McEwen on top at Tour Down Under bike race

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If there were a jersey for consistency, RadioShack's Robbie McEwen would certainly be wearing it at the Tour Down Under bike race. Instead, he's in the prestigious overall leader's ochre-colored jersey.

The veteran Australian sprint specialist has finished in the top 3 in the preview and stages 1 and 2 at the 6-day bicycle race that ends Sunday in Adelaide.

He took the overall leader's jersey from HTC-Columbia's Matt Goss after finishing 2nd to stage winner Ben Swift (Sky) in the 146km (90-mile) race from Tailem Bend to Mannum on Wednesday.


The top four leaders all have the same official time.

Goss and his team leader Mark Cavendish found themselves delayed by the crashes that interrupted the final few kilometers of the race, with Cavendish needing stitches. However, Swift and McEwen were able to avoid those mishaps.

McEwen's famous teammate, Lance Armstrong, finished in the lead group on Stage 2 and is ranked 60th overall, just 10 seconds behind the leader. Another American, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) may have stumbled into that final crash as his leadout man, Cameron Meyer, went over his handlebars.

Stage 3 rolls out for 129km from Unley to Stirling. It starts at 11 a.m. Thursday Australia time; that's 7:30 p.m. (ET) 4:30 p.m. (PT) Wednesday in the US. Versus will broadcast the Stage 2 highlights at 6 p.m. (ET) / 3 p.m. (PT) on Wednesday.


McEwen, 38, says he's in the last year of his career as a professional cyclist.

He started out cycling with Rabobank in 1996, but raced mostly on the Belgium-based cycling team sponsored by the Belgian lottery. Last year he raced on Russia-based Team Katusha and switched over to RadioShack at the beginning of 2011.

He has 11 Tour de France stage wins to his credet, and last year finished in 4th place overall in last year's Tour Down Under won by another sprinter, Andre Greipel.

Top 10 overall

1. Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)

2. Matt Goss (HTC-Columbia)

3. Ben Swift (Sky)

4. Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), 4 seconds

5. Mitchell Docker (UniSA), 4 seconds

6. Graeme Brown (Rabobank), 6 seconds

7. David Tanner (Saxo Bank), 6 seconds

8. Mathieu Perget (AG2R), 7 seconds

9. Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), 7 seconds

10. Simon Zahner (BMC), 7 seconds

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