Stage five from Glenelg to Victor Harbor delivered the most action of the week with the General Classification contenders battling for bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints and splitting the race in the finale.
Rosskopf battled to make the breakaway once the sprints were out of the way, briefly going clear before the peloton brought them back to eventually let a four-rider breakaway, featuring Josef Černý, go down the road.
The quartet built an advantage of three minutes but with the only climb of the day coming just 20 kilometers before the finish line, the General Classification teams were determined to bring the breakaway back and explode the race.
Černý’s group was eventually caught at the foot of the climb, at which point riders attacked from all directions and created a select group of 11 riders that went clear over the top, with then-race leader Richie Porte (Trek – Segafredo) claiming maximum KOM points and edging closer to Rosskopf on the classification.
The leading group tried to stay clear on the run into the finish with a 30-second advantage but with the last opportunity for a sprint finish on offer, the peloton closed the gap and brought the groups back together with six kilometers remaining.
It was a fast and chaotic finish in Victor Harbor where Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) sprinted to the win, denying new race leader Daryl Impey (Mitchelton – SCOTT) the chance to claim more bonus seconds, ultimately setting the stage for a General Classification battle on stage six.
Rosskopf will start the final stage with a nine point advantage over Porte in the KOM classification while in the General Classification, Simon Geschke sits in seventh place, 17 seconds behind Impey.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The first 50 or 60 kilometers today were easy and controlled and right after that, it was the first day we have seen a fight to get into the breakaway. The final climb was a little faster than I expected which was clear when we only had a front group of 12 riders. In the end, the move was neutralized and I was in the front group of 50 guys at the finish. I wasn’t in a position to get points on the climb but I was trying to ride it as fast as I could to get over it with Simon Geschke. It was about being as conservative as I could without letting the front of the race get too far away.
“I don’t know how tomorrow will play out with the time bonuses at the sprints, if there will be a breakaway or not. My only option is to be in the breakaway the first time over Willunga Hill to pick up more points. If I can do that, it might be enough to keep the jersey as Richie will get points over the second climb and I know I won’t be up there. So, I’ll do everything I can to try and keep the jersey.”
“I underestimated that stage a little bit. I thought it was one for the sprinters but it was full gas on the last climb. I wasn’t feeling so good but we managed to come back. I was not in very big trouble because I did think it would come back but I was also a bit lucky that there were also other GC guys in my group and we were able to ride to bring it back to the front guys and I could keep my top ten. Now, it’s all about Willunga tomorrow.
“I hope I have better legs tomorrow than what I had today. My goal is to try and stay with the top ten guys so I’ll focus on that rather than trying to do something silly and exploding and blow up. I don’t want to risk that.”
Santos Tour Down Under
Stage 6 Glenelg > Victor Harbor
Top 3: 1. Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling), 2. Simone Consonni (Cofidis, Solutions Credits), Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
CCC Team top 3: 23. Joey Rosskopf, 29. Simon Geschke, 66. Łukasz Wiśniowski
📷 Getty Images