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Simon Gerrans Wins the Tour Down Under

27 January 2012

Simon Gerrans Wins the Tour Down Under

Simon Gerrans, the only Australian to have won a stage in all three Grand Tours and the current Australian National Road Champion, further carved out his unique place in Australian cycling history today as he delivered the first WorldTour victory to Australian’s first WorldTour team. It is the second overall win for Gerrans at the Santos Tour Down Under.

“This is a fantastic victory for GreenEDGE because this is the best way we can say thank you to the Ryan family, Shayne Bannan and all the people that have helped put this team together,” said Gerrans. “I’m really happy, and I can’t thank my GreenEDGE team enough for all the support this week.”

Gerrans took the ochre leader’s jersey on the queen stage of the six‐day stage race. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) bested Gerrans in a two‐up sprint atop Old Willunga Hill, and although the two riders were tied on time after the fifth day of racing, Gerrans earned the right to don ochre by virtue of count back.

“I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was in the lead after yesterday’s stage,” noted Gerrans. “I thought Alejandro had the lead after his stage win, and we’d have a tough job to get it off of him, but we had it so it all worked out in the end.”

As GreenEDGE took to the start of the 90-kilometre Adelaide City Council Street Circuit, they knew to win the race they needed to prevent Valverde from gaining any bonus seconds available during race’s two intermediate sprints or on the finish line.

“We knew we had a bit of a buffer but we would have to stay focused and attentive during the entire race,” explained Sports Director Matt White. “The best way to do that was to make the race aggressive. I wasn’t worried so much about Alejandro in the final sprint, but there was a real danger in the intermediate sprint, so we wanted to force a fast pace with breakaways the entire race.”

GreenEDGE followed the plan White outlined for the team and took control of the race from the start. Luke Durbridge launched the first attack and formed an 11-rider move that stayed away during the first lap. When Durbridge was caught, a new group went up the road containing Leigh Howard. Cameron Meyer joined the break that eventually grew to include 16 men. The group stayed away through the first intermediate sprint.

When the field caught the large break up the road, a new move went. Durbridge once again represented GreenEDGE out front. The move was short-lived and soon Meyer would be up the road again with Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan‐Trek) and Romain Sicard (Euskatel‐Euskadi). The trio contested the intermediate sprint amongst themselves. Meyer attacked the break inside the final two kilometres and held off the chasing field until the final time up Montefiore Hill.

“Cam actually asked me over the radio with three laps to go if he could attack, and I had to ask him to wait a little,” explained White. “We knew what he was doing when he went. We always had the race under control.”

Inside the final half lap, the sprinters teams positioned themselves at the front of the pack to deliver their fast men to top stage honours. André Griepel (Lotto‐Belisol) took his third stage win ahead of Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Alessandro Pettachi (Lampre‐ISD). The podium gobbled up the bonus seconds on offer and afforded Gerrans the overall.

“There’s only one first time,” said White. “To win Nationals in our first outing, to win the Bay Crits and then to win the Tour Down Under, that’s huge. There are big things ahead for us and big things ahead for Australian cycling.”

SCOTT Foil - Team GreenEDGE

The Team GreenEdge overcomes the race’s elements and breaks the Santos Down Town Under aboard the new SCOTT Foil Aero road bike. The FOIL possesses the three major variables to be a perfect bike: lateral stiffness, low overall weight and aerodynamics to effectively transform rider input into acceleration. For fewer watts, the rider can maintain the same average speed, keeping them fresh for whatever effort is most important. Sprint, Climb, Win.

SCOTT Vanish - Team GreenEDGE

Australia implies sunny roads and the new GreenEdge’s helmet is so light and comfortable it seems to Vanish. The best equipment should leave the rider comfortable and safe, and with ConeheadTM technology the rider can rest assured he’s protected. The Conical interface points in the molding disperse impact loads to protect his head with no weight penalty. Feels like he’s wearing nothing at all.