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Santos Tour Down Under. Stage 5. Fabio Felline is 9th in dramatic stage final

A group of riders have attacked close to the top of Kerby Hill, the only climb of stage 5 with 20 km to go to try to isolate the sprinters. This attack created a small group of riders, who stayed away for the next 14 km, but after a hard chase the main peloton with all the sprinters inside came across them with 6 km to go to play the stage victory in a dramatic final.

Astana Pro Team was very active in the second half of the stage (Glenelg – Victor Harbor, 149.1 km), firstly working hard in front to neutralize the four-men breakaway and later to increase the pace on the climb for Luis Leon Sanchez and Omar Fraile. Unfortunately, both Astana Pro Team rider just missed a little to do selection in that small leading group, but, finally, they came back in front together with the sprinter’s peloton.

The Italian Giacomo Nizzolo took the final sprint to win the fifth stage ahead of Simone Consonni and Sam Bennett. Astana’s Fabio Felline took another Top-10 placement for the Kazakh team, finishing 9th. Both, Luis Leon Sanchez (20th place) and Omar Fraile (25th place) finished in the first group.

Unfortunately, after yesterday’s crash two-time the most competitive rider here at the Santos Tour Down Under Laurens De Vreese had to abandon the race due to the pain in the left shoulder. 

- This morning Laurens still had some serious pain in the shoulder, and we decided to stop him here and to do additional medical checking to find a problem. Talking about the stage, I think we can be happy with the way we did it. When a break of 4 riders went away, Daniil Fominykh and Manuele Boaro worked hard in front of the pack to catch them back. Later, at the bottom of the climb Dmitriy Gruzdev did a great job to bring Sanchez, Fraile and Felline in front. Our guys were on a good position the most part of the climb, but on the top a few riders were just a bit stronger. Luis Leon and Omar crossed the top of the climb just few seconds after the leaders, immediately starting chasing. Finally, them both as well as Fabio Felline joined the front group. In the end we tried to do a sprint and Fabio was able to finish 9th. Of course, there are some riders, who are in better form right now, but I think we are on the right way in this early start of the season, - said Stefano Zanini.

Daryl Impey became the new overall leader of the race, while Luis Leon Sanchez and Omar Fraile are at 22nd and 23rd positions, 39 seconds behind the leader.

Tomorrow will be held the last, 6th stage of the Santos Tour Down Under. It will be a classical stage from McLaren Vale to the top of the iconic climb Willunga Hill with a total distance of 151.5 km.

Photo credit: © Getty Images

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