We continue our retrospective of the 2020 Tour Down Under with a look through Kit Nicholson’s imperious Stage Summaries written for The Road Book 2020. Let us know your favourite memories of TDU2020 though our social media accounts: @cyclingalmanack on Twitter and Instagram. (Photography by Russ Ellis)
24 January 2020
Norwood – Murray Bridge 152.8km
With Richie Porte now in the ochre jersey and Willunga Hill looming, Mitchelton-Scott were back to their bonus-second-hunting ways, their sights set on a third consecutive overall title for Daryl Impey. Despite the efforts of Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Philipsen, the South African was able to halve his deficit before the breakaway was allowed to go and the race settled into a rhythm. Driven almost single-handedly by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), the peloton got a bit nervous as it entered the last 60km and crosswinds were expected to have their say in the plains, but nothing came of it except to seal the fate of the breakaway. The peloton was strung out, leaving stage 2 winner Ewan a bit out of position on the technical run-in, but he battled his way to the front and took the win off Bennett’s wheel, Philipsen showing consistent form to take third.
Stage Results: 1) C. Ewan (LTS) 2) S. Bennett (DQT) 3) J. Philipsen (UAD)
GC: 1) R. Porte (TFS) 2) D. Impey (MTS) 3) R. Power (SUN)
25 January 2020
Glenelg – Victor Harbor 149.1km
The first 60km of stage 5 were an almost perfect replica of the day before. In the bonus sprints, Pedersen went all in for leader Porte, but the world champion couldn’t prevent Impey from carving out a narrow advantage before the final stage. The peloton then started to fracture and a dangerous group got away, led by Dennis (Ineos) and covered by Porte. The threat was short-lived, however, and it took another 20km for the day’s breakaway to form, which included Pedersen who had been off the back only minutes before. On the Kerby Hill climb, Mitchelton-Scott shattered the peloton and forced a split over the top, Porte snatching the KOM points. But after a furious chase, everything came back together within the last 10km. Ewan was well placed into the final corner, but ultimately it was Nizzolo (NTT) who launched off Kluge’s (Lotto Soudal) wheel to take the victory.
Stage Results: 1) G. Nizzolo (NTT) 2) S. Consonni (COF) 3) S. Bennett (DQT)
GC: 1) D. Impey (MTS) 2) R. Porte (TFS) 3) R. Power (SUN)
26 January 2020
McLaren Vale – Willunga Hill 151.5km
A 26-strong breakaway was the first harbinger of change to the usually formulaic Willunga Hill stage. The group established a substantial lead, but the unflappable peloton brought them back into range on the first climb approach, Pedersen personally taking chunks out of the advantage. By the top, the breakaway had halved in size, as had the gap to the peloton. The diminished breakaway still carried about a minute onto the final ascent, but their days were numbered. When Porte attacked, Yates could only briefly hold on before going the same way as his teammate Impey, and the Tasmanian soon caught the breakaway survivors. One of them was British neo pro Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), who surprised even himself by first staying with Porte then attacking to win the stage. Unseated, the (former) King of Willunga came home 3 seconds later, content to settle for overall victory on Australia Day.
Stage Results: 1) M. Holmes (LTS) 2) R. Porte (TFS) 3) M. Boaro (AST)
GC Results: 1) R. Porte (TFS) 2) D. Ulissi (UAE) 3) S. Geschke (CCC)
By Kit Nicholson