This year's Santos Tour Down Under has seen its share of superhuman feats, but if the final stage told us anything, it's that sometimes less is more, writes Anthony Tan from Adelaide, South Australia.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:39 PM

It could have gone either way.

Had Richie Porte, without doubt the strongest rider in this year's race, timed his moment 500-700 metres later on Paracombe, he, not Rohan Dennis, would have be wearing ochre Sunday in Adelaide.

Conversely, had the Tasmanian launched his series of salvos a few hundred metres earlier yesterday on Old Willunga Hill, he would likely also be the 2015 race winner. "Richie went, in hindsight, probably a bit too late, because really, he had better legs than me today, so I gotta thank him," Dennis said after another scintillating battle on the mountain, which saw him preserve his race lead by two seconds.

The closest winning margin in Tour de France history is eight seconds, when Greg LeMond, the honourary guest at this year's Santos Tour Down Under, defeated Laurent Fignon on the final day of the 1989 Tour; a 24.5 kilometre individual time trial from Versailles to Paris' Champs-Élysées.

In the last 17 years, since its inception in 1999, no less than eight editions of the TDU have been won and lost by margins equal to or less than that.

Almost one in every two years. But never in 17 editions has the race been won or lost on the final day.

Which begs the question: Why bother with what is essentially a procession or exhibition race - what's more, an exhibition the race already has, in the form of the People's Choice Classic?

For a WorldTour event, do we really need two criteriums in the space of a week?

I was there on Adelaide's King William Road today, and the number of journalists in the media compound were in single digits.

The ones who were there? They, including yours truly, were simply counting down the laps, waiting for it to be over. A crash on the penultimate lap awoke us from our pseudo slumber, before predictably, a sprint finish to end proceedings.

As for the crowd? Well, they weren't exactly going ballistic with excitement. King William Road isn't our best answer to the Champs-Élysées.

This isn't how cycling should be.

What made the 1989 Tour so memorable was not just the miniscule winning margin, but that the race, after 3,285.3 kilometres, was decided on the final day.

Invariably, the Willunga stage attracts the greatest interest, largest crowds, most vociferous fans - not to mention decides the overall winner - so why not make it the final day of the TDU, as opposed to a 'nothing stage' that simply allows a sprinter to strutt their stuff, something they've done at least three times already that week?

No doubt about it, the TDU is a world class race, and thoroughly deserves its place in the WorldTour. But sometimes in cycling, less is definitely more.