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Live coverage

Santos Tour Down Under 2011: Stage 4


Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage four at the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under, a 124km journey from Norwood to Strathalbyn. There is one KOM at Checker Hill and two intermediate sprints at Gumeracha and Balhannah respectively.

No withdrawals from the race this morning and as the riders head through an 11km neutral zone, let's take a look at what's on offer during today's race. Most of the climbing on offer is done throughout the first half, with Gorge Rd offering a relatively brief uphill section before the KOM at Checker Hill. It's short, sharp and bitey like a good vintage cheese but alas it won't shake up the contenders. It may provide the platform for the day's long break to get some time up the road.

The run from Gumeracha through to the finish is fairly straightforward and will allow the sprinters' teams to control tempo and set up for the finish in Strathalbyn. The corresponding stage in last year's race saw HTC-Highroad control the day for Andre Greipel, who consolidated his overall lead before going on to claim his second title. Expect something similar this year as Allan Peiper's men look to conserve Matt Goss' ochre jersey.

It's windy today in Adelaide - as it seems to be during stage four of the Tour Down Under each year - and when Graeme Brown spoke with Cyclingnews' Jane Aubrey this morning he recognised it could have an impact on the race today.

"Bling made them look silly yesterday - wish I could do that!" said Brown. "It's windy today so maybe something could happen. We'll have to keep the dancer out of trouble."

123km remaining from 124km

We have an attack virtually from the gun! What's the betting it's an Euskaltel-Euskadi rider?

Turns out that attack was from a BMC Racing rider but the peloton is all together again...

120km remaining from 124km

No attacks have stuck thus far, although it hasn't been for a lack of trying... There's always someone looking to get away up Gorge Rd...

119km remaining from 124km

Alfredo Balloni (Lampre-ISD) goes on the attack and gets a small gap... Please stay away Alfredo, we could already have today's catch phrase if you're in the break!

Despite being joined by Juan Horrach (Katusha), Davide Cimolai (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Marco Bandiera (Quick Step), the move isn't successful...

Seems like we'll have to wait a little longer to have the beginnings of the day's big break

115km remaining from 124km

The machinations in the bunch continue as the peloton is sorting out who is allowed to leave the bunch and who has to stay...

115km remaining from 124km

Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has gone on the attack and quickly gained 100m

One of Team Sky's riders is coming across to Kadri... We'll get a name for you soon

114km remaining from 124km

OK, so it's Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Tanel Kangert (Astana) joining Kadri to form a leading trio... No Sky rider present.

Luke Roberts (UniSA) wants a piece of the action in the break and has joined the leading trio to form a quality quartet off the front of the peloton

111km remaining from 124km

Vacansoleil's Sergey Lagutin and Katusha rider Juan Horrach join the quartet

110km remaining from 124km

The group off the front was deemed too dangerous and it has been brought back to the bunch...

108km remaining from 124km

Now it's time for Greg Henderson (Team Sky), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar) to try their luck off the front of the bunch

106km remaining from 124km

The gap has opened up to 500m as the peloton deems this trio acceptable, apparently...

Julien Loubet (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Bruno Pires (LEOpard-Trek) are bridging across to the three up the road and have almost caught them

106km remaining from 124km

Gee, Baden Cooke of Saxo Bank is trying to get across to the break as there's a small crash behind in the bunch - a couple of dropped chains put back on and they're on their way again...

101km remaining from 124km

The leading trio of Greg Henderson (Team Sky), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar) has put 26 seconds into the bunch, with four riders behind them - Julien Loubet (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Bruno Pires (LEOpard-Trek), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank) and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) - joining. The peloton is onto it and has closed the gap significantly.

Kadri and Viviani have attacked the break...

99km remaining from 124km

The moves are coming thick and fast as there's just two kilometres until the Skoda KOM on Checker Hill

2008 world champion Alessandro Ballan (BMC) is pushing the pace up Checker Hill, although our woman on the ground, Jane Aubrey, says it's quite cold at the top - the racing's just getting hotter, however.

97km remaining from 124km

The race is all together as there's just five kilometres until the first Jayco intermediate sprint... We'll endeavour to get the results of the KOM to you shortly

96km remaining from 124km

We know that a RadioShack rider crested the climb in front and has continued on his way beyond the KOM. His name will be coming to you in a second

It wasn't actually a RadioShack rider who won the KOM but Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale), followed by Ben Hermans (RadioShack), Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervelo), Simon Gerrans (Sky) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC)

91km remaining from 124km

Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo), Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Rob Rujigh and Thomas De Gendt (both Vacansoleil) have attacked and are opening a gap rather quickly. There's some horsepower in this morve...

As a consequence of the KOM results, Luke Roberts should hold onto his lead in the mountains classification... Nice work Luke! Be sure to stay tuned to Cyclingnews as we bring you a conversation we had with Roberts earlier this week, where he talks about his Pegasus experience and the road ahead for the 2004 Olympic gold medalist.

89km remaining from 124km

That gap hasn't opened as quickly as we expected and it only stands at 100m at present

The main field is splitting up with constant attacks...

More riders are trying to join the move at the front and it's taking its toll on the men who may have found the climb a little difficult...

86km remaining from 124km

The leading quintet still consists of Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo), Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Blel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Rob Rujigh and Thomas De Gendt (both Vacansoleil) with Matthew Wilson trying to join his Garmin-Cervelo teammate, Meyer.

The results of the first Jayco intermediate sprint: Robbie McEwen (RadioShack), Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar)

84km remaining from 124km

Wilson has joined the move and the gap has opened to two minutes... We have our break, ladies and gentlemen!

82km remaining from 124km

The gap has increased further, to 2:20...

And the break's advantage should increase further as the peloton tucks into some tucker...

79km remaining from 124km

As HTC-Highroad patrols the front of the peloton, the gap has increased to 2:30...

With Cameron Meyer in the break, take a look at Jane Aubrey's news piece about his chances at the Santos Tour Down Under

It's a downhill run to the finish today and after the shennanigans of stage two Team Sky's Greg Henderson reckons we could see some more carnage. "We'll probably see a crash this afternoon, the way things are going!" said Henderson. "We're going to try and set up Ben Swift again after he had that fantastic stage win."

69km remaining from 124km

The break has 2:10 over the peloton and it seems that HTC-Highroad won't be allowing it to get any more leeway, although Mark Cavendish has called for the race doctor...

65km remaining from 124km

As the peloton has two kilometres until the second intermediate sprint, the time gap sits just over two minutes... We'll also get you the results of that sprint shortly...

63km remaining from 124km

The second Jayco intermediate sprint results: Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil), Biel Kadri (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo)

There are two team duos in the break today, with Vacansoleil and Garmin-Cervelo well-represented in the move... Meyer and Wilson will undoubtedly be driving the escapees closer to Strathalbyn as it gets closer to Hahndorf, where the Tour Down Under has had stage starts and finishes in the past...

58km remaining from 124km

The lead group has lost Blel Kadri of Ag2R-La Mondiale as the break passes through Hahndorf...

Rob has emailed in asking about the old Harpo song 'Movie Star', asking if it could be an anthem for the Movistar team during this year's Tour Down Under. I've listened to the song and I wouldn't want it played in my presence, lest my credibility suffer irrepairable damage...

54km remaining from 124km

The advantage enjoyed by the five riders off the front sits right on two minutes... they are halfway between Hahndorf and Mt Barker, where there's sure to be a good crowd to welcome this year's Tour Down Under.

52km remaining from 124km

The leading group will get to Strathalbyn in 50km... Honestly, I can't see them still being at the front at that time but it's likely they'll be able to hang out there for another 30-40km. Look out for Meyer to make a solo bid for victory near the end.

47km remaining from 124km

Apologies for the break in transmission folks, the latest time gap has the break at 1:32 ahead of the peloton and coming down significantly...

43km remaining from 124km

The advantage of the break has remained steady - 1:34 - as Allan Peiper's men continue to patrol the front of the peloton

37km remaining from 124km

With the peloton heading into the feedzone, the gap has bumped up to 1:47 although it won't be long until this is slashed and burned...

33km remaining from 124km

As we expected, that lead has decreased to 1:28... It's 33km to the finish, so I give the break about 20km more before it's caught. What happens next is anyone's guess!

28km remaining from 124km

The gap is at 1:30 and seems to be holding steady, with less than 30km remaining in today's stage... HTC-Highroad's Bert Grabsch and Bernhard Eisel will undoubtedly be turning on the Tugboat Turbo pretty soon to reduce the remaining 90 seconds the break enjoys

23km remaining from 124km

The peloton has 20km until the finish... Jane Aubrey spoke with Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Matt Lloyd this morning and he reckons his teammates in the race will be able to get Andre Greipel up for the win this afternoon.

Cyclingnews just asked Team Sky rider Chris 'CJ' Sutton whether the team is setting up for Ben Swift at the finish and he answered in the affirmative... Seeing Swift's finishing speed in Mannum, we're tipping the young Briton for a swift kick in Strathalbyn!

15km remaining from 124km

Just as we mention Omega Pharma-Lotto, we're getting news that Andre Greipel's team has joined HTC-Highroad at the front of the peloton and the two teams are working to catch the break. Consequently, the gap has been lowered further and now stands at 1:11

13km remaining from 124km

Thomas De Gendt is today's most aggressive rider - well done to the Vacansoleil-DCM rider... The gap to De Gendt and co has decreased to 1:03

10km remaining from 124km

Clearance sale: one breakaway... Now going for 50 seconds

Rob Rujigh has been dropped from the leading group so it's a quartet out front now

4km remaining from 124km

Meyer, Wilson, De Gendt and ten Dam have 39 seconds and five kilometres to hold on

Will the break hold on? With Meyer, Wilson, ten Dam and De Gendt driving the move, they might do it!

2km remaining from 124km

36 seconds for the break! They could do it...

With just two kilometres to go the leading four could do it... A big oversight by the sprinters' teams if they stay away!

Crash! Stijn Vandenbergh has come down

Cameron Meyer wins!

Depending on how far back the peloton finished, Cameron Meyer should take the leader's ochre jersey...

We'll bring you some conclusive results from today's stage, although they're a little thin right now... apparently Thomas De Gendt and Laurens ten Dam took second and third respectively

It's confirmed: Cameron Meyer is the new leader of the Santos Tour Down Under! Well done to Meyer, Matt White and the Garmin-Cervelo team...

Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo), Laurens ten Dam (Rabobank), Thomas De Gendt (both Vacansoleil) and Matthew Wilson (Garmin-Cervelo)

Peloton at 0:36

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