Gerrans wins on Australia Day, Slagter takes lead

Updated 26 January 2013
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Gerrans wins on Australia Day, Slagter takes lead

ADELAIDE, Australia: Local hero Simon Gerrans celebrated Australia’s national day in style with a thrilling win in the fifth stage of the Tour Down Under on Saturday.
Gerrans flashed home to edge out Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter, who seized the overall lead from Welshman Geraint Thomas with another superb ride.
Gerrans, the 2012 champion from Australian team Orica GreenEDGE, sent the huge crowd at the finish line on top of Old Willunga Hill into raptures as he passed Slagter with 200 meters to go and held on to win his first stage of the week.
Slagter’s second place was enough to see the Blanco Pro Cycling rider take the ochre leader’s jersey from Thomas, who was well in contention until he ran out of steam 600 meters from the finish line.
Thomas slipped back to 17th place, 28 seconds behind the Dutchman, and now lies in fifth place in the general classification, well out of contention for overall honors with only Sunday’s 90-kilometer (56 miles) stage on the Adelaide street circuit remaining.
Slagter, 23, had celebrated his first win as a professional when he won Wednesday’s second stage to Stirling.
He is now almost certain to be crowned overall winner when the race finishes on Sunday, giving Blanco, formerly known as Rabobank, a win in their first race as a new team.
“This whole week has been amazing for all the team — the first win for me and today I can hang this (ochre) jersey around my shoulders, it’s amazing,” he said.
Slagter said he hoped the success would help attract a new sponsor, following Rabobank’s decision to withdraw funding in the wake of doping scandals.
“For everyone it’s the first race so to go home with the stage win and hopefully the general, it’s the best start you can have,” he said.
“This is the best way to show to the Dutch people and the world how nice cycling can be and what we can do.
“I’m proud of the team and I hope we can find a new sponsor.”
Saturday’s 151.5-kilometer stage from McLaren Vale to the top of Old Willunga Hill saw the riders complete three circuits around Aldinga Beach before two climbs up the infamous Category One hill.
A group of seven broke away on the first of the three beach circuits and at one stage had opened a gap of over four minutes.
But the peloton picked up the pace and gathered them in right at the start of the first climb up Old Willunga.
Movistar’s Eros Capecchi and Jose Herrada Lopez then attacked on the hill along with AG2R La Mondiale’s Guillaume Bonnafond, and they were soon joined by Jurgen Roelandts from Lotto Belisol.
The four riders crossed the top of the hill 300 meters ahead of the peloton and opened a slight lead on the last circuit before the final climb.
However, the peloton closed again and the race was back together at the bottom of the hill, when the final attacks began.
Swiss rider Steve Morabito (BMC Racing), Portugal’s Tiago Machado (RadioShack Leopard) and German Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) opened a small break, before Machado tried to go on his own.
With 800 meters to go Gerrans flew from the front of the peloton and passed Machado, only for Slagter to go past them both, leaving a spent Thomas in his wake.
However, Gerrans stayed on Slagter’s wheel and delighted the fans when he overtook the young Dutchman.
“I’ve been really struggling with my asthma and today was the first day that my chest was clear,” Gerrans said.


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.