22 January 2014
Greipel takes Bupa Stage 4
Unley to Victor Harbor, 148.5km
Andre Greipel's victory on stage 4 of the Tour down Under took his tally to fifteen stage wins.
Greipel, who had come runner up twice at this years event, in Sunday's People's Choice Classic and and in the San Remo Pasta Stage 1, had set his mind on today's stage for the elusive victory. The Lotto-Belisol express duly delivered. Second place went to team mate Jurgen Roelandts from Belgium with Italian Elia Viviani (Cannondale) third.
André Greipel: "For me this was the first real sprinter's chance at the Tour Down Under. That today we not only take the stage win but also the second place with Jürgen Roelandts shows the strength of our team. This was a very strong collective performance. It was a nervous stage, with a lot of crosswind. At the right moment we raised the pressure which resulted in a split of the peloton. Of course I'm glad I could take my first victory. I knew the last climb and the final well, so I knew what we could expect. This well-deserved victory is great. The team is rewarded for its work. The confidence was there, but because of the victory we are all the more looking forward to the final stage on Sunday."
Official Video Highlights
Evans came under relentless pressure led by Orica Greendedge. He kept the lead but lost five seconds to leave him with just seven seconds over Simon Gerrans who was fourth on the stage and had snatched several seconds time bonus at intermediate sprints.
For the first Adam Internet intemediate sprint contested at Echunga, 25km into the stage the pace had been relentless from the start with rivals anxious to pare back Evan's lead.
Gerrans was set up superbly by his team mates and claimed the maximum three seconds to close his deficit on Evans to nine seconds. His Orica-GreenEDGE team mate, Matt Goss, was second ahead of Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) who claimed a one second bonus.
"Today it went pretty well with the time bonus I was after," said Gerrans. "Our plan was to chase the first breakaway if it was within reach before the first intermediate sprint, and if not, we’d target the second. We eventually managed to do both," said Gerrans. I’m pretty happy with that."
The quest to claw back Evans' lead almost overshadowed a two man break by Frenchman Axel Domant (AG2R - La Mondiale) and Australian Cameron Wurf (Cannondale). The pair had almost four minutes on a chasing group that has been cut to 40 riders by crosswinds. Shortly after the KOM at 96km down the break was over.
Gerransd gained two more seconds at the final sprint with 30km to go having to settle for second spot ehind Nathan Hass (Garmon-Sharp).
Evans hopes of keeping the Ochre race leader's jersey came under greatest threat when he had mechanical problems just before the sprint but after a bike change, but with team mates on hand he rejoined the leaders.
"It’s been a nervous day with the wind and Orica really took control of the race putting the whole team (on the front) for the intermediate sprints," said Evans. "The first one didn’t go favourably for me and the second one was even worse.
"Looking at the numbers, we have four stages favourable to Orica and two for me, so numbers-wise it’s not in my advantage but of course Willunga will be important," said Evans of tomorrow's Queen stage that ends atop Old Willunga Hill. "Certainly if Orica keep going for the intermediate sprints they can eat away at seven seconds pretty quickly.