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“Some rivals of Robert took some seconds, but that was unavoidable. The sprints were a matter of life or death. For Robert, there was nothing to gain. It would have been a waste of his energy. In the end, it was a good day for us,&quo...

Photo: Belkin Pro Cycling Team








24.01.2014 @ 13:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Belkin again showed that they master the crosswinds when they kept Robert Gesink well-protected on today's windy fourth stage of the Tour Down Under. Despite conceding a few seconds to some of his rivals, the Dutch captain remains in 5th place overall and the team is now looking forward to the showdown on Willunga Hill.


Robert Gesink is still in the hunt for a top ranking in the Tour Down Under after day four of the WorldTour race. The leader of the Belkin Pro Cycling Team - still fifth in the GC after Friday – avoided danger to cross the line 15th. Although Lotto-Belisol’s André Greipel won the 148-kilometre stage to Victor Harbor in a bunch sprint, it certainly wasn’t an easy day in the saddle. 

Initially, the riders had to stay focused due to heavy wind. A climb midway through the stage saw the peloton split into two groups. The peloton broke at that point but thanks to a recon of Sports Director Erik Dekker, the Belkin Boys were at the front at the right moment.


“We were well-positioned at that point. We knew we had to sit at the front there," he


Moreover, Simon Gerrans’ Orica-GreenEdge made the race hard by riding aggressively for the bonus seconds at two intermediate sprints. The second-place Australian succeeded in his mission and took five seconds back on race leader Cadel Evans (BMC). He and Diego Ulissi and Nathan Haas also increased their gaps to Gesink a little bit. 

 “Some rivals of Robert took some seconds, but that was unavoidable,” Dekker said afterwards. “The sprints were a matter of life or death. For Robert, there was nothing to gain. It would have been a waste of his energy. In the end, it was a good day for us. We are confident for tomorrow. So far it’s going well.” 


On Saturday, the peloton awaits the decisive uphill finish on Willunga Hill. Stef Clement – who finished 17th today and seems to be finding his rhythm – knows what's at stake. 

“Tomorrow the GC can be flipped upside down," he said. "For us as a team, it’s important to ensure that Robert will start the climb fresh. On Willunga Hill, it’s a one-on-one battle. Robert feels super good. My legs seem to be getting better as well. My first day wasn’t too good, I really noticed that this is my first race of the year, but slowly my race mode is coming back.”


Gesink is 29 seconds behind overall leader Cadel Evans (BMC).



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