Ventoso wins stage, Aussies battle for lead

Sat, 22 Jan 06:56:00 2011

Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) claimed victory on stage five of the Tour Down Under, but overall victory has become a two-horse race between Australian duo Cameron Meyer and Matt Goss.

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Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) leads Goss (HTC-Highroad) by just eight seconds following the gruelling 131-kilometre stage from McLaren Vale to Willunga.

The pair were part of lead group of 18 with Goss finishing third behind Ventoso and another Australian Michael Matthews.

With Meyer finishing the stage in 13th, Goss was able to close the gap by jumping up to second overall.

"For sure, (it's now) a two-horse race," said Garmin-Cervelo manager Matt White.

Goss said: "If I had a nicer run, I would have been a bit closer to the victory," he said.

"You've got to take a bit of good out of it, I still got a few seconds back on Cam, so the gap is less tomorrow.

"There are 16 seconds of (sprint) bonuses tomorrow, so it's still doable."

Team Sky's Ben Swift is the pick on the Brits and having gone into the stage in seventh place overall, he stuck with the leaders throughout, ending up in tenth place, 18 seconds adrift of Meyer going into Sunday's final stage.

"It's going to be a huge task for Swifty to try and crash that party and go for a second stage win (tomorrow)," said Team Sky sport director Sean Yates.

"But Geraint (Thomas) and Greg (Henderson) should both be fresh to support him so you can't rule him out.

"Obviously, being a man down doesn't help us, but we'll definitely be giving it a go and hopefully Swifty will climb even further up the standings."

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, competing in his final UCI race outside of the USA, came home 75th place, leaving him 66th in the general classification.

Great Britain's Mark Cavendish endured another disappointing day, coming home second to last with only sprint rival Tyler Farrar finishing behind him.

Stage results:

1. Francisco Ventoso (Spain / Movistar) 3h 6mins 10secs

2. Michael Matthews (Australia / Rabobank) same time

3. Matthew Goss (Australia / HTC - Highroad)

4. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar)

5. Luke Roberts (Australia / Australia)

6. Robert Hunter (South Africa / RadioShack)

7. Blel Kadri (France / AG2R)

8. Alessandro Ballan (Italy / BMC Racing)

9. Ben Hermans (Belgium / RadioShack)

10. Ben Swift (Britain / Team Sky)

Overall standings:

1. Cameron Meyer (Australia / Garmin) 16h 00mins 40secs

2. Matthew Goss (Australia / HTC - Highroad) +8"

3. Laurens ten Dam (Netherlands / Rabobank) +10"

4. Michael Matthews (Australia / Rabobank) +12"

5. Francisco Ventoso (Spain / Movistar) +17"

6. Ben Swift (Britain / Team Sky) +18"

7. Blel Kadri (France / AG2R) +26"

8. Andre Greipel (Germany / Omega Pharma - Lotto) +27"

9. Allan Davis (Australia / Astana) +28"

10. Luke Roberts (Australia / Australia)

More Than The Games / Eurosport

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