Tour Down Under Results - Stage 3
McEwen takes stage 3; Sacchi maintains overall lead
Queensland's Robbie McEWEN, 30, (Lotto - Domo) today unleashed a blistering sprint into Hahndorf to claim victory on Stage 3 of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under in a near dead heat with Sydney's Graeme BROWN, 24, (Ceramiche Panaria - Fiordo).
McEWEN, the 2002 Tour de France sprint champion and world ranked number four, was awarded the win after officials viewed the finish photo which split the pair by less than a centimetre. South Australian Stuart O'GRADY was close behind in third place.
"I had a feeling I'd won and I was fairly confident but you can't go running around claiming it," said McEWEN after his win was confirmed. "You've just got to wait for the judges to have a look at the photo."
McEWEN and BROWN are far from friendly rivals and on the opening stage of this year's Tour BROWN crossed the line first but was relegated to last place when officials ruled he did not hold his line and impeded McEWEN's sprint.
After being penalised a brash BROWN boasted that he would beat McEWEN the next time but his more experienced rival demonstrated why he is considered one of the world's best sprinters timing his final lunge to perfection to shut down BROWN's challenge.
"I was able to see on some television pictures that I'd started to throw for the line first and that gave me a pretty good idea that I'd got it," said McEWEN. "As a sprinter sometimes in a very close finish you're not quite sure if you've won but if you've lost you do know.
"When he (BROWN) rides a straight line you can see what he can do," said McEWEN. "He's done a very good sprint today and I think if he can keep going in one direction in the sprint he'll be good."
BROWN was philosophical in defeat and admitted a grudging respect for McEWEN.
"As much as I dislike Robbie he is a true champion and he's one of the best in the world so to just be up there mixing it with him is great," said BROWN. "I stuffed up a bit as I didn't see the signs but I'm not making any excuses (because) Robbie did it perfectly."
"Oh well - Sunday," he added signalling his intention to try and outpace McEWEN in the final stage.
The 164km longest stage of this year's Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under set off from the beach side Adelaide tourist suburb of Glenelg where fans turned out in force to cheer the 94 strong international field on their way.
"International and interstate tourists were out in force with locals as Glenelg hosted the Breakfast with the Stars," said Belinda DEWHIRST, General Manager, Australian Major Events. "The riders travelled under controlled conditions right through the heart of Adelaide as office workers, families and shoppers flocked to the road side to view the spectacle."
The flag dropped for the action to begin outside the Adelaide SuperDrome and the cyclists wasted no time and the attacks came thick and fast in the first 30 kilometres of the