GC duo narrowly miss out on TDU podium

26 Jan 2020

GC duo narrowly miss out on TDU podium

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Tour Down Under: Stage six - McLaren Vale - Willunga Hill, 151.5km

Rohan Dennis and Dylan van Baarle finished fourth and fifth overall at the Tour Down Under as Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) won the overall title.

Porte attacked an elite group on the final ascent of Willunga Hill to go clear, but was unable to win the stage as Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) edged past him in the final few metres.

Dennis and Van Baarle finished seven seconds back, in eight and ninth respectively, which moved them up the general classification, agonisingly finishing on the same time as second placed Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) - but due to 'countback' rules, which take into account the rider with the best placing in the previous stages, the duo missed out on the podium. 

The result means Pavel Sivakov won the best young rider jersey, with Team INEOS topping the best team classification. Luke Rowe was named most combative rider of the day following a strong performance in the break.
Rowe with his combativity award

Rowe with his combativity award

Rowe was covering any potential moves by Team INEOS’ GC rivals when he was able to join a large group that established a significant lead on the peloton. 
 
It was only on the final lap of the finishing circuit when his fellow escapees started to drop off, and heading into the final ascent of Willunga Hill Rowe attacked his 11 breakaway companions with three kilometres remaining.

But the Welshman was reeled in shortly afterwards by the chasing group, so he dropped back to provide support for Dennis and Van Baarle who were part of a small GC group with Porte and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

But when Porte, who has won the Willunga stage on six previous occasions, attacked he was able to establish an unassailable lead on his GC rivals and was only denied a seventh victory by Holmes’ late surge, as Dennis and Van Baarle finished in the chase group.  
Rowe working hard in the break

Rowe working hard in the break

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis

The race was good, we raced hard, took things seriously but I’ve had a lot of fun this week too, it’s a great group of guys."
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Rohan Dennis 

“I felt good for January, but I’ve got a bit of work to do before July and my big goal of Tokyo -  and for the Giro I have to get better at climbing again. Obviously I did alright today, but it’s only a three kilometre climb, not 10-15km like the final week of the Giro.

“The race was good, we raced hard, took things seriously but I’ve had a lot of fun this week too, it’s a great group of guys.

“Even if there’s a small issue, we talk about it, we move on and try and do everything better the next day. It’s one big thing I’ve noticed with the team, it’s like ‘OK we can’t do everything perfectly, but we're gonna strive to improve’.  We talk about it and then we try again tomorrow.”
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Luke Rowe

“I think it was crucial for us to have a guy in the break, it took the pressure off the boys behind and the size of the group meant we needed one guy minimum there. I felt really good throughout the day, it was quite cruisey in the break and unfortunately we finished up a climb, which was a shame! 

“I felt nice and strong on the flat, and I knew that from the 12 guys left I was one of the weakest on the climb, so I tried to hit them early, get a gap - but it never really materialised. 

“As soon as they came back to me, I dropped back in case on our guys was going to jump clear.

“To wrap up the week, we didn’t get on the podium, but we did everything but! We got Team GC and best young rider, so it’s been a fun, enjoyable week.”
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Overall standings

1. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) 20:37:08
2. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) +25"
3. Simon Geschke (CCC Team) s.t.
4. Rohan Dennis (Team INEOS) s.t.
5. Dylan van Baarle (Team INEOS) s.t.

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