The Tour Down Under saw its conclusion in Adelaide earlier today and it has been a hard fought battle for the podium. After a gutsy ride yesterday, Nathan Haas narrowly missed out on 3rd overall, being tied on time with Jay McCarthy (Bora-hansgrohe). The latter went into the stage 3 seconds down, but found the legs to win the first intermediate sprint that put him ahead of Haas.
With only 90 kilometers left to race, the final stage got off to a blistering start. KOM jersey wearer Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) was the first to attack. Together with Giorgio Brambilla (QuickStep) he managed to open up a small gap. However, with the first intermediate sprint in sight, the duo was caught again.
Team Dimension Data rode attentively. Led out by reigning World Champion Peter Sagan, it was McCarthy who took the seconds though. Over the following kilometers Jaco Venter and Ben O’Connor rode away from the peloton with the intend to make the race hard for the other teams and to help our African teams leadout to stay fresh for the finale. De Gendt was quick to join them, as was Jack Bauer (QuickStep). De Gendt took the KOM points along the way, before Bauer took off in a solo effort. He was eventually reeled in inside the final 10 kilometers. Team Dimension Data rode Haas into position, but with the likes of Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) and Sagan around, it was hard to go for the stage win and additional seconds. In the end Haas finished ninth on the stage. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stay 3rd on GC. He slipped down one place to finish 4th behind overall winner Richie Porte (BMC), Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) and McCarthy.
Nevertheless, the Tour Down Under has been a positive experience for our African team, which showed true fighting spirit over the whole week of racing. Supporting Haas for the GC was the goal going into the race. The results on the tough stages to Paracombe and Willunga Hill prove what the team is capable of. There are 2 races left on our Australian racing schedule, with the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race being the next highlight.
Nathan Haas – Rider
The competition at the Tour Down Under was a formidable one and I think we have been presenting ourselves well over the last few days. The energy we have in the team feels like a big win, and that is what makes me really proud about this week. Apparently the stars didn’t align for us today. McCarthy was strongly led out by Sagan and bumped ahead of me on GC. I fought my best but it just wasn’t meant to be. I came close at the Nationals and I came close here. I feel like I’m going in the right direction and I think something big is coming, so as a team we’ll go hard at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.