Simon Gerrans took the overall Tour Down Under title to get GreenEdge’s first WorldTour campaign off to a perfect start, while Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won the final stage to end the race with three victories.
Gerrans assumed the race lead on countback after finishing second to Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, returning from a two-year doping ban, on the penultimate stage.
But Valverde, second in the general classification going into the finale, failed to pick up any bonus seconds during the 90km circuit race, while Gerrans finished safely in the bunch to claim his second title having previous won as a Ag2r Prevoyance rider in 2006.
“It’s just fantastic,” said Gerrans. “I can’t thank my team-mates enough. I was pleasantly surprised when I was told I had the lead [after stage five]. It’s such a fantastic victory for GreenEdge. We couldn’t ask for a more perfect way to start the season.
“It’s an even sweeter victory than my first one here in 2006… It couldn’t be a better start for us [GreenEdge].”
Greipel, himself a two-time winner of the race, has been in imperious form throughout the 2012 edition and took the final stage in trademark fashion having been delivered to the line by his Lotto-Belisol team-mates.
“What can I say,” said Greipel, who has now won 11 Tour Down Under stages during his career, one less than Robbie McEwen, the most prolific rider in the race’s 14-year history. “Lotto-Belisol has just been amazing in leading me out to my third win of the week. It looks easy but it’s not. I was nowhere in the front on GC this year but I’m happy with the sprint finishes.”
Team Sky all-rounder Edvald Boasson Hagen was among the favourites going into the race but was forced to settle for overall victory in the sprints classification, while Rohan Dennis (Uni SA-Australia) won the best young rider jersey and the King of the Mountains classification, with Radioshack-Nissan-Trek walking away with the team prize.
Tour Down Under stage six
1) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Belisol – 1:56:48
2) Mark Renshaw (AUS) – Rabobank
3) Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) – Lampre-ISD
4) Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR) – FDJ-BigMat
5) Jose Joaquin Rojas (SPA) – Movistar
6) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Sky
7) Romain Feillu (FRA) – Vacansoleil-DCM
8) Jonathan Cantwell (AUS) – SaxoBank
9) Fabio Sabatini (ITA) – Liquigas-Cannondale
10) Manuel Belletti (ITA) – Ag2r La Mondiale
Final general classification
1) Simon Gerrans (AUS) – GreenEDGE – 20:46:12
2) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar
3) Tiago Machado (POR) Radioshack-Nissan-Trek +8”
4) Michael Rogers (AUS) Team Sky +14”
5) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – UNI SA-Australia
6) Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Radioshack-Nissan-Trek +16”
7) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Team Sky +18”
8) Javier Moreno (SPA) – Movistar +23”
9) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Rabobank +29”
10) Eduard Vorganov (RUS) – Katusha +32”