The closing stage of the 2014 Tour Down Under delivered the thrilling finish we’d hoped for on the road, if not the shake-up of the final general classification that had looked possible a little under two hours earlier.
Will Clarke (Drapac) produced another dogged performance to underscore a growing reputation as one of the most aggressive riders in professional cycling, while Marcel Kittel provided further evidence that he is not yet the finished article.
Britain’s double Olympic champion, Geraint Thomas, found enough to improve his position on GC, when others couldn’t, sealing an opening to the season that hints at good things to come. Richie Porte, too, wrapped up a campaign that should convince the Sky management that he is ready to play the lead, if not on the very biggest stage. And Hertfordshire’s Andy Fenn, who finished third on the stage in the colours of Omega Pharma-Quickstep, showed again that a young British rider does not have to wear the colours of Team Sky to enjoy a career in cyclng’s elite tier.
And what of the winner? Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) proved again that he is one of the most talented riders in the peloton, but can he push on and consistently deliver at the biggest races?
Read on for our five observations on stage six of the 2014 Tour Down Under.