Following on from his victory on stage 4 of the race, UCI World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) went into today’s final stage hoping to double his tally.
However, he had to settle for third behind Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchellon-SCOTT). His stage placing though was enough to see him crowned as the winner of the points contest for the first time.
Just 90km remained of the Tour Down Under, and it was back to the streets of Adelaide for the closing criterium-style stage. Featuring a more challenging circuit than the People’s Choice Classic that opened the race, the final stage saw twists and turns and short, sharp climbs on a 4.5km route ridden twenty times. Time bonuses would be available on two intermediate sprints, which meant there was still everything to race for, not to mention the glory of taking the victory on the last day of the race, with the flat finale tailor-made for a bunch sprint.
Holding an advantage of nine points over the second placed rider, Sagan would be looking to consolidate his hold on the green jersey, while also setting his sights on taking some additional glory with his second win of the race.
While the finish meant a bunch sprint was likely, this didn’t stop the breakaways from trying to change the stage’s outcome. Attempts were made, but it wasn’t until past the halfway point that an attack finally stuck, going out on lap ten of twenty, the two escapees making up for the later start by gradually increasing their lead.
However, in spite of the best efforts of the break, building an advantage of more than two minutes, by lap eighteen it was all back together, and the preparations began in the peloton for the sprint finish. With two laps still to go, the pace was fast and the racing frenetic, and as the kilometres passed by, it was BORA-hansgrohe’s turn to take control at the front, leading Sagan to the finale.
With the sprint starting early, the Slovak rider found himself boxed in, taking third position on the line behind Greipel and Ewan. While he was unable to take his second stage win of the race, he was able to cement his position as the winner of the points contest as Daryl Impey (Mitchellon-SCOTT) took the overall win.
Peter Sagan – “Last stage at the Tour Down Under and another very hot day. As expected, everything was decided in the bunch sprint. We followed our plan, the guys protected me throughout the race and set me well for the finale. It was a good sprint but not enough to win the stage. It was a good Tour Down Under for me, I scored my first stage victory in this race and I took my first green jersey. I feel that the team as well had a very good week, thanks to the dedication, excellent teamwork and team spirit that exists. It’s a good start to the year. Last but not least, thanks to all the people that helped organise this very good race.”