Phil Anderson OAM
Phil Anderson is Australia's first cyclist to ever pull on the Tour de France yellow jersey after a stage win, and he joins the Wide World of Sports website for our coverage of the 2012 Tour Down Under.
As Simon Gerrans prepares for a final tilt at the Tour Down Under title, I wonder if he’s thinking he’s been let down? GreenEDGE haven’t exactly been disgraced this week, but I think we were all expecting a bit more from them. When it came to the crunch on the penultimate fifth stage, his teammates simply weren’t there to help.
Gerrans came up the imposing Willunga Hill with one lap to go and he was totally isolated. He had to tackle the entire last lap by himself which made him vulnerable to attacks. Luckily, he’s a smart rider. He played off the others and, in the end, his game-plan worked out perfectly to see him hit the line alongside Spain’s Alejandro Valverde.
GreenEDGE must learn from their mistakes and make the appropriate adjustments if Gerrans is to be considered any chance of winning general classification on the final 90km stage around the streets of Adelaide.
From what we’ve seen so far, there’s little doubt that Valverde has got the stronger team. He had plenty of guys helping him out over Willunga Hill and they’ll be working for him again in Adelaide.
But that’s not to say Gerrans isn’t a chance. I truly hope he can win and I think most of Australia will be behind him. Coming to the finish line, it’ll just be a matter of positioning, with Gerrans and Valverde trying to outmanoeuvre each other in what promises to be a spectacle. Indeed, the last stage is always entertaining. Just watch all of the Aussies trying to show their colours in front of the home crowd.
And what a way it will be to finish after the incredible fifth stage. It was the first time in the tour's 14-year history that a stage had finished at the top of the 3km Old Willunga Hill climb and it was very exciting from a spectators’ point of view.
Everything just came together on the last climb after numerous attacks and I’d imagine that we’ll now see a finish like that every year. It may not be on Willunga Hill, but certainly another climb.
The organisers did a remarkable job. I rode up Willunga Hill about a week ago and there’s not a single power point up there. It really is iconic Australia, nothing but bushland, so to see it with all that infrastructure along with a massive crowd, was just extraordinary.
Phil Anderson is a Skoda Ambassador at the Tour Down Under