Kirsipuu overcomes age and rivals in Herald Sun Tour
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Kirsipuu overcomes age and rivals in Herald Sun Tour

by Conal Andrews at 6:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
He may be 40 years of age, but the speed which carried Jaan Kirsipuu to four Tour de France stage wins saw him gallop to victory on the opening stage of the Herald Sun Tour earlier today.

Racing with the LeTua team in the Australian race, the Estonian rider beat Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) and Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) to the line in Ballarat, with British rider Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) leading home the rest of the bunch some four seconds later.

Strong crosswinds split the peloton 30 kilometres into the 149 kilometre stage; just 41 riders were left up front, and Kirsipuu had no team-mates. He confessed after the stage that when the pressure was on, not being dropped was a bigger concern than not having support.

"I am used to being alone, even when I was with the big teams,” he told media after the stage. “I did not have my best legs today especially at the beginning because I have no racing for three weeks. But as the stage went on, it started to feel a bit better," he explained.

Kirsipuu won his final stage of the Tour de France in 2004 and then two years later walked away from the pro scene, saying that he was tired of the pressure to win. He continued to race, though, and has had a solid season this year. He took one stage victory in the Tour du Cameroun and the Tour du Maroc, then netted two in the FBD Insurance Rás.

"I never retired. For the last two years I have been mostly at home in Estonia but I never stopped riding. Now I am riding around the world in places I did not ride so much before," he said, before emphasising that he’s determined to remain competitive. "If I have a number on my back, I am a rider. I don't want to feel ridiculous."

Kirsipuu missed several crashes, including one inside the final kilometre. He then timed his move perfectly and took both the stage win and the first yellow jersey.

"I saw the Garmin guys leading out and for me it was just a question to keep on Chris Sutton's wheel,” he said. “With 200 metres to go I decided to kick and was a little bit afraid that the others might catch me, but it was okay.”

After the various time bonuses were calculated, he ended the stage one second ahead of Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia). Sutton is a further three seconds back.

The 2.1-ranked race continues tomorrow with a 141 kilometre race from Colac to Warrnambool. Kirsipuu downplays any notion that he is an overall contender for the race, but he’ll enjoy the experience of riding once again with a leader’s jersey and, of course, seek to profit whenever the stages end in bunch gallops.


Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Victoria, Australia (2.1), October 11-17:

October 12, Stage 1: Ballarat:

1, Jaan Kirsipuu (LeTua) 149 kilometres in 3 hours 41 mins 54 secs
2, Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream)
3, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) both same time
4, Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) at 4 secs
5, David Pell (Savings & Loans)
6, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) both same time

KOM 1:

1, Alex Howes (Garmin-Slipstream) 6 pts
2, Jai Crawford (Savings & Loans) 4
3, Paul Mach (Bissell Pro Cycling) 2


1, Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche) 12 pts
2, Alex Howes (Garmin-Slipstream) 8
3, Kiel Reijnen (Jelly Belly) 4

Sprint 1:

1, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) 6 pts
2, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) 4
3, Joe Lewis (Drapac Porsche) 2

Sprint 2:

1, Richard Lang (Budget Forklifts) 6
2, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) 4
3, Joe Lewis (Drapac Porsche) 2

Sprint – finish:

1, Jaan Kirsipuu (LeTua) 10 pts
2, Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) 8
3, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) 6

General classification :

1, Jaan Kirsipuu (LeTua) at 3 hours 41 mins 44 secs
2, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) at 1 secs
3, Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) at 4 secs
4, Richard Lang (Budget Forklifts) at 11 secs
5, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) at 12 secs
6, Joe Lewis (Drapac Porsche) same time

Mountains classification:

1, Alex Howes (Garmin-Slipstream) 14 pts
2, Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche) 12
3, Kiel Reijnen (Jelly Belly) 4

Sprint classification:

1, Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) 16 pts
2, Jaan Kirsipuu (LeTua) 10
3, Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) 8

Best Young Rider:

1, Richard Lang (Budget Forklifts) at 3 hours 41 mins 55 secs
2, Joe Lewis (Drapac Porsche) at 1 secs
3, Mitchell Pearson (Prime Estate) at 3 secs

Teams classification:

1, Garmin Slipstream (1) 1 hour 5 mins 50 secs
2, Fly V Australia (Australia) same time
3, Rapha Condor (Great Britain 4 secs


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