Tour Down Under Stage 5: Wilunga to Wilungs, 147km / 91mi
- by Cathy Mehl / photos © Graham Watson

- Official race web site:

On the decisive stage five at the 10th Annual Tour Down Under, Team Astana riders animated the race right from the gun with early attacks and aggressive riding. Luxemburg National Champion Benoit Joachim took a short ride off the front at the 10km mark while teammate Julien Mazet managed to stay in a break that enjoyed success for a full 90km before being brought back.

With the tough climb of Old Wilunga Hill looming just 20km from the finish, it was an excellent day for a break to stay away. Early attempts were fast and furious but it wasn't until Mazet's group went clear that the peloton settled down and the day's break was established. With Mazet taking hard pulls beside Greg Henderson (Team High Road) and three other riders, the group of five established a solid gap of almost five minutes that held for much of the day.

Race leader Mark Renshaw's team of Credit Agricole controlled the head of the peloton to keep their man's slim four second lead intact over Andre Greipel (Team High Road). With UniSA and Gerolsteiner joining in the chase as they approached the climb, Mazet's group was finally brought back with 33km to go.

Celebrating the national holiday of Australia Day, fans were out in force on the climb with large crowds gathering to cheer their favorites. Once on the climb Team High Road drove the pace with many riders quickly losing ground as the slopes went up, including race leader Renshaw. A long line of riders spread down the climb as Greipel and crew continued to soar. Once on the descent Greipel's group of approximately 30 riders managed to break away and create a gap of more than thirty seconds back to Renshaw.

Approaching the finish line Greipel flew past the others and took his third stage win in this year's race along with the all-important race lead and will now wear the ochre jersey of race leader into the final stage. Second on the stage was former Discovery Channel rider Allan Davis (UniSA) with Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Saunier Duval-Scott) coming in just behind for third. On GC Greipel now leads by seven seconds over Davis. Although not a wide margin it's likely he will carry the win to the Adelaide finish line on the 6th and final stage tomorrow.

Beyond the Finish Line: January 26th is Australia Day and is an official holiday commemorating the establishment of the first European settlement on the continent of Australia. Each year the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year, which is an award presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a significant contribution to the Australian community and nation. Today's award went to country music singer Lee Kernaghan and honors him for his musical achievements as well as his concert fund raising for communities in need.

Is it cold where you are? Maybe you should drop down to Aldinga Beach...

Stage 5 Results
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 3.26.46
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia
3 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux
5 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Csc
7 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux
8 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank
9 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
10 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne

Team Astana Stage 5
25 Steve Morabito (Swi)
29 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa)
48 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) 0.56 57 Koen De Kort (Ned)
70 Aaron Kemps (Aus) 2.27
75 Benoit Joachim (Lux)
106 Julien Mazet (Fra) 11.48

General Classification
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 16.55.18
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia 0.07
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne 0.20
4 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux 0.24
5 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone
6 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott 0.26
7 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas
8 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne 0.28
9 Richie Porte (Aus) Unisa - Australia
10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux 0.29

Team Astana on GC
32 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) 0.30
47 Koen De Kort (Ned) 1.26
59 Aaron Kemps (Aus) 2.57
71 Steve Morabito (Swi) 4.34
81 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) 6.33
86 Benoit Joachim (Lux) 7.01
122 Julien Mazet (Fra) 16.48

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