The No. 1 goal of the US-based Garmin-Cervelo cycling team today is to protect the slim 8-second lead that Cameron Meyer holds over the field as the Tour Down Under comes to an end.
The 23-year-old Australian gained the leader's ochre jersey in Stage 4 and kept it after Stage 5 by finishing in the leader's group behind winner Francisco Ventoso (Movistar). He lost only 4 seconds to fellow countryman and chief rival Matthew Goss of HTC-Columbia.
The final stage is a 90km (55-mile) circuit race around Adelaide. The flat course features some hairpin turns in the 20-lap race that traditionally ends in a bunch sprint. It begins at 1:15 p.m. Sunday Australia time, which is 9:45 p.m. (ET) / 6:45 p.m. (PT) Saturday in the US.
Live streaming of the final stage is available beginning at 9:30 p.m. (ET) / 6:30 p.m. (PT) Saturday at Versus.com.
Meyer, currently the Australian national time trial champion and formerly a track champion, will be counting on teammates Tyler Farrar, Matthew Wilson, Travis Meyer and Jack Bobridge to control any attacks and perhaps steal time bonuses from his rivals.
That's essentially how Garmin sustained the lead in Stage 5, a 131km (81-mile) race from McLaren Vale to Willunga that passed over the toughest climb in the race, Old Willunga Hill, twice.
Goss, a 24-year-old from Tasmania, finished in 3rd place on Stage 5. He won Stage 1 and has been in the ochre jersey for two days. He said that he still has a good chance of winning the race:
“I can try and get some bonus seconds and try and get the win I've been so close all week. I've been in and out of the jersey so if the pattern keeps going the way it has it's my turn to get back into the jersey tomorrow.”
Meyer says he feels strong and is looking for help from his teammates:
“I'll be having fingers crossed, hopefully Tyler (Farrar) and Julian (Dean) get time bonuses over the sprinters, but it's going to come right down to the wire. But I have a good team around me and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”
The Versus cable TV channel broadcasts highlights of Stage 5 at 6 p.m. (ET) / 3 p.m. (PT) Saturday and Stage 6 at 5 p.m. (ET) / 2 p.m. (PT) Sunday.
The top 10 overall
1. Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo)
2. Matthew Goss (HTC-Columbia) 8 seconds
3. Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank) 10 seconds
4. Michael Matthews (Rabobank) 12 seconds
5. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) 17 seconds
6. Ben Swift (Sky) 18 seconds
7. Blel Kadri (AG2R) 26 seconds
8. Andre Greipel (Omega) 27 seconds
9. Allan Davis (Astana) 28 seconds
10. Luke Roberts (Uni SA) 28 seconds
66. Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) 5:44
120. Tyler Farrar (Garmin) 22:44
130. Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) 31:26