Having taken a stage win on what had been the toughest sprint of the race on stage 4, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, starting the day in the green jersey of points leader, would be looking to take the victory on the race’s final stage. In spite of a strong ride, where the BORA-hansgrohe team worked hard to drop him in position, a hectic bunch sprint saw Peter finishing in third on the line. The points taken in the finale saw Peter crowned as the winner of the points contest for the first time, while Jay McCarthy finished the race having put in a brave ride in the GC contest.

 

The Stage

Just 90km remained of the Tour Down Under, and it was back to the streets of Adelaide for the closing criterium-style stage. Featuring a more challenging circuit than the People’s Choice Classic that opened the race, the final stage saw twists and turns and short, sharp climbs on a 4.5km route ridden twenty times. Time bonuses would be available on two intermediate sprints, which meant there was still everything to race for, not to mention the glory of taking the victory on the last day of the race, with the flat finale tailor-made for a bunch sprint.

 

The Team Tactics

The GC race looked to have already been decided, but with a bunch sprint predicted for the final day of the race, it was a chance for the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, to confirm his position in the race’s points contest, starting the day as the green jersey holder. Holding an advantage of nine points over the second placed rider, the Slovak rider would be looking to consolidate his hold on the jersey, while also setting his sights on taking some additional glory with his second win of the race.

 

The Race

While the finish meant a bunch sprint was likely, this didn’t stop the breakaways from trying to change the stage’s outcome. Attempts were made, but it wasn’t until past the halfway point that an attack finally stuck, going out on lap ten of twenty, the two escapees making up for the later start by gradually increasing their lead. However, in spite of the best efforts of the break, building an advantage of more than two minutes, by lap eighteen it was all back together, and the preparations began in the peloton for the sprint finish. With two laps still to go, the pace was fast and the racing frenetic, and as the kilometres passed by, it was BORA-hansgrohe’s turn to take control at the front, leading Peter Sagan to the finale. With the sprint starting early, Peter found himself boxed in, taking third position on the line. While he was unable to take his second stage win of the race, he was able to cement his position as the winner of the points contest.

Results
01       A.Greipel         2h01’19”
02       C.Ewan           + 0:00
03       P.Sagan           + 0:00
04       P.Bauhaus       + 0:00
05       E.Viviani          + 0:00

 

From the Finish Line

“Last stage at the Tour Down Under and another very hot day. As expected, everything was decided in the bunch sprint. We followed our plan, the guys protected me throughout the race and set me well for the finale. It was a good sprint but not enough to win the stage. It was a good Tour Down Under for me, I scored my first stage victory in this race and I took my first green jersey. I feel that the team as well had a very good week, thanks to the dedication, excellent teamwork and team spirit that exists. It’s a good start to the year. Last but not least, thanks to all the people that helped organise this very good race.” – Peter Sagan

 

“I think that we can be satisfied we what we achieved in the Tour Down Under and I consider the start of the 2018 season to be a positive one. Peter pulled on the green jersey, he won a stage and the People’s Choice Classic, while yesterday we gave it our all for the victory at the queen stage. The entire squad put on a strong effort in every stage. Today, we had the fast-paced circuit through the streets of Adelaide and again the guys worked very well to position Peter with a perfect leadout in the final lap. Peter finished third, which was another good result. As I said, overall, it was a good week for BORA-hansgrohe.” – Patxi Vila