Tour Down Under 2014: stage five – five observations

Reflections on an exhilarating fifth stage of the WorldTour season's opener

Expectations of a close race have been fulfilled as riders prepare for the final stage of the 2014 Tour Down Under.

The fifth stage from McLaren Vale to Old Willunga Hill produced some of the best racing of this sixteenth edition, culminating with a magnificent duel on Old Willunga’s vicious gradients between the four men who occupy the first four positions on GC.

Old Willunga Hill lived up to its reputation for delivering exciting racing. pic: ©Sirotti

The day ended with the ochre jersey of race leader returned to the shoulders of  Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), but only by the margin of a single-second over previous incumbent, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), the revelation of this year’s race, is just five seconds off the lead, and a margin of only 10 seconds separates Richie Porte, today’s emphatic victor, from overall victory.

Here are five observations on the fifth stage of this sixteenth edition of Australia’s superb WorldTour race.

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