Welshman Stephen Williams of Israel Premier Tech has stormed home to claim the Schwalbe Stage 6 win and overall title of the 2024 Santos Tour Down Under on Sunday.
27yo Williams edged out Ineos Grenadiers’ Jhonatan Narvaez and Isaac Del Toro Romero of UAE Team Emirates who finished second and third respectively, in both Schwalbe Stage 6 and overall.
The trio were locked in a battle in the race to the finish with Del Toro Romero leading the way until the last few hundred metres.
In the final sprint, Williams shot past his rivals and crossed the line in the Ochre Jersey to secure top spot in the General Classification.
“I’m over the moon, really happy and really pleased to finish it off,” said the Welsh puncheur.
“I knew we’d give ourselves a good chance today on Lofty, it’s a perfect finish for me.
“To come in a small, select group like that I’d always back myself going to the line in a sprint so, to do it in this jersey as well makes it even more special.”
After starting in Unley, riders went early with the first King of the Mountain climb points available just 3.8kms from the start.
Jersey leader Luke Burns of ARA Australian Cycling Team amongst those leading the charge.
Burns finished second behind Team Jayco AlUla’s Chris Harper, further cementing his lead in the climbing classification.
With around 100kms to race, a group of seven broke away including Stefan De Bod from EF Education Easy-Post and Simon Geschke of Cofidis, who were both under two minutes off the lead in the General Classification.
The breakaway continued to push ahead and lead the peloton by as much as three minutes after 40kms. With De Bod among the bunch, he took the lead in the virtual standings.
The peloton was consistently around three minutes behind the breakaway, but began reeling them in with under 50kms to go before the gap was slashed to under 90 seconds with 33kms remaining.
With 7.5kms to race, there was a crash towards the back of the peloton with a bunch of riders hitting the deck, with the frontrunners avoiding getting caught up in the tangle. The breakaway was officially caught inside the final three kms to set up a thrilling finish which culminated in a scintillating final 300 metres.
West Australian Sam Welsford of Bora-Hansgrohe was the winner of the Ziptrak Sprint classification following three stage wins.
“It’s definitely more than I was expecting to come away with here at the Tour Down Under but the boys have been super magical,” said Welsford.
General Classification Winner: Stephen Williams, Israel Premier Tech
Overall Stage Winner: Stephen Williams, Israel Premier Tech
Ziptrak Sprint Classifications Winner: Sam Welsford, Bora-Hansgrohe
efex King of the Mountain Winner: Luke Burns, Australia National Team
Zwift Best Young Rider Leader: Isaac Del Toro Romero, UAE Team Emirates
Yamaha Most Competitive Rider: Antonio Morgado, UAE Team Emirates
General Team Classification winner: Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale