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“I think I have caught a few people by surprise there, myself included, that I can beat some top sprinters and get a back-to-back victory at the Santos Tour Down Under."

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXEI TSATEVICH

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ASTANA - PREMIER TECH

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BOY VAN POPPEL

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DAVID TANNER

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DIEGO ULISSI

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EF EDUCATION - NIPPO

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ENRICO BATTAGLIN

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GERAINT THOMAS

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GIACOMO NIZZOLO

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IAM CYCLING

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JAY MCCARTHY

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JOSE JOAQUIN ROJAS GIL

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JUAN JOSE LOBATO

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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LEIGH HOWARD

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LIEUWE WESTRA

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MICHAEL WOODS

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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RAFAEL VALLS

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REINARDT JANSE VAN RENSBURG

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RICHIE PORTE

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ROHAN DENNIS

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SERGEY LAGUTIN

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SERGIO LUIS HENAO

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SIMON GERRANS

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SIMON GESCHKE

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SKY

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOBIAS LUDVIGSSON

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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22.01.2016 @ 14:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) put himself in the perfect position to take a record fourth overall win in the Tour Down Under when he became the first rider since André Greipel in 2010 to take back-to-back stage wins in the race. When the fourth stage was decided in a reduce bunch sprint, he got a perfect lead-out from Daryl Impey and managed to hold off renowned sprinters Ben Swift (Sky) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek), thus increasing his overall lead to 14 seconds over Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) who had to settle for fourth.

 
We have gathered several reactions

 

Gerrans: I surprised myself

Two-time Australian champion Simon Gerrans has taken his second consecutive stage win at the Santos Tour Down Under to extend his overall lead heading into the queen stage tomorrow.

 

Gerrans, a three-time champion of the Australian WorldTour race, arrived at the finish in Victor Harbor with a reduced bunch of 60 riders after a climb with 20km remaining saw some of the field lose contact.

 

After the perfect lead out by South African teammate Daryl Impey, Gerrans outsprinted Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Sagefredo) for the stage victory.

 

“I’m absolutely thrilled with that,” Gerrans said at the finish. “I think I have caught a few people by surprise there, myself included, that I can beat some top sprinters and get a back-to-back victory at the Santos Tour Down Under.

 

“I had a really good run into the finish. They really make my life as easy as possible. I have a few Tour Down Under races under my belt now so I do know that finish quite well, as does Daryl who led me out today, so that really worked in our favour.

 

“The guys are just doing everything we are asking of them and some. The work they did at the start of the stage for the first intermediate sprint and then again the lead out that Daryl gave me in the final; it’s making me look really good.”

 

The ten bonus seconds on offer for a stage win and three further seconds earned on the first intermediate sprint, after some hard work in the first 30km of stage four, will see Gerrans go into the all-important Willunga stage with a 14second advantage over Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and 26seconds on Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).

 

“I still have to be very very attentive going into Willunga tomorrow,” the 35-year-old said. “We have a nice little buffer, but there is still a heck of a lot of work to be done.

 

“The jersey has changed hands many times up Willunga hill so we will still have our work cut out for us.

 

“It’s not in my interest to attack at all, I’ve really got to try to defend this jersey. It’s up to the other guys to drop me and get a bit of time on the climb now but the way my team is riding and supporting me, it gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow.”

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE sport director Matt White again credited Gerrans’ form and the efforts of the team, particularly in pursuit of the early bonus seconds.

 

“The selection today was bigger than we thought,” White said. “Most of the sprinters were gone and those who did scramble back were toast. And is Simon the fastest guy in that scenario, yes he is.

 

“Earlier in the day, the guys put in a really taxing effort for that first intermediate sprint. All of the teams knew what we wanted and they really gave it to us was attacks but the guys were incredible.

 

"We didn’t know how the selection was going to be over the final climb. Guys like Caleb [Ewan] and [Wouter] Wippert got dropped, so the fastest sprinters weren’t there. The team rode great, and we got the first intermediate sprint. We needed those bonus sprints, and then it came back, and Daryl Impey did a great job setting up Gerro for the sprint.

 

“Enough to win? It’s a ten second bonus to win, so someone only has to gap him by four seconds, so it’s far from over.”

 

After near-miss for Swift, Sky look to Henao in Willunga

Ben Swift sprinted to second place in Victor Harbor while Sergio Henao moved up to fourth overall on stage four of the Tour Down Under.

 

Another exciting day of racing saw Team Sky in the thick of the action, with Geraint Thomas laying down an impressive lead-out for Swift in the final kilometre.

 

The Yorkshireman had to squeeze through a narrow gap before beginning the second phase of his sprint but was narrowly edged out by the ochre jersey of Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

 

Henao again demonstrated his climbing legs by jumping on an attack from Richie Porte to crest the Crow's Nest climb first, extending his lead in the King of the Mountains competition to 14 points.

 

The Colombian also moved up a place to fourth overall heading into the final weekend and Willunga Hill. Back to back stage wins saw Gerrans push his advantage out to 14 seconds over nearest rival Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and 28 over Henao.

 

It was again another fantastic team performance for Team Sky, who drove the pace on the run into Victor Harbor in a bid to make things difficult for the sprinters.

 

Back at the hotel, Thomas gave TeamSky.com an insight into how things had played out in the closing stages before looking ahead to Saturday's queen stage up Old Willunga Hill.

 

"The plan was to make it hard on the late climb to distance some of the sprinters, but BMC did that for us which meant Pete [Kennaugh] and Ian [Stannard] could keep the pace high on the descent, and then it was down to me to lead Swifty out.

"It made a nice change to be back in the lead out. I haven't done one for a while and it's always nice to do something like that for a good mate. Unfortunately the win just eluded him but hats off to Gerrans, he's in amazing form. 

 

"He's got a 28-second lead on Sergio going into the Willunga stage and it's going to be nigh-on impossible for us to overhaul that now.

 

"That said, Sergio will really fancy tomorrow. He's only 14 seconds off Jay McCarthy in second place, so that's up for grabs, and obviously he'll be looking to wrap up the King of the Mountains jersey, and maybe a stage win as well.

 

"Sergio's come into this race with altitude training in his legs and he's certainly climbing well. It'll be a big day for us and we're all looking forward to seeing how it goes."

 

“The mountain classification is always something important for us, Colombians, so as there was a climb I sped up to score some points and increase my lead ahead of the Queen stage.

 

“Willunga Hill is a hard climb that requires a lot of strength. We don’t have many occasions left so tomorrow we’ll attack to try and win the race. 

 

“We’ll give it all to go into the last day in the best possible situation.”

 

“He is climbing very strong, and we will try to beat the Australians here,” said Henao’s team director Kurt Asle Arvesen. “It is not easy.”

 

Great comeback puts Nizzolo on the podium

Stage four at the Santos Tour Down Under was touch-n'-go for the pure sprinters with a nasty climb from the gun and another category two beast that topped out 20 kilometers from the end. Giacomo Nizzolo was uncertain if he would be around in the finale, and only with superb teamwork did he nuzzle back into contention in the final six kilometers and sprint to third place. 

 

"It was a hard race with a fast start up the first climb, and personally, I paid for this deep effort already," explained Nizzolo. "Then the crucial moment was the last climb, and the peloton went up full gas and only 30-35 riders made it over in the front group. I was with a group of around 20 with Boy [Van Poppel] and Ryder [Hesjedal] about 15-20 seconds behind. Boy and Ryder did a fantastic job, they pulled full gas with some other teams, and we got back with 5-6kms to go. In the sprint I did not have my usual power – I was tired from the earlier efforts – and  I am happy with the third. We got a good podium in a really, really hard stage."

 

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) edged out Ben Swift (Sky) for the win, taking his second consecutive victory and padding his lead in the ochre jersey to 14 seconds.

 

The 138-kilometer stage was tipped for the sprinters, but the start climb coupled with the heated pace over the category two Kirby Hill threw a curveball into the fastmen's plans. It was only through a determined team effort that Nizzolo snagged third on a day that proved to be more in line with a tough Classics style race, than a sprinter's affair.

 

"We knew immediately after the climb that we needed to go 100 percent to make it to the sprint so Ryder and myself went as hard as we could," added Van Poppel. "We were really the motors of the second group. When we finally made it back, we had to stay calm and get ready for the bunch sprint. Thankfully, I was able to recover after that and still help Giacomo in the sprint.  

 

"Third…yeah, maybe if I didn't have to close the gap I could have done more in the end; then I could make it first or second through the first corner and do a really good leadout. But a lot of energy was spent just to make it into the first group. I was also dropped in the first climb so to go from the gruppetto at the start and make it in the first group at the end – I think we can say it's not a bad job today."

 

Julián Arredondo, Jack Bobridge, and Peter Stetina crested Kirby Hill in the leading group until Arredondo again found himself on the tarmac with 18 kilometers to go, his misfortunes continuing after crashing and losing over 12 minutes in stage three. He was able to remount and finish, albeit with a few added scrapes and bruises.

 

Bobridge and Stetina finished safely in the bunch. Bobridge was ahead of a 8-second time gap in the finale that caught a lot of GC contenders out, and moved into 22nd overall heading into the queen stage five Saturday. Both Stetina and Bobridge will hope to move forward in the standings in the decisve stage.

 

McCarthy disappointed to miss out on bonus seconds

Jay McCarthy took fourth in the final fast sprint and retained his overall second place, after a race in which he was always in the leading group and grabbed second place in the first intermediate sprint. There were few surprises until the final climb that gave a chance to a group of 30 riders to break away from the peloton.

 

The fourth stage of Tour Down Under, with a total 138 km from Norwood to Victor Harbor was marked by milder temperatures with a lot of humidity. Fortunately, the forecast breeze wasn't a decisive factor in the race.

 

"Today, from the outset of the stage, the pace was quite high", stated sport director Lars Michaelsen, "also because the first intermediate sprint with bonuses was after 27 km and several teams wanted to gain that, but McCarthy did manage to win second place. Then, in view of the final ascent the team did a good job keeping Jay in the group of the GC leaders, with Manuele Boaro who stood by his side until the end."

 

"As the group got ready for the final sprint, McCarthy was able by himself to gain a good position on the wheel of Ben Swift, but that was not enough. However, in the end it was a good day for us because Jay is still second in the overall classification and he's the leader of both the sprint and the young riders classification", concluded Michaelsen.

 

"Today I am a bit disappointed", says Jay McCarthy. "I was out of the top three places and I didn't gain any bonuses. Anyway, I gave my best and the team helped me all day long, allowing me to stay in a good position both for the first intermediate sprint and for the final climb. However, now we will focus on tomorrow where I will try to give everything I have and we'll see how things work out.

 

“The team has kept me out of the wind all day and I’m very lucky to have them around me. I was also always going to try and get bonus seconds as well but I just didn’t have it… on the line.

 

“I have pretty good legs to be up there, just a little bit more and I could be on the podium. I have to be realistic, the guys who finished second (Swift) and third (Nizzolo) are very fast.

 

“It’s definitely difficult for me on GC (overall) now but I’ll give my best tomorrow. Obviously it’s a hard day tomorrow (but) I have to back up and go for it again. We’re still there so we might as well keep trying.”

 

A sort of circuit for the penultimate stage, the longest of the tour, is scheduled tomorrow from McLaren Vale to an uphill finish in Willunga Hill.

 

"Even in tomorrow's stage Jay McCathy will be our man", concluded sports director Michaelsen, "he proved to be in good shape, so we hope he can still stay with the best to take his chances. And depending on how the overall classification is after the stage we will decide what the best strategy for the final stage would be, considering that bonuses might be decisive. We shouldn't forget that last year the top positions changed right in the last stage".

 

Howard: My sprinting legs are back

5th. This is the position IAM Cycling’s sprinter Leigh Howard took at the end of the fourth stage for the Santos Tour Down Under. 

 

“You can say I’m happy with the result, but not entirely satisfied,” the Australian rider admitted.   “Of course I was hoping to finish higher, but I will not mope about it.  About 700 meters from the line, I lost a few places going through a roundabout, so I lost my good position and had to produce a big effort to come back. 

 

”However, I can draw some positive conclusions for today because it has been a long time since I have been able to produce a sprint of this quality.  I was finally able to show my legs, and my physical condition allowed me to get a pretty good result.  I hope to do even better in the final stage on Sunday.”

 

“We absolutely wanted to go on the attack in these stages, especially the ones on Friday and Saturday,” explained directeur sportif Kjell Carlström.  “We had to react.  And the least we can say is that our plan worked well.  Of course we knew it would not be easy to stay awaysince Orica GreenEDGE would work hard for Simon Gerrans, but we had to try. 

 

”Jarlinson Pantano was the first rider to make a serious attempt, but it was David Tanner who found the right breakaway that would last the longest.  The stage certainly suited him, but in the end, the peloton brought his break back with about twenty kilometers to the finish. 

 

”At that point in the race, we relied on Leigh Howard to stay in the front group in spite of the climb near the final.  Leigh told me he was feeling good.Pantano was there also and helped to place Howard for the finale, where Leigh then finished the job.  He has regained his very strong sprint, and proved that we can really rely on him.”

 

The most aggressive prize is the reward for this stage raced inthe spirit of revenge.  After having had a mixed start to the race, IAM Cycling has proved it has the heart to keep fighting in the face of disappointment at the Santos Tour Down Under.  Not surprisingly, DavidTanner perfectly embodied this spirit by being one of the major players in the breakaway.  As a result, he earned a visit to the podium to collect his bouquet as the most combative rider for the day.

 

“It’s been a disappointing Tour for us so far,” said Tanner. “Especially I’ve been disappointed with myself. The team hasn’t really achieved what we hoped to achieve. ”

 

“We knew the first part of the race would be really hard. It was a really hard tempo and I was hoping to get in a breakaway with six or seven strong guys,” Tanner explained. “It’s always a bit of a chance you take but I thought why not, but unfortunately only three of us got in the breakaway and it didn’t work out, that’s the way it is.”

 

With his fifth place this Friday, Leigh Howard earned his first World Tour points of the 2016 season for the Swiss team sponsored and nurtured by Michel Thétaz, CEO of IAM.

 

Crash costly for van Rensburg after strong climbing performance

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Nathan Haas flew the flags for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, coming home in 6th and 9th position.

 

The team had Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Nathan Haas, and Cameron Meyer near the front when the peloton reached the summit of the final climb. Unfortunately, the fast South African was held up by a tumble on the descent. Whilst not coming down himself he had to chase back. He bridged the gap with 7 kilometers to go, yet that effort cost him important energy for the finale.

 

”I had really good legs today and was able to get over Crow's Nest with the front of the peloton,” he said. “Unfortunately, Julian Arredondo took a tumble right in front of me. I lost some ground and found myself alone behind the front bunch. Eventually some other riders caught up and we were able to bridge across to the front with 7 kilometers to go. The effort cost me some energy for the finale. We still managed to place two of us in the top10 of the day, which is good. We have two more days left, so let’s see.”

 

Solid sprint performance by Katusha

Every day the Team KATUSHA riders are in the hunt for a victory and today’s stage in South Australia was no different. Friday’s 138 km fourth stage from Norwood to Victor Harbor saw improved efforts from Sergey Lagutin and Alexey Tsatevich as the duo followed the lead of teammates Tiago Machado and Egor Silin into the final kilometer and then lit out for the finish line to take seventh and 8th place on the day behind back-to-back stage winner Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEDGE.

 

”The stage was not easy at all, but at least it wasn’t so hot today. We knew it could be another opportunity for sprinters so we tried to work for Alexey Tsatevich. In the final guys did a very good job, especially in the last kilometer, but the sprint was super fast. Sergey Lagutin and Alexey tried to do their best and finished in the top 10. Tomorrow will be the decisive stage. It will be hard to enter the top 10 in the general classification but at least we will fight for it,” said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.

 

With the technical nature of the finish in Victor Harbor, the KATUSHA riders sought the front positions for the final in an effort to stay safe, but didn’t have quite the power that Gerrans displayed for the second day in a row as he claimed his fifth career stage win in this race. Rounding out the top 3 were Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo. Gerrans remains the leader on the classification with a comfortable lead of 14- and 26-seconds to Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff) and Rohan Dennis of BMC. Team KATUSHA’s Egor Silin and Tiago Machado continue to hold strong positions in the GC at 18th and 21st, respectively. 

 

Disappointed Battaglin: This stage was a big chance for me

Team LottoNL-Jumbo expected a lot from the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under. The profile seemed to be perfect to force echelons, but the wind did not arrive Friday and a sprint decided the stage. Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEDGE) was the strongest, Enrico Battaglin finished 10th behind.

“This stage was supposed to be one with echelons,” sports director Frans Maassen said after the finish in Victor Harbor. “We previewed this stage last week because of the chance we might be able to force echelons. Today, there wasn’t so much wind, though. With 20 kilometres to go, the riders had to climb a tough last hill. Only 40 riders survived that climb, and Battaglin, Primoz Roglic and George Bennett were among them. With seven kilometres to go, another 25 riders, with some fast men, closed the gap to the first group unfortunately. Enrico lost the sprint already in the fight for the positions.”

Battaglin was fed up after his 10th place.

 

“This stage was a big chance for me,” he added. “I was in good position during the final climb. I lost my position before the final two corners before the sprint. That’s where I lost this sprint, but Orica-GreenEDGE was also really strong yet another time.”

 

Woods targets GC podium

Michael Woods was one of several riders to lose 8 seconds when the peloton split in the finale but he remains optimistic.

 

"The team did a great job today protecting me,” he told Cyclingnews. “It’s only a six-day race, so let’s see what happens on Willunga. I had great legs yesterday, and I had great legs today, so if I have one more day of great legs, maybe I can get the podium.

 

"[Sergio] Henao was climbing good again today, so he’s the guy to beat up Willunga."

 

Cannondale sprinter Wouter Wippert was dropped.

 

“It was too hard up there,” he told De Telegraaf. “I tried to hang on but at some point I had to let them go. And then I rode easily to not completely destroy myself with a view to Sunday.

 

“It's a bit the same scenario as last year. I still feel good and actually even better than in 2015. Then I managed to win that last stage so why not do it again now?”

 

Rojas and Lobato come up short

Stress dominated the scene for many of the 138km on stage four of the Tour Down Under, from Norwood to Victor Harbor and through the final uphill section of Port Elliot. Coastal winds and some sprinkles late in the race caused numerous splits in the bunch, which the Movistar Team tried to take advantage from with a polyvalent group, with four of the Arrieta-directed roster - Rubén Fernández, Jesús Herrada, José Joaquín Rojas and Juanjo Lobato - in a final selection of 40 men, later joined by Sütterlin and Oliveira.

 

Despite Herrada looking for chaos in the bunch with a move at the 15km-to-go mark, a select field's sprint saw race leader Simon Gerrans (OGE) taking back-to-back stage victories, with Rojas and Lobato behind in 12th and 14th places respectively. Fernández will start stage five in 6th place overall, 28" away from the ochre jersey and just 2" from the podium - Dennis (BMC) sitting in 3rd - as the race showdown on Saturday includes the traditional two climbs of Old Willunga Hill (151.5km) where he already finished in a brilliant 3rd back in 2015.

 

Ulissi hits the deck

Federico Zurlo was the best LAMPRE-MERIDA rider in the 4th stage of the Tour Down Under, 138 km from Norwood to Victor Harbour.

The tewnty-one-year old Italian talent had no difficulties in reaching the top of the climb with the leading group, finishing the stage in 16th place, his first top 20 result in a World Tour race.
 

Zurlo was the captain of the team for the sprint after Marko Kump was dropped.

It was a difficult day for Diego Ulissi who got involved in a crash with 18 km to go. There were no seropis consequences for the Italian rider who had to chase the front group.


He succeeded in rejoining the bunch, but he lost 8 seconds when the group split into several parts in the final two fast bends. Ulissi crossed the finish line in 50th position, in the same group as Louis Meintjes (51st) and Tsgabu Grmay (62nd).

In the overall classification, Ulissi is 26th and, despite the fact that his gap to leader Gerrans has increased (52"), his gap to the 10th place is still 16". Meintjes is 33rd at 58".

 

Aggressive Westra tests his legs

In the stage that saw Belgian Laurens De Vreese wear the red number of the most combative rider in yesterday’s stage, Lieuwe Westra attacked many times: immediately after the stage start for the first time and with 12 km to go for the last time. Unfortunately, the speed of the bunch was too high and didn't allow him to get a good gap.

 

"I tried many times from the start to the finish because I feel very good,” said Lieuwe Westra after the stage. But today wasn't a good day for the escape.”

 

"The speed was so high and it seemed to me that everyone in the bunch was concentrated on a sprint finish,” continued the Dutchman of the Astana Pro Team. “Anyway I'm glad to find myself in good shape, it means that the preparation went well and also that I'll try again in the next stages.”

 

Frustrating time loss for Valls

In the final kilometre there was a split in the first group. Rafael Valls lost eight seconds and is now ninth on GC.

 

”It is a pity that I lost eight seconds today. The team was amazing, but in the last km there was a split and I lost time,” he tweeted after the stage. “Thanks to the @Lotto_Soudal team which was incredible. Tomorrow I will give 200% to reward their effort.”

 

Geschke hits the deck

TOBIAS LUDVIGSSON SPRINTED TO 22ND PLACE IN VICTOR HARBOR WHILE MOVING UP TO 15TH OVERALL ON STAGE 4 OF THE TOUR DOWN UNDER.

 

By the efforts of BMC, Tinkoff and Orica-GreenEDGE the escapees were caught back with 24km to go, as the race approached the 4km climb to Port Elliot. The climb caused a split in the bunch and Team Giant-Alpecin had four of its riders in the first section, but a crash followed that took down Simon Geschke.

 

A reduced sprint was prepared while moving through the technical final kilometers. In the streets of Victor Harbor it was Simon Gerrans who was unstoppable to win his second stage. Ludvigsson managed to hold on and took 22nd place in the stage.

 

“It was a bit chaotic because of the crash,” said Tobias. “But I got good support all day. I look forward to tomorrow as Willunga hill suits me better than the Corkcrew Road climb.”

 

Geschke explained: “I felt really good all day and that surprised me. I am a bit disappointed about the crash but luckily I am ok.”

 

Giant-Alpecin Coach Aike Visbeek said: “The crash of Simon ruined our plans to do a really good leadout for Tobias since both Georg [Preidler] and Carter [Jones] were caught up and had to chase back. For sure more was possible today and I see the riders improving by the day.”

 

Etixx-QuickStep: We had hoped to split the peloton in the wind

Three Etixx – Quick-Step riders came in the same time as the winner: Martin Velits, Petr Vakoč, and Pieter Serry. Teamwork was the key word for the squad on a hard day, with headwind, crazy speeds and a lot of twists and turns on the course, at the end of which Vakoč jumped to 19th in the general classification, just 50 seconds behind.

 

Coming into the stage, the team had plans to use the weather conditions into its advantage, but the expected crosswinds never came, and the team was left tied to its hands. Sport director Rik Van Slycke explained: "The performance of the team was good today. Unfortunately, the wind and weather conditions didn't turn out according to the predictions. We expected the last hour of the race to have crosswinds and rain, but it didn't happen, so it was very difficult to get away from the main bunch. But all in all, the team worked very well today and we look with optimism to the penultimate day of the race."

 

Dennis and Porte: The race is not over yet

Stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under didn’t disappoint, with spectators enjoying another sprint finish taken out by Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE).

 

Richie Porte was BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider finishing in 42nd place, followed by defending champion Rohan Dennis in 57th, both 8 seconds behind Gerrans.

 

Dennis has retained his third place in the General Classification, 26 seconds behind Ochre jersey-leader Gerrans.

 

Dennis admitted that it’s not going to be easy to beat Gerrans.

 

“He can sprint and he can climb and tomorrow we just have to hope that he doesn’t have a good day. You can’t really fault him. He’s an exceptional rider and this week is no exception to any race that he’s targeted.

 

“Richie’s still within reach as well if he gets the ten seconds (bonus). I think it’s a team effort or we’ll lose it. It’s whoever is best on the day, doesn’t matter if it’s me being the leader or not, it’s whoever is best on Willunga.”

 

“It wasn’t an easy stage. The race is not totally over, tomorrow’s another day and we’ll just see what happens on Willunga,” Porte said.

 

Tomorrow is the penultimate stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, 151.5 kilometers from McLaren Vale to Willunga, with the Willunga Hill King of the Mountain finish.

 

“Willunga is not that long a climb, it’s not the hardest climb either. I think if we drop Gerrans and he just rides his own tempo, it’s never going to be a massive gap up there. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to try tomorrow. The race isn’t over yet. He (Gerrans) has a comfortable lead, but we’re not going to give up,” Porte confirmed.

 

For Dennis, tomorrow’s stage will be won with aggression.

 

“Willunga is always won on the Hill. You never win it on a breakaway. History says that anyway so we’re going to have to race it aggressively up the climb the first time and try to isolate them again.”

 

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