Start Location: McLaren Vale
End Location: Willunga Hill
Start Location: McLaren Vale
End Location: Willunga Hill
Hello and welcome to live coverage from the Queen stage of this year's Tour Down Under.
Can anyone stop Richie Porte - Podcast
Tour Down Under 2018 hub page
Tour Down Under 2018 race preview
Tour Down Under 2018 start list
Hansen caught in crossfire as tempers flare at Tour Down Under
Peter Sagan: I didn't expect to climb like that
And immediately five riders jump clear of the peloton. We have one chaser trying to make contact but that could be our break. Another other is coming along as well. Thomas De Gendt is there.
While we wait for the racing to start, why not download the latest CN podcast. You can hear from Sagan, Porte, Haas and Impey. Here's the podcast.
The peloton are on the startline and we're off. 5.6km of neutralized roads as we see Mike Turtur peep his head out of the race jury car's sun roof.
One rider who will be hoping for quiet day today is Adam Hansen. He had a heated debate yesterday after the stage with one rider informing the Lotto man that the conditions were too hot to race. Hansen is the CPA rep but he's not the race jury. He spoke to us last night about the incident. You can read the story right here.
Peter Sagan will be at the of today's outcome. The party line is that he will work for McCarthy today but as we've seen in the last few days it's the world champion who has the better legs and the better sprint. The climb up to Willunga suits Porte - it's a power climb but it's long enough for Porte to make that power-to-weight ratio work in his favour.
The neutralized start will kick-off in around 8 minutes time. Nearly ever rider has signed on - there are a few stragglers but we're also at 'full-house' stage. There's a bit of a ramp just after the start, so that's probably where some attacks will come. The temperatures have dropped into the high 20s today so we should see more aggressive racing than we've seen at some of the start.
Ahead of the stage our very own Zeb Woodpower talked to Matt White from Mitchelton Scott. Here's what the Australian team DS had to say.
"It goes without saying that this is Richie Porte's stage. He knows where to go, everybody knows where he goes, but nobody can react. Richie is definitely the favourite for Willunga and depending on where he is sitting on GC going into this stage as to how far out he will have to attack. My bet is the 1km to go banner.
"It will play like previous years with the early break looking for bonus seconds or television time and exposure for sponsors, but it will always be caught. You think whoever is leading the race will want to catch them by the start of the second lap. You don't want to be playing around.
"It is really hard to name a challenger until you see the official start list. I would think that Sergio Henao would be here again and the race does really suit him. Richie is definitely the favourite due to his talents as a world-class climber and, for me, the best 5-7 day rider for GC in the world.
"There are always European surprises or guys who have had a big off-season and come out flying like Mr Tom-Jelte Slagter a couple of years ago, but I think they will struggle to win the stage."
Over in the distance Stuart O'Grady is co-commentating for Australian television. He's actually very good, considering he's only done it once.
So Porte has signed on, and so have most of the riders this morning. The race announcers are in their customary positions - standing about three inches away from each other, microphones in hands, staring into each other’s eyes as they unleash their inner monologues on the poor unsuspecting members of the public. I’m pretty sure that one of them ran out of things to say on Wednesday and just started reading from the user manual of a Ford Capri Mk II .
McCarthy and Impey, they're probably the dark horses for today... they can both climb and they can both sprint so Porte will need to put considerable time into them before tomorrow's sprint stage in the centre of the city. Luis Leon Sanchez, George Bennett, and Robert Gesink - don't rule them out either.
There's also talk of a headwind on the climb too. That will not favour a Porte style attack on the climb, and will reduce the potential time gap he could put into his rivals.
Richie Porte, however, is the big favourite for today. He's won on Willunga for the last four years running and knows the climb like the back of his hand... and if there's one thing we know about Richie Porte it's that he knows his hands.
Here's how things stand coming into the stage, with world champion and next star of Tattoo fixers, Peter Sagan, leading the standings. The Bora rider was in impressive form on Friday and picked up his first win of the season. He's in with a real shout of winning this race.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 14:19:49
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:02
3 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:09
4 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:10
5 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:14
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
8 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo
9 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
10 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Team Sky
Oh hello, I didn't see you come in there.
Welcome to the Cyclingews live coverage from stage 5 of the Tour Down Under. Today is the Queen stage of the race with the finish up Willunga Hill. The sun is out, the riders are signing on and we're about 35 minutes away from the stage start.