By Alula Abraha,
Almost a week after Natnael’s jubilant victory at the Tour of Gabon, dubbed as Africa’s own Tour of France, almost half the world away in Australia, the last stage of the “Tour down under” has reached its penultimate last stage.
The tour Down under is the first amongst the only 4 world tour held outside the continent of Europe. The race will begin in few hours time and what makes it similar to that of last week’s penultimate last stage in Gabon is that the three General Classification (GC) front runners are so closely placed that it can go either way just as had happened in Natnael’s Victory last week.
This time last week, Gabon’s capital, Libreville was tense but this time, it’s the turn of Australia’s capital, Adelaide. Simon Gerrans, who was former teammate of Daniel Teklehaymanot, is leading the GC by a slender 1 – second ahead of fellow Aussie, Cedal Evans of Team BMC and followed in 3rd place by Italian Ulissi Diego of team Lampere-Merida trailing by 4 more seconds.
As for Natnael’s Europcar teammates, they stand no chance of challenging this championship as the nearest one is Perrig Quemenuer, trailing by over 8 minutes in 37th position.
As can be seen below in the two respective positions in the ‘Tour Down Under’ today and the Amissa Bongo tour last week are almost a carbon-copy of one another.
Tour Down Under standing on the eve of the last day:
1) Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) 18:02:19
2) Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) @0:01
3) ULISSI Diego (Lampre – Merida) @0:05
Amissa Bongo Tour standing on the eve of the last day:
1) Sanchez (Caja-Rural Seguros) 20:19:34
2) Garcia (Cofidis Solutions) @0:01
3) Natnael (Team Europcar) @0:04
Against all odds, the great Natnael Berhane of Eritrea had successfully turned it around at the death but is Diego Ulissi going to do what Natnael had done in a similar situation last week?
The Tour down Under riders will battle it out in a 20-lap course of the Adelaide Circuit in a Déjà vu championship decider as that of the Amissa Bongo. Yesterday’s stage-5 race course had two steep climbs, each stretching for 4.75Km, that included a summit finish with a killer gradient as high as a 10%, but none of the 3 GC leaders had managed to make a huge advantage out of it. At least, the steep summit finish was expected to stretch-out the front runners but they had managed to nick only a few seconds of each other.
Since the final race-course later today is almost as flat as the Asmara circuit, it’s expected to end in a bunch finish. All the top GC contenders had each won a stage, including 4th placed Richie Porte of UK’s Team-Sky winning yesterday’s 5th stage summit finish.
All the best of lucks to all and let the best one win again as well as the one with the best team work win it later today.
You can follow the Tour Down Under live on the official twitter feed @tourdownunder
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