ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 25, 2009 (AFP) – Quick Step sprinter Allan Davis
secured overall victory in the Tour Down Under here Sunday after the final
stage victory of Italian Francesco Chicchi.
Chicchi handed his Liquigas team their first notable victory of the year
after bursting through a quality field containing Australian rivals Robbie
McEwen and Graeme Brown.
Davis becomes the sixth Australian to win the race, whose 11th edition
prompted a huge wave of support across southern Australia — and was followed
around the world — due to the presence of American Lance Armstrong.
The seven-time Tour de France winner was using the race as his comeback
event after a three-and-a-half year hiatus from the sport — and even on the
final day gave the fans reason to cheer.
Armstrong attacked the main peloton on the second last of the race’s 18
laps, quickly closing the gap to a small group of riders that had originally
been part of an earlier 13-man breakaway.
The 37-year-old American’s move was great for television but only forced
the chasing peloton to counter-attack and catch the frontrunners quicker than
On the final lap Armstrong dropped back into the relative safety of the
group ahead of the bunch sprint on a slight uphill leading to the finish line.
Brown, who won a stage earlier this week for his Rabobank team, appeared to
infringe the rules by veering off his line and then disaster struck when one
of his shoes unclipped in the dying meters.
Chicchi started his drive to the line late, but timed it to perfection to
come through the middle and snatch victory on the line.