious - Williams will be working his hardest to provide his team with the best chance of success.

While the current roster of riders is hardly earth shattering, with perhaps only one or two names barely recognised outside of the Shaky Isles, the developing talent within the squad is obvious. Invitations to quality events are assured as the UCI already rate them as the number one team in Oceania, ahead of Australian outfits Genesys Wealth Advisors and Drapac, and with the team about to embark on a campaign on the US continental circuit, the riders will soon lose their anonymity.

How the new team will fare in the US is yet to be known, but as with all of New Zealand's sporting teams they will punch above their weight and prove to be a thorn in the side of the more established squads. Underestimating them will be an opposition's biggest mistake.

But Pure Black Racing want to be so much more than just a thorn in the side. They want to be recognised as world class in their own right.

So will the team achieve its ultimate goal and have a ProTeam compete at the 2015 Tour de France? Plenty of others have tried and failed, but for such a small nation to already have such an influence on the pro-peloton through the likes of Greg Henderson, Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean, all world class riders, anything is possible.

So while the fanfare sounds on the 'west' island for the rise and fall of teams such as Pegasus and GreenEDGE, the Kiwis will continue to go quietly about their business, watching, taking notes, planning, patiently waiting for the day when they will shock the world with their audacity and skill, and perhaps steal the march on their overconfident rivals.

By Sean Q Lee

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Renshaw takes final GC in Qatar

  HTC Columbia's Mark Renshaw has stepped out of the shadow of team mate Mark Cavendish by taking overall honours in the tenth Tour of Qatar.

Starting the fifth and final stage with an eight second lead over fellow Australian Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Cervelo), Renshaw left nothing to chance by picking up time bonuses during the intermediate sprints to further solidify his position on top of the general classification.

The event, which has been dominated by Haussler and Renshaw, ended in a messy bunch finish. While neither rider was able to add yet another podium finish to their impressive race resume, both did enough in crossing the line with the group to hold their GC positions.

Italian rider Andrea Guardini claimed victory ahead of countryman Francesco Chicchi (who won the corresponding stage last year) and Rabobank's Theo Bos.

But the event as a whole belonged to the Australians. Both Renshaw and Haussler produced solid time trials on the opening day's prologue, before taking charge of the subsequent road stages, Haussler snaring two firsts and a second while Renshaw got to stand on all the podium positions finishing with a first, second and third.

The duo also finished first and second in the sprint classification, Haussler accruing 52 points to Renshaw's 46. Young Aussie Simon Clarke, riding for Astana, managed an impressive fourth placing in the best young rider classification.

While Mark Cavendish will remain the undisputed sprint leader of HTC Highroad, the team knows it has the flexibility to change things around should Cavendish come to grief or suffer from poor form as shown here with Renshaw and last month at the Tour Downunder with Matt Goss.

Both Australians have speed to burn and are talented sprinters in their own right. They have relished being released from their usual lead out duties and have repaid HTC with excellent results.

Australian results (no New Zealanders competing)

Stage 5                                                   Final GC

9th – Heinrich Haussler @ ST            1st – Renshaw
17th – Mark Renshaw @ ST                2nd – Haussler @ 0' 08''
36th – Graeme Brown @ ST              13th – O'Grady @ 4' 39''
90th – Simon Clarke @ 0' 41''            24th – Clarke @ 8' 10''
91st – Stuart O'Grady @ 0' 41''           27th – Brown @ 9' 09''
105th – Travis Meyer @ 1' 16''            68th – Meyer @ 47' 57''

by Sean Q Lee

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Renshaw takes gold leader's jersey

The battle for dominance in the Tour of Qatar between HTC Highroad's Mark Renshaw and Garmin Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler continued in yesterday's stage four.

This time it was Renshaw's moment under the middle eastern sun, outsprinting Daniele Bennati and Tom Boonan to take victory and more importantly, maximum time bonuses.

Haussler, defending the gold jersey for the first time, looked tentative in the final stages of the sprint, seeming more content to try and shut down attacks rather than create his own opportunities. Whether the weight of defending the jersey got to Haussler or he was just not on top of his form is now irrelevant. His fourth placing saw him miss out on any time bonuses and lose the leader's jersey to Renshaw who timed his sprint to the line perfectly, winning comfortably by half a bike length.

With one stage left to ride in what has been an event dominated by Australian riders, HTC Highroad will be riding wholeheartedly for Renshaw tonight. The acclaimed leadout man for Mark Cavendish finally has a chance to break out of his team mate's shadow and  show the cycling world that he is a talented sprinter in his own right.

Australian results stage 4 - (No kiwis in this event)
Stage 4

1st - Mark Renshaw                                            1st - Renshaw
4th - Heinrich Haussler @ ST                            2nd - Haussler @ 0' 06'
25th - Stuart O'Grady @ 0' 19''                            14th - O'Grady @ 3' 56''
43rd - Travis Meyer @ 0' 43''                               24th - Clarke @ 7' 27''
47th - Simon Clarke @ 1' 31''                             28th - Brown @ 9' 07''
81st - Graeme Brown @ 4' 44''                           64th - Meyer @ 46' 39''

by Sean Q Lee

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Haussler takes 2 in row and heads GC

The Aussie domination of Qatar continued in stage three as Garmin-Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler and HTC Highroad's Mark Renshaw did one better than their 2nd and 3rd place finishes in stage one.

This time the in form Aussie duo crossed the line in first and second place, with Haussler having enough kick left to ride around Renshaw in the closing stages of the sprint, to not only claim victory, but also the overall leader's jersey.

Renshaw's effort was also enough to propel him back into second place overall, as previous race leader, Quickstep's Tom Boonan, suffered an unfortunate puncture and was unable to bridge the gap back to the leading group in the windy conditions.

But it was to be a day animated by the Australian's, starting with Astana's Simon Clarke, who broke away in the final kilometres to make a brave dash for the line. He was soon reeled in, but his attempt accelerated the efforts of the other teams and set up what was a memorable finish for the cyclists from Down Under.

Stage 3 - Australian Results (no Kiwis racing in this event)
Stage 3
1st - Heinrich Haussler                            1st - Haussler
2nd - Mark Renshaw @ ST                      2nd - Renshaw @ 0' 04''
20th - Simon Clarke @ 0' 19''                   15th - O'Grady @ 3' 31''
37th - Graeme Brown @ 3' 02''                16th - Brown @ 4' 17''
44th - Stuart O'Grady @ 3' 02''                  23rd - Clarke @ 5' 50''
112th - Travis Meyer @ 32' 50''                73rd - Meyer @ 45' 50''
DNF - Jack Bobridge

by Sean Q Lee

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Haussler triumphs in Qatar

  Garmin Cervelo's Heinrich Haussler continued his good early season form by winning stage two of the Tour of Qatar yesterday. Despite being squeezed into the barriers during the final metres of the sprint to the line, Haussler courageously maintained his momentum and scraped through an impossibly small gap to take victory by less than half a wheel from Leopard Trek's Daniele Bennati and Katusha's Denis Galimzyanov.

Haussler's victory, coupled with his second placing in stage one and a solid time trial in the prologue, has pushed him into second place on the general classification, leaving him just one second behind race leader, Tom Boonan.

Fellow Aussie, HTC Highroad's Mark Renshaw, could only manage 14th and has dropped to third overall, a further three seconds back from Haussler.

How the Aussie's faired (No Kiwis competing in this event)
Stage 2                                                    GC
1st – Heinrich Haussler                     2nd – Haussler @ 0' 01''
14th – Mark Renshaw @ ST              3rd – Renshaw @ 0' 04''
39th – Stuart O'Grady @ ST              12th – O'Grady @ 0' 20''
67th – Simon Clarke @ ST                 16th – Brown @ 0' 46''
82nd – Graeme Brown @ ST             30th – Clarke @ 5' 22''
96th – Travis Meyer @ ST                     63rd – Meyer @ 12' 51''
117th – Jack Bobridge @ 1' 42''          91st – Bobridge @ 14' 26''

by Sean Q Lee

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Renshaw second overall at Tour of Qatar

  Mark Renshaw has moved up to second place overall in the Tour of Qatar after a strong showing in today's stage.

Buffeted badly in the sprint to the line, the Aussie sprinter managed to maintain his composure to cross the line in third place behind fellow Australian Heinrich Haussler and Tour of Qatar specialist Tom Boonan.

Pushing hard into a headwind, Boonan jumped early and was never headed, crossing the line a good two bike lengths ahead of the chasing Australians.

Earlier in the race, the peloton was split by strong crosswinds, with Renshaw, Haussler and two other Australians in Graeme Brown and Stuart O'Grady making the break. Classics strong man Fabian Cancellara also made the split, but had no answer to the powerhouse sprint of Boonan. Yesterday's race leader, Lars Boom, suffering from a stomach complaint, finished well back, conceding almost five minutes to Boonan who has now taken over race leadership.

How the Aussies faired (no Kiwis in this race)
2nd - Heinrich Haussler @ 0''         2nd - Mark Renshaw @ 0' 04''
                                                               5th - Heinrich Haussler @ 0' 11''
3rd - Mark Renshaw @ 0''                20th - Stuart O'Grady @ 0' 20''
5th - Graeme Brown @ 0''                16th - Graeme Brown @ 0' 46''
10th - Stuart O'Grady @ 0''                32nd - Simon Clarke @ 5' 22''
36th - Simon Clarke @ 5'01''            46th - Jack Bobridge @ 12' 44''
91st - Jack Bobridge @ 12'30''        69th - Travis Meyer @ 12' 51''
95th - Travis Meyer @ 12'30''           

DNS - Wesley Sulzberger

by Sean Q Lee

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Cavendish crash gives Renshaw a chance

  A crash by HTC Highroad's Mark Cavendish in the prologue of the Tour of Qatar is a blessing in disguise for his Australian team mate Mark Renshaw.

Cavendish, who crashed within 700 metres of the finish of yesterday's two kilometre individual time trial, lost over a minute in time to the rest of the field effectively ruling him out of contention for overall victory at the Middle Eastern event.

With no chance of making up the lost time in what is essentially a sprinters' race, Cavendish, while still capable of taking stage wins, may find himself working for Renshaw who sits just nine seconds behind race leader Lars Boom.

Boom made light of the short, technical course, using his cyclo-cross experience to conquer the sandy paving stones and tight bends to finish four seconds ahead of time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara. Tom Boonan, who has made the Tour of Qatar his own in recent years, is well placed at six seconds back and will be looking to add to his already impressive collection of stage wins for this event.

But Australian eyes will be on Renshaw. The renowned lead out man now has the perfect opportunity to showcase his own speed and if it is overall victory that HTC Highroad desire, than the Aussie should now become their protected rider.

It is a situation that mirrors last month's Tour Down Under where an injured and out of form Cavendish left team leadership duties to Matty Goss, who but for some unfortunate luck with crashes and punctures, could have walked away with the general classification.

Stage One - Australian results (no New Zealand riders in event)

12th Mark Renshaw @ 9''
13th Jack Bobridge @ 10''
37th Heinrich Haussler @ 14''
53rd Stuart O'Grady @ 16''
66th Travis Meyer @ 17''
71st Simon Clarke @ 17''
115th Wesley Sulzberger @ 25''
125th Graeme Brown @ 42''

by Sean Q Lee

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Tour Down Under review

  Despite two stage wins by Brit Ben Swift, the Tour Down Under was dominated by Australian riders, with Cameron Meyer holding off the more fancied sprinters to take overall victory in the UCI's first World Tour event of 2011.

While the race was being promoted as a sprinters' shoot out, the much publicised duel between Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Tyler Farrer failed to materialise. The racing however was entertaining, with intrigue being held until the end and Meyer's victory not being confirmed until the very last sprint on the closing stage.

The Australians dominated their home event from the start with Mark Renshaw launching Matty Goss to victory in stage one ahead of last year's winner Greipel and Radioshack 'recruit' Robbie McEwen.

It was McEwen who became the hero a day later when he picked his way through the carnage of three nasty crashes to finish second behind Britain's Ben Swift and steal away the leader's ochre jersey from Goss who had been caught up in the falls.

While he was unable to contest the sprint, Goss fell to second overall, but became the undoubted leader of HTC Highroad as Cavendish crashed heavily and needed to be stitched. The Manx missile struggled his way painfully through the remainder of the tour but, disappointingly, was never a serious contender for a stage win thereafter. The most serious injury of the day was a broken collarbone to Tasmanian rider Bernie Sulzberger who had to withdraw from the race.

While stage three saw Matty Goss regain the leader's jersey, the day really belonged to under 23 world road race champion Michael Matthews. Matthews found himself Rabobank's protected rider after the team's usual leader, Graeme Brown, was held up by a crash in the latter stages of the race. Despite struggling in the final kilometres, Matthews found his second wind and held off the ever present Greipel and Goss on a difficult up hill finish to claim a most impressive victory.

A five man breakaway on the roads to Strathalbyn helped Cameron Meyer claim both the stage four win and the general classification. The break worked well together in windy conditions and stayed away for 80 kilometres despite the best efforts of the sprinters' teams who couldn't reel them in. Meyer crossed the finish line 24 seconds ahead of the peloton which was enough to propel him to the top of the overall table and give him and his team a 10 second buffer to defend with two stages remaining.

And defend it they did. With enormous crowds lining the roads and an atmosphere worthy of the bigger European races, Meyer's Garmin-Cervelo teammates protected his lead during the early parts of stage five by preventing his rivals from taking the intermediate sprint points and their resultant time bonuses before the climb over Willunga Hill split the peloton in two.

The sprint to the line featured Michael Matthews and Matty Goss, but both were beaten by Spanish rider Francisco Ventoso. Matthews picked up second place while Goss took third and clawed back some valuable time on Meyer, to sit just eight seconds behind on GC.

With Matty Goss determined to gain time bonuses and Garmin-Cervelo equally keen to defend them, the final street circuit stage in Adelaide was raced at a cracking pace. While Goss again made the podium, his third placing was not enough to peg back Meyer who took out the final general classification by a mere two seconds.

But the stage belonged to Team Sky with Ben Swift sprinting to his second stage win of the event and team mate Greg Henderson finishing in second place. Swift's win propelled him to third place on GC, just eight seconds behind Meyer and six behind Goss.

Goss also won the final sprint classification from Michael Matthews while Luke Roberts dominated the King of the Mountain event finishing 24 points ahead of his nearest rival.

Sean Q Lee

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Amber Halliday injured in horrific crash

Australia's Amber Halliday is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering head injuries in a crash during Adelaide's Rendition Homes- Santos women's cup race on Monday.

With bleeding and bruising to the brain and multiple facial fractures, Halliday is in a stable, but delicate condition

It is believed that Halliday lost consciousness after clipping the wheels of another rider and falling, hitting her head.

The former national time trial holder has our best wishes for a speedy recovery. 

McEwen takes overall lead, Goss Crashes

  Stage two of the Tour Down Under will be remembered more for its crashes than for the brilliant win of Brit Ben Swift. With three crashes in the closing stages of the race bringing down key riders including Mark Cavendish and race leader Matthew Goss, Swift was able to reel in veteran sprinter Robbie McEwen who had jumped early, and cross the line in first place.

McEwen's second placing was enough to give him the overall lead, a position that the popular Aussie must have believed impossible a month ago when he was teamless after the collapse of Pegasus Racing.

Graeme Brown finished third despite being slowed by the first of the crashes and having to work his way back through the group.

Swift's win has brought him to third overall while Goss, unable to contest the sprint due to his accident, has dropped to second overall.

Riders involved in the crashes, which may have been caused by loose gravel on the roads, include Chris Sutton, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Cavendish and Goss (HTC Highroad), Cameron and Travis Meyer, Tyler Farrar (Garmin Cervelo), Bernie Sulzberger (UniSA), Pieter Weening (Rabobank), David Tanner (Saxobank Sungard) and Simon Clarke (Astana).

Sulzberger was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone while Cavendish, Sutton and Thomas, among others, had their various wounds stitched.

In the battle for the other jerseys, Mitch Docker was again active picking up some sprint points as well as maximum King of the Mountain points. He now leads the sprint classification ahead of McEwen and sits second on the King of the Mountain table behind Luke Roberts.

Sean Q Lee

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Matt Goss - The wins keep coming!

  The highly anticipated battle between Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish failed to eventuate today as Australian Matthew Goss continued his excellent early season form by claiming stage one of the Tour Down Under.

Compatriot and team mate, Mark Renshaw, once again played the role of lead out man to perfection in what was a messy dash for the line, allowing Goss to power up the slight uphill straight to finish ahead of last year's overall winner Greipel and veteran Aussie speedster Robbie McEwen.

The win by Goss, which now virtually assures him of team leadership at HTC, elevates him to favouritism for the event, especially as the team's sprinting superstar, Mark Cavendish, crossed the line in 62nd place and will now use the race as a means of getting some extra kilometres into his legs.

Team Sky, who along with HTC, were the best organised of the teams coming into the sprint, managed a fourth place through Chris Sutton, but were hoping for more from Greg Henderson. The Kiwi, however, was still feeling the effects of his crash two nights ago at the Cancer Council Classic in Adelaide and was unable to produce his usual power in the sprint for the line.

Aussies Mitch Docker and Simon Clark picked up early sprint points by being a part of a breakaway that stayed away for the greater part of the race while Luke Roberts picked up maximum points on the only climb of the day to lead the King of the Mountain category.

by Sean Q Lee

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GreenEdge aim for ProTeam status 2012

  Rising like a phoenix from the scattered ashes of the Pegasus pro-cycling disaster comes GreenEDGE, the latest attempt to raise a professional Australian cycling team.

The brainchild of Jayco Caravan boss Gerry Ryan, GreenEdge hopes to have a team in place for a 2012 assault on world cycling.

As with the failed Pegasus project, their goal is to gain a ProTeam licence and have a predominately Australian roster compete alongside the world's best at the top tier of the sport. Unlike Pegasus, GreenEDGE appears to have the financial backing to be able to achieve such a goal and the expertise behind the scenes to ensure a stable and professional management model.

Gerry Ryan is an astute business man who has backed Australian cycling for many years. His successful sponsorship of both races and riders is well known and his guarantee to GreenEDGE of $40 million over the next three years is not just some grandiose comment aimed at attracting media attention.

The appointment of former Cycling Australia high performance manager, Shayne Bannan, further underlines the seriousness of the GreenEDGE bid for ProTeam status.

While other teams have already expressed concern that young Australian riders on their rosters may be poached by the new outfit, GreenEDGE management have offered assurances that only uncontracted riders will be approached. Having said that, names such as Richie Porte and the Meyer brothers have already been linked to the new team and must be extremely attractive propositions for the fledgling squad.

While many riders were burnt by Pegasus, and some may look at this new attempt for an Australian team with trepidation, they should have little trouble attracting quality riders to their roster. With Ryan and Bannan at the helm and the financial resources to match the other ProTeams, the squad is off to a good start and looks set to avoid the mistakes made by Pegasus. The chance to finally ride for an Australian team at the Tour de France and other major races must be a huge temptation for all Aussie riders on the pro-circuit, contracted or not.

by Sean Q Lee

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Goss, not Cav, leads HTC to victory

  HTC Highroad claimed its first victory of the season in last night's Cancer Council Classic in Adelaide, but it wasn't Mark Cavendish that brought them glory. The Manx Missile was out of contention after being slowed by a crash on the final turn leaving his Australian lead out men, Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss, at the head of the race coming into the finishing straight.

Renshaw, as he has so often done before, led out beautifully, this time protecting and positioning Goss for the final assault. Goss didn't let him down and once again proved that he has the speed to be a successful sprinter in his own right. The evergreen Robbie McEwen, in his first race for Lance Armstrong's Radioshack team, picked up third place behind Goss and Renshaw, to complete an Australian trifecta.

Within a lap of the race starting young UniSA rider, Luke Durbridge, broke away with five others, taking early sprint points and ensuring good television time. He remained at the front as his group dwindled to three, and put in a final attack before eventually being swallowed by the peloton in the dying stages of the race.

The racing was fast and furious as the various lead out trains began jostling for position with HTC Highroad and Team Sky looking to be the most organised. With Kiwi Hayden Roulston working hard for HTC on the final lap, all looked set for a Cavendish victory until he was caught behind Sky's Greg Henderson who tangled with the barrier on the final turn.

Stage one of the Tour Down Under begins on Tuesday with a 138 kilometre jaunt from Mawson Lakes to Angaston.

by Sean Q Lee

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Cam Meyer celebrates birthday with TT win

  It was a battle of the young guns at Learmonth today as the Australian national road championship concluded with a toughly fought out time trial. While the course might have been flatter this year, the weather chipped in to make conditions difficult for the riders, most of whom took to the roads in pouring rain.

But the spirit of Cameron Meyer couldn't be dampened and he celebrated his birthday in fine style, by winning back to back national time trial titles. In what proved to be a glimpse into the future of Australian cycling, all three podium positions were filled by riders 23 years of age or under.

Jack Bobridge started strongly but was unable to match Meyer, falling agonisingly short of repeating his 2009 effort of winning the road race/time trial double, albeit at U23 level. The 21 year old South Australian now has a silver medal to add to the gold he won in the road race on Saturday. With his legs still feeling the effects of his solo road race win, Bobridge was 'stoked' to have been so competitive today, stopping the clock just 13 seconds behind Meyer's winning time of 47' 10''.

Completing the podium was U23 world road race champion Michael Matthews. On a new bike and riding the course for the first time, Matthews was aiming for a top ten finish, but explained that he had developed a good tempo after 10 kilometres and went on from there. He finished 21 seconds behind Meyer and just eight seconds behind Bobridge.

In the U23 men's event, Luke Durbridge dominated the field to win by 50 seconds from Michael Hepburn with Jay McCarthy finishing third at 1' 04''.

by Sean Q Lee

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Shara Gillow snares TT win by 3 secs

  Shara Gillow is the Australian women's national time trial title holder after just managing to hold off relative unknown rider, Taryn Heather by just three seconds at Learmonth today. Ruth Corset finished third, 30 seconds behind the leader.

While Gillow has cycling in her blood (her father David represented Zimbabwe at the 1980 Moscow Olympics), Heather is a new comer to the sport, switching to cycling from middle distance running due to injuries.

Lauren Kitchen won the U23 event, ahead of Amy Cure and Carlee Taylor.

by Sean Q Lee

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Hayden Roulston wins 2nd NZ national title

  Hayden Roulston, one of New Zealand's most successful cycling exports, has won his second national road championship. Competing against a stellar field, the HTC rider finished ahead of Greg Henderson and Jeremy Yates.

It was a courageous victory for the popular Kiwi who embarked on a solo chase and made up a five minute deficit on a breakaway group half way through the race. Using his knowledge of the gruelling Dyers Pass climb, Roulston not only clawed his way back into the race but broke away himself with exciting U23 rider Michael Vink.

Roulston went on to claim victory by 29 seconds over Greg Henderson and Jeremy Yates while Vink claimed the U23 title by an impressive 3'49'' from James Williamson, with third place getter James McCoy at 3'50''

Sean Q Lee

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Bobridge brilliant in Buninyong

  Two years ago, Lance Armstrong went on a training ride through the Adelaide Hills with a small group that included Stuart O'Grady. He had chosen the Tour Down Under as his come back race and was acclimatising to the conditions in the days leading up to the event. Also riding in that small training group was a young local kid who, a week later, would go on to launch several audacious attacks and excite onlookers in his first Tour Down Under. While it didn't steal the limelight from Lance, it did make people sit up and take notice.

Fast forward to Buninyong 2011, and the youngster has truly come of age. Jack Bobridge, one of the true rising stars of Australian cycling, went a step further to living up to his undoubted potential, by winning the national road championships in emphatic fashion.

A part of an early breakaway group of 12 riders, Bobridge kept going when others couldn't. As the lead group disintegrated, he maintained his advantage over the peloton and rode the last three laps of the gruelling circuit solo, blasting away the hopes of the chasing groups with a sustained attack up the slopes of Mt. Buninyong.

Helped by team mates Travis and Cameron Meyer who were closing down attacks behind him, Bobridge stretched a 200m lead out to 40 seconds and managed to hold the advantage despite the best efforts of Simon Gerrans who made repeated moves to close the gap.

The ride down the final straight to the finish was one Bobridge was able to savour. With no danger of being beaten he began his celebrations early, soaking up the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoying the biggest win of his career as he coasted to victory 37 seconds ahead of Matthew Goss and Simon Gerrans.

Bobridge, however, is no stranger to the Buninyong circuit. In 2009 he rode to a double victory, winning both the U23 national time trial and the U23 road race championship. For the young South Australian rider to be able to step up to the next level as he did this weekend and perform with the poise and strength required of a pro-cyclist shows his development is heading in the right direction.

But those expecting to see Bobridge make his mark on the Tour Down Under next week will be disappointed. Although he will be a key rider for Garmin Cervelo, he will not be its protected rider. Team leadership will fall to American sprinter Tyler Farrer and Bobridge will become a domestique, a workhorse so to speak, shielding Farrer from the elements and pacing him throughout the race.

This is the way of pro-cycling, but Jack Bobridge's time will come. At just 21 years of age his cycling career is only just beginning. It won't be long before he will have his own domestiques. Nothing is surer.

Sean Q Lee

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Alexis Rhodes - National road champion

  Alexis Rhodes rode the race of her life in hot, humid and windy conditions on Saturday afternoon to become the Australian road race champion for 2011. The 26 year old regards the win as the best of her career and is looking forward to wearing the championship jersey in Europe.

Despite being dropped on the final climb of the day, Rhodes was able to claw her way back into contention and sprint over the top of her rivals, crossing the finish line in Buninyong ahead of Carla Ryan and Joanne Hogan.

It has been an eventful couple of months for the new Australian champion who actually contemplated retirement after not being able to secure a team for 2011. Eventually Garmin-Cervelo came to the rescue, signing Rhodes in November, and renewing her enthusiasm for the sport.

That Rhodes is racing at all is testament to her work ethic and positive attitude. In 2005 she was left fighting for her life with severe back and chest injuries after her training group was hit by a car. Friend and team mate Amy Gillett lost her life in that accident, and the recovery of Rhodes was a long and painful one.

Her national championship victory is much deserved.

In the U23 women's event, Carlee Taylor finished ahead of Sinead Noonen and Lauren Kitchen.

Sean Q Lee

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Ben Dyball Aussie U23 road champ

  A gutsy attack nine kilometres out from the finish of the U23's road race has brought victory to 21 year old Ben Dyball. The rising star crossed the line about 400m ahead of second place getter Nathan Haas, despite cramping badly with 100m to go. Third place went to Joseph Lewis while Sean Boyle claimed the sprint jersey and Geoff Straub was King of the Mountain.

Dyball will spend this season racing in Europe for Italian amateur team Bibanese.

Sean Q Lee

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Cath Cheatley wins NZ road championship

  After feeling terrible early, pre-race favourite and now three time national champion, Cath Cheatley made the difficult conditions work in her favour after breaking away from the field at the half way mark and going solo.

Swirling winds and seven accents of the infamous Dyers Pass road had the cyclists grinding their gears, but they were unable to catch Cheatley who completed the 123 kilometre event in 3h 38' 19''.

She crossed the line1' 13'' ahead of Serena Sheridan with third place getter Rushlee Buchanan a further second behind.

Sean Q Lee

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Wes Gough wins Kiwi TT championship

  January is an exciting time for cycling Down Under. While Australia has some fine events during this time, New Zealand also shines, with their national championships attracting strong fields for each event.

The action kicked off in Christchurch yesterday with Wes Gough winning the 40km time trial at a scintillating speed of just under a kilometre a minute. Favourable conditions saw Gough complete the course in 48'50'' ahead of Jess Sergent (at 28'') and Greg Henderson (at 1'07'')

Gough, who came second in the event last year and shows obvious talent as a time trialler, has no plans of abandoning the track for the road just yet. The accomplished team pursuiter indicated that his prime focus will be the track for the London Olympics.

Jason Christie, Michael Vink and Alex McGregor filled the podium positions in the U23 men while former Olympic rower Sonia Waddell took out the women's event. Waddell, who also partners blind cyclist Jane Parsons on a tandem at world track and road championships, was thrilled to take victory in such a big race after a spate of seconds and thirds. She finished the 25km course in 34'54'', ahead of Jaime Nielson (at 20'') and Alison Shanks (at 33'').

The New Zealand nationals continue this weekend with the road races being held over the challenging Cashmere Hills circuit. Rider's of the calibre of Jack Bauer, Hayden Roulston, Julian Dean, Clinton Avery, Jeremy Yates, Shem Rodger, Westley Gough, Greg Henderson and Jesse Sergent make up a virtual who's who of New Zealand cycling and promise, fast, furious and aggressive racing.

Sean Q Lee

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Julian Dean is Kiwi Cyclist of the year

  Julian Dean is the New Zealand male road cyclist of the year. The Kiwi speedster was a deserving winner of the BikeNZ award after recording multiple podium finishes in both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia despite the sacrifice of being Tyler Farrer's key lead out man.

Newly nationalised New Zealander Linda Villumsen is the female road cyclist of the year after bringing home medals from both the worlds and the Commonwealth Games. The former Danish citizen has obviously settled into her new surrounds and is enjoying her cycling.

Jesse Sergent and Alison Shanks were named the best track cyclists of the year while Sam Webster was named best emerging talent.

Sean Q Lee

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Cantwell first national champ for 2011

Jonathon Cantwell wiped away some of the disappointment brought on by the Pegasus debacle by winning the elite men's national criterium championship in the historic city of Ballarat last night.

Racing around the picturesque Sturt Street circuit in perfect conditions, the beleaguered Pegasus team worked tirelessly to ensure Cantwell had the best opportunity of winning.

An early breakaway by Lachlan Norris and Nicholas Walker looked promising but was brought back to the field after being away for six laps. Other attacks by David Pell and the Meyers brothers, Cameron and Travis, were also short lived.
Robbie McEwen worked hard but was not amongst the final sprint while local rider Pat Shaw was busy throughout the race and was a dedicated worker for his team.

But in the end it was Cantwell, set up brilliantly by Pegasus, who sprinted to victory ahead of Anthony Giacoppo and Stuart Shaw. Joel Pearson crashed heavily in the final sprint, sliding into the barrier in front of the packed Golden City Hotel.

Sean Q Lee

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Goss and Gilmore claim Bay Classic

Matthew Goss proved his superior speed yet again by outsprinting Commonwealth Games gold medalist Allan Davis and U23 world road race champion Michael Matthews to claim his second victory of the Bay Classic criterium series in Williamstown this afternoon.

His victory was also enough to steal the leader's jersey from the back of Matthews who had held the overall lead for the past two stages. Beginning the stage in second place on GC, Goss needed to make up two points on Matthews. His victory gave him a maximum of 12 points while Matthews could only manage eight  points for his third place finish.

Rochelle Gilmore had already wrapped up the GC in the women's event before today's race but was hoping to take home her third victory. Germany's Juditn Arndt spoiled the party however, and Gilmore had to settle for second place. Chloe hosking finished third.

Elite men
Stage 4                                General Classification
1st - Matthew Goss             Matthew Goss (33 pts)
2nd - Allan Davis                 Michael Matthews (31)
3rd - Michael Matthews      Bernie Sulzberger (25)
4th - Chris Sutton                Allan Davis (24)
5th - Bernie Sulzberger     Chris Sutton (21)
6th - Leigh Howard            Greg Henderson (16)
7th - Tom Scully                  Leigh Howard (14)
8th - Jonathon Cantwell     Wesley Sulzberger (13)
9th - Nick Walker                 Simon Gerrans (10)
10th - Matt Hayman            Bayden Cooke (9)

Elite Women
1st - Judith Arndt                Rochelle Gilmore (39 pts)
2nd - Rochelle Gilmore    Judith Arndt (27)
3rd - Chloe Hosking          Kirsty Broun (23)
4th - Kirsty Broun                Peta Mullens (20)
5th - Jess Allen                   Chloe Hosking (18)

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Aussie V Kiwi on day 3 of Bay Classic

It was a case of Australia versus New Zealand on day 3 of the Jayco Bay Classic as Tasmanian Bernie Sulzberger just pipped Kiwi Greg Henderson in a thrilling sprint to the line at Geelong's tight Ritchie Boulevard circuit last night.

Only half a tyre width separated the pair and the judges kept the crowd and riders in suspense for several minutes while they examined the photo finish, before finally announcing Sulzberger the winner.

Henderson and Sulzberger were a part of a four man breakaway that included Sulzberger's brother Wesley who finished third and veteran Bayden Cooke. The quartet dominated much of the race and despite several spirited attempts from the peloton to bridge the gap, especially from New Zealand powerhouse Tom Scully, the leaders could not be caught.

GC leader Michael Matthews managed to hang on to the yellow leader's jersey by outsprinting the peloton to cross the line in fifth position.

In the elite women's event, Rochelle Gilmore won her second stage of the event and has gone out to an unassaillable lead in the overall standings.

 Elite men
Stage 3                                        General Calssification
1st - Bernie Sulzberger            Michael Matthews (23 pts)
2nd - Greg Henderson            Matthew Goss (21)
3rd - Wes Sulzberger                Bernie Sulzberger (19)
4th - Bayden Cooke                Greg Henderson (16)
5th - Michael Matthews            Chris Sutton (14)
6th - Matthew Goss                    Allan Davis(14)
7th - Allan Davis                        Wes Sulzberger (13)
8th - Chris Sutton                    Simon Gerrans (10)
9th - Mark Renshaw                Bayden Cooke (9)
10th - Joel Pearson                Leigh Howard (9)

Elite Women
1st - Rochelle Gilmore            Rochelle Gilmore (29 pts)
2nd - Chloe Hosking                Peta Mullens (17)
3rd - Peta Mullens                    Kirsty Broun (16)

Sean Q Lee

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More success for Matthews in Geelong

Under 23 world champion Michael Matthews has outsprinted Simon Gerrans to claim victory on day two of the Jayco Bay Classics. The pair broke away from the peloton during the hour long criterium race around the Portarlington circuit and could not be headed. The win was enough to give the rising star the overall lead in his first Bay Classic. Joe Lewis from team Urban finished third.

The women's race was marred by an early crash that saw overall contender Belinda Goss leave the series with a suspected broken collarbone. Tiffany Cromwell (Honda) took the victory ahead of Jayco AIS team mates Lauren Kitchen and Alex Carle. Rochelle Gilmore retains her overall lead.

Elite men
Stage 2                                        General Classification
1st - Michael Matthews                    Michael Matthews (17 pts)
2nd - Simon Gerrans                       Matthew Goss (16)
3rd - Joe Lewis                                 Chris Sutton (11)
4th - Bernie Sulzberger                    Simon Gerrans (10)
5th - Greg Henderson                      Allan Davis (10)
6th - Wes Sulzberger                        Leigh Howard (9)
7th - Matthew Goss                            Joe Lewis (8)
8th - Leigh Howard                            Bernie Sulzberger (7)
9th - Allan Davis                                  Graeme Brown (7)
10th - Chris Sutton                            Greg Henderson (6)

Elite women
stage 2                                        General Classification
Tiffany Cromwell                            Rochelle Gilmore (17 pts)
Lauren Kitchen                                Tiffany Cromwell (12)
Alex Carle                                          Laurem Kitchen (10)

Sean Q Lee

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Bay Classic stage 1 to Goss and Gilmore

  A virtual who's who of Australasian cycling kicked off the world's fastest criterium series at Geelong's Eastern Park today. The start list for the 22nd running of the Jayco Bay Classics was littered with names synonymous with quality cycling. Renshaw, McEwen, Porte, Goss, Davis, Henderson, Gerrans, Cooke, Brown and Meyer, among others, reflected the depth of talent on display for the good people of Geelong.

After an ill fated solo breakaway by New Zealand rider Greg Henderson (Team Sky), Matthew Goss, riding for E3/Pure Tasmania, showed why he is one of the most important cogs in Mark Cavendish's lead out train, by sprinting past Team Sky's Chris Sutton to take victory in the bunch sprint that ended stage one.

Commonwealth games hero Allan Davis ( finished in third place, just as he did on his last visit to this city, although on that occasion it was a world championship bronze medal that he collected.

Graeme Brown (Urban) collected enough points to lead the sprint ace category ahead of Team Sky team mates Matthew Hayden and Greg Henderson.

Rochelle Gilmore (Honda) was too strong in the elite women's event, finishing ahead of Belinda Goss (Vetta Pasta) and solo Victorian rider Nicole Whitburn. Peta Mullens (Honda) leads team mate Megan Dunn and Jess Allen (Jayco VIS) in the sprint ace category.

Tomorrow's racing takes place on the gruelling Portarlington circuit.

Elite Men GC

12 pts – Matthew Goss
10 pts – Chris Sutton
8 pts – Allan Davis
7 pts – Graeme Brown
6 pts – Leigh Howard
5 pts – Michael Matthews
4 pts – Mark Renshaw
3 pts – Joel Pearson
2 pts – Bayden Cooke
1 pt - Jonathon Cantwell

Elite Women GC

12 pts – Rochelle Gilmore
10 pts – Belinda Goss
8 pts – Nicole Whitburn
7 pts – Peta Mullens
6 pts – Kirsty Brown
5 pts – Judith Arndt
4 pts – Jessica Allen
3 pts – Sophie Williamson
2 pts – Emy Huntsman
1 pt - Emma Mackie

Sean Q Lee (2/01/2011)

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