WINNING MOVE: Simon Gerrans (centre) is protected by his Orica-GreenEDGE teammates during the final stage of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
WINNING MOVE: Simon Gerrans (centre) is protected by his Orica-GreenEDGE teammates during the final stage of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. AAP

Gerrans finishes on top in Tour Down Under

VICTORIAN Simon Gerrans has celebrated Australia Day by becoming the first rider in the 15-year history of the Tour Down Under to win the race three times.

The Orica-GreenEDGE rider, the champion in 2006 and 2012, finished five seconds ahead of compatriot and 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC). Italian rider Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) finished third overall.

Gerrans, who started the day with a one-second lead over Evans, was full of praise for his teammates after finishing safely in the peloton to secure his historic win.

"The guys did a fantastic job. They kept me right up the front there out of trouble, well protected, to make sure I would avoid any splits in the peloton and I finished right up there in the front so it worked out beautifully," he said.

German sprinter Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), who finished 46th overall, won the final stage, an 85.5km race through the Adelaide CBD.



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