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Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under – Stage 2

January 20, 2005 – In most cases, for a professional cyclist, a 150km stage would be considered a mild test of endurance at best. But in mid January, with temperatures in the mid 30 Celsius range, a 150km stage can easily present all the challenges necessary to create a dramatic and difficult event. Add some gusting wind and a few hundred meters of elevation gain, and you have the makings of a quality fitness test.

Today’s 2nd stage of the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under offered all of the above, and the thousands who came out to ride the course and see the finish were not disappointed. A 20 km roll out of the suburban community of Salisbury led to a steady rolling climb that gained about 450 meters elevation in the next 60 km. Anxious to get the party going, a quick attack about 10km in set four riders clear. Navigators Insurance rider David O’Loughlin was joined by former Navigator David McKenzie (United Water), Francaise des Jeux’s youngster Mickael Delage, and Credit Agricole’s Hungarian powerhouse, Laszlo Bodrogi. A steady hard chase by the peloton kept the escapees at 30 seconds for a good 10km, but the four leaders kept the pressure on, and eventually the field released, and the gap shot to over 1 minute. The quartet found a solid rhythm, and the gap grew to nearly 6 minutes before race leader McEwen’s Davitamon-Lotto team ramped up the chasing tempo. By the time the leaders had reached the day’s only KOM at 64 km, the Lotto’s were in full pursuit, and were soon joined by O’Grady’s Cofidis team, and Allan Davis’ Liberty Seguros squad.

The 4 leaders approached the second time bonus sprint at 85 km, and McKenzie won a full on blast to the line, but the effort cost him, and he was soon dropped from the break. The chase closed to under 1 minute before letting up a bit, and the three leaders took advantage and pushed their effort, taking the lead back to 2 minutes. The gap remained constant at 2 minutes until the last 40 km, when the sprinters teams began a serious run to the finish. With the speedsters smelling the barn, and driving their teams to the limit, the gap started to fall rapidly, and finally, the leaders surrendered at the 130km mark.

From here, it was a mad dash to the line, and Queenslander Robbie McEwen brought it home for the second day in a row followed by Panaria’s Paride Grillo, then Davis. For his combating efforts, Navigators Insurance’s David O’Loughlin received the most aggressive rider award, and will don the black Century 21 jersey in place of his Irish champions jersey for tomorrow’s stage.

Stage 2:
1. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon – Lotto)
2. Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria)
3. Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros)

1. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon – Lotto)
2. Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) @ :06
3. Mickael Delage (Francaise Des Jeux) @ :07

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Jacob\’s Creek Tour Down Under – Stage 2

January 21, 2004 – The beautiful ride from Norwood to Kapunda would be a must see for any tourist or bus group visiting the greater Adelaide region of South Australia. For the riders heading out on today's second stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, the scenic cruise was camouflaged by the challenge that the steadily climbing course proposed.

Leaving the Adelaide suburb of Norwood, the peloton began the 30km ascent to Checker Hill by way of Gorge Rd. The beautiful and unique flora and fauna along the gorge climb was a pleasant distraction for many of the riders as the field maintained a comfortable tempo on the lower stages of the climb. Not content to wait for the closing meters of the 158 KM stage, veteran Patrick Jonker, riding for UniSA hit out on an early attack. Two younger companions quickly joined him, Aussie David McPartland, riding for the Australian National Team, and Dutchman Alain Van Katwijk of Bankgiroloterij. The three set a torrid pace up the climb, gaining six minutes by the day's only KOM, a sharp 18% 400 meter pitch at 29km.

With the gap near 10 minutes, a series of attacks by race leader Robbie McEwen sparked a high-speed chase that would rip the field in two. Strong winds forced the echelons, and the lead group split into three parts. As the groups reformed, Lotto-Domo and FDJ dominated the front group with five riders each, and the total of 38 riders had representation from all of the teams. David McKenzie and Phil Zajicek represented Navigators as the chase began to take form. The peloton hit the feed zone at 87 km, and the obligatory pause for refreshment stalled and unraveled the pursuit. Soon the time gap was going up again, and hovered around five minutes as the group rolled through the lush wine vineyards that have made southern Australia's wine country world famous. In spite of having numbers, neither Lotto- Domo nor FDJ took up a serious chase, and by the time momentum built in the last 30km, it was too little too late.

The three leaders finished 1:40 clear, with McPartland taking the stage in front of  Van Katwijk, and Jonker who had been the main horse of the bunch. Baden Cook (FDJ) edged yesterday's winner McEwen in the bunch kick for 4th. Navigators' team leader David McKenzie currently sits in 8th place on G.C., 1:51 off the lead.

G.C. After Stage 2:
1. David McPartland (Aus) Team Australia                   4.45.21
2. Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA                                          0.03
3. Alain Van Katwijk (Ned) Bankgiroloterij                    0.05
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                             1:51
8. David McKenzie (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team         1:51

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