Tour Down Under Results - Stage 6
Astarloza wins Tour Down Under
him on, hoping for another fairytale finish.
Under the start-finish arch at 54 kilometres on lap 12 it was again KIRSIPUU who did the job for his race leader but this time it was another of his team mates, reigning Irish road champion Mark SCANLON (AG2R), second across the line and LANFRANCHI picked up a valuable one second bonus for third. O'GRADY was fourth across the line and missed out on a bonus.
36 kilometres of racing remained and still five riders were in with a chance of overall honours depending on the placings across the line with 6, 4 and 2 second bonuses awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
"My team will get me up there and I just have to win - no pressure - with all those ?Stuey on a Stick" waving at me you have to," joked O'GRADY at last night?s Jacob?s Creek Tour Down Under 5th Anniversary Gala Dinner when asked about the pressure of riding in front of thousands of fans waving cut outs of his face from the side of the road.
As the finish approached the tension grew and the pressure on O'GRADY was intense. O'GRADY had to finish in the top two and ahead of the leading pair to be in the running. But it was not to be. The entire field wheeled in to the finishing straight in a furious sprint with the race fast men hunting stage honours.
Across the line it was Sydney?s Graeme BROWN (Ceramiche Panaria - Fiordo) who finally secured a stage win. He was relegated on Stage One to last place for dangerous sprinting and was beaten by a centimetre on the third stage by Robbie McEWEN (AUS - Lotto Domo).
"I wanted to beat him and I thought I could," said BROWN about McEWEN who pulled out with a knee injury during Stage Five. "I'm very disappointed he?s not here but it?s in his best interests that he?s not."
"We all want him in the Tour de France missing it up with the best," said BROWN. "It?s been so close but so far (in the earlier stages) but today it?s good to go out on a high note."
BROWN crossed the line in a winning time of 1hr52min09sec with Victorian Baden COOKE (FDJeux.com) second and KIRSIPUU third. O'GRADY crossed in fourth place.
The final standings in the race saw ASTARLOZA first in a time of 17hr17min45sec while KRISTENSEN remained equal on time but still second overall
"They (AG2R team mates) did a great job and I really owe it to them," said 23 year old ASTARLOZA. "Had my first ride as a professional here in the Jacob?s Creek Tour Down Under (2002) and to come back and win it is fantastic."
"This is my first race win and the only thing I really hoped to do coming into this race was to try and ride well but I didn't even dream of winning," said the new champion.
O'GRADY finished as the highest placed Australian four seconds back equal with CARUSO on time but once again ahead