Rohan Dennis has claimed the 2015 Santos Tour Down Under, after seeing out a nervy final stage in Adelaide.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Dennis and BMC rode the final stage in a controlled manner, helping the South Australian stay near the front of the bunch throughout, and neutralising any attempt from Richie Porte to snag the two seconds he needed to win ochre. Porte and Dennis both steered clear of a mass crash in the final two laps to finish with the bunch, and end first and second overall.

"I had to make sure that I kept within distance of Richie and especially after that little spill on about two-and-a half to go.," Dennis said of the stage.

"It's just about following him and making sure that if there was a split it wasn't too hard to just jump across and make sure there were no splits in the finish. BMC rode awesomely again. I could not fault them, they sat at the front, they made sure I was out of the wind – even when I got pushed back, someone always jumped back and pulled me back forward.

"Hats off to them again, they really helped me win this and made it look a lot easier. It's a great feeling, a great win in my career."

Porte, second overall, described it as a good start to the year.

Cadel Evans was third, ending his WorldTour career with aplomb, while the KOM went to UniSA-Australia's Jack Bobridge, and the points jersey was wrapped up by Orica-GreenEDGE's Daryl Impey.

Meanwhile, stage honours were decided as expected on the 90km flat Adelaide circuit by a sprint. In a tight finish Wouter Wippert snagged Drapac's first win at the Tour with a great turn of speed, leaving IAM's Heinrich Haussler to settle for second, and Lotto-Soudal's Boris Vallee third.

It was a milestone for Wippert and Drapac who come to the Santos Tour Down Under, a WorldTour race, as wildcard invites by race organisers.

Stage 6: Adelaide, 90km
1 Wouter Wippert (NED) Drapac 1hr 56min 09sec
2 Heinrich Haussler (AUS) IAM Cycling
3 Boris Vallée (BEL) Lotto Soudal
4 Pavel Brutt (RUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
6 Niccolò Bonifazio (ITA) Lampre-Merida
7 Steele von Hoff (AUS) UniSA-Australia
8 Ruslan Tleubayev (KAZ) Astana Pro Team
9 Rudiger Selig (GER) Team Katusha
10 Sébastien Chavanel (FRA)

General Classification
1 Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team 19hr 15min 18sec
2 Richie Porte (AUS) Team Sky 0:00:02
3 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team 0:00:20
4 Tom Dumoulin (NED) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:22
5 Rubén Fernandez (ESP) Movistar Team 0:00:24
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:31
7 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:35
8 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (ESP) Movistar Team 0:00:52
9 Jarlinson Pantano (COL) IAM Cycling 0:00:53
10 George Bennett (NZL) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:57

Wouter Wippert wins the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, and gets the first win of the event for his Drapac team. Rohan Dennis wins the overall.

Massive crash, that has left at least half, perhaps more of the peloton detached. Marcel Kittel among those distanced. Final lap now.

Etixx-Quickstep lining the front. Probably riding for Mark Renshaw, but possible also that Gianni Meersman is their man.

Marcel Kittel moving forward in the bunch as the gap to the escape melts further. Break in sight. It's going to come back together now. Bunch sprint looming.

The gap has fallen significantly in the last 15 kilometres. But the break still has 23 seconds with two laps to go. Panic setting in?

BMC will be happy with this break. If it stays like this, Dennis will be confirmed the Tour winner as long as there are no splits in the peloton. Dangerous gap though for the team's looking for a sprint.

A break of six riders has now formed and they've immediately built an advantage of a minute. The riders are Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin), Chris Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo), Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal), Lars Boom (Astana), and Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo). Drapac chasing with BMC. Giant-Alpecin also present.

The former break has been swallowed up and Daryl Impey has picked up the first intermediate sprint, giving him 3pts and 3sec of bonus time. Not insignificant either. Impey can leapfrog Domenico Pozzovivo if he can find another four seconds today and move into 6th overall. Every point he gets also edges him closer to sealing the points jersey. He now leads Tom Dumoulin by 6pts.

2:40PM: Five riders still clear, but the gap is hardly moving. 15sec now. Orica-GreenEDGE leading the chase.

Break of five riders has formed off the front: Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin), Gerg Henderson (Lotto-Soudal), Calvin Watson (Trek), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Alex Gougeard (Ag2R). They have 20 seconds.

First lap completed and no escape yet formed. 19 laps to go for Dennis to win the Tour.

2:00PM: Racing now underway.

Race just under an hour from starting but let's check out the other classifications. The Points Class. has Daryl Impey in the lead, but Tom Dumoulin, three points back could still threaten the South African. In the KOM, well Jack Bobridge wrapped up that jersey yesterday with his gutsy ride in the breakaway with Jordan Kerby and Greg Henderson. Bobridge is two points clear of Rohan Dennis and can theoretically lose the jersey if Dennis contests the climbs and Bobridge doesn't score points. And in the best young rider's jersey, Rohan Dennis looks untroubled. 22 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin it would take a disaster to see the South Australian slip from the lead there. Dennis has won the best young rider's jersey once before, in 2012.

Well. This could be interesting. Tram tracks on course.

Another team looking for its first win - Drapac Professional Cycling. Wouter Wippert will be the team's number one, and he's been close on a few stages. And a big part of his success will come down to Graeme Brown's leadout. Brown is riding his 13th Tour Down Under and oozes experience. He may not be as quick as he once was, but he's certainly no slouch.

Enough about yesterday. What about today? Well, it's a short 90km circuit race. We expect it'll end in a sprint, with Marcel Kittel and Steele Von Hoff to be among the front runners. Heinrich Haussler has yet to get himself off the mark, he'll be chasing the win no doubt, and JJ Lobato - why not?

Another story from overnight. The Roman Kreuziger case continues to roll on. The Czech's most recent PR stunt has been to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence. That may help his cause in the court of public opinion, but we can't see what it'll do for him against the UCI or CAS. You can read more on that story here.

Speaking of yesterday, this image from Graham Watson really captured everything about Porte's performance. Dennis struggling to keep in touch as the Australian grimaces, throwing everything at the final few hundred metres of the climb. Chapeau Mr Watson.

For his part Porte appears fairly resigned to the race outcome. He said yesterday he hadn't given up on sneaking the two seconds required through a split in the bunch, but was realistic. Yesterday he wowed the crowds on Willunga with a phenomenal display of attacking racing, dropping all and sundry as he raced to his second stage win on the legendary climb in as many years. While disappointed he couldn't win the event - he was also close last year - Porte said he's encouraged by his form heading into the season proper.

"I'm in a much better mindset this year - I have been much more professional in my off season and I am healthy and so motivated going into this season," he said.

You can read more of that story, and Porte's feelings about yesterday, here.

Dennis put in a determined ride yesterday on Old Willunga Hill to stave off Porte narrowly. Dennis conceded the stage win, but held on for second on the stage, and kept the ochre leader's jersey. Dennis first rode the Santos Tour Down Under in 2010 with the UniSA-Australia team as a 19 year old. He returned in 2012, and finished fifth overall, winning best young rider - helping him to the WorldTour with Garmin-Sharp. If he can close out the Tour win today, it'll rate among the biggest victories of his career. He told AAP this morning that he's confident he can defend his lead today.

"It's going to be a defensive game," Dennis said. I do sprint better than Richie, so I'm very confident. We just have to stay at the front, stay out of trouble and really just follow him.

"If he sprints and I sprint, there's no reason I won't beat him."

Rohan Dennis holds the overall lead into the Santos Tour Down Under's final stage, the Adelaide Street Circuit. Dennis has a two second advantage over Team Sky's Richie Porte, and while that may be slender, it's going to be tough for the pint-sized Porte to get any time back on today's pancake flat parcours.

All updates will be made in AEDT.

Here's what today's stage looks like. A hot dog course in Adelaide's CBD. 90km in store for riders, with racing getting underway at 2:00PM AEDT.