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Santos Tour Down Under 2016: Stage 4

Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. We're starting in Norwood today for what will should be a straight forward sprint finish in Victor Harbor although with the possibility of crosswinds, any thing is possible

 

Welcome to today's coverage of stage 4 at the Tour Down Under. Riders will face a 138km test from Norwood to Victor Harbor.

The racing will start in just over half an hour.

 

Yesterday's stage to Campbelltown provided an exciting finish, with the climb up Corkscrew Road whittling the lead group down to just 10 riders. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) took a photo-finish win ahead of 2015 overall winner Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Mike Woods (Cannondale). Here's the top 10 from stage 3:

 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 3:37:34
2 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff
5 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ
6 Rafael Valls Ferri (Esp) Lotto Soudal
7 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Esp) Team Movistar

 

Here's where the General Classificatin stands after three stages:

 

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica–GreenEdge 10:28:12
2 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff 0:00:03
3 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:05
4 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale 0:00:11
5 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:00:15
6 Rafael Valls Ferri (Esp) Lotto Soudal
7 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Esp) Team Movistar
8 Steve Morabito (Sui) FDJ
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team

 

In case you missed it, the Tour de San Luis in Argentina had its first summit finish today, and there were some surprises. Read about the stage here.

 

Here's the top 10 today from Argentina:

 

1 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 4:00:35
2 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Team Jamis 0:00:54
3 Roman Villalobos (CRc) Costa Rica 0:01:31
4 Dayer Uberney Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
5 Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre - Merida 0:01:43
6 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:02:10
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
9 Jonathan Millan (Col) Strongman Campagnolo Wilier 0:02:12

 

And the current General Classification:

 

1 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 12:00:16
2 Dayer Uberney Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:03
3 Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:38
4 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:42
5 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:51
6 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:56
7 Roman Villalobos (CRc) Costa Rica 0:01:06
8 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Team Jamis 0:01:09
9 Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre - Merida 0:01:22
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:01:36

 

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had hoped to win Tour de San Luis this year, but those hopes probably ended today when he lost more than five minutes on the final climb. Read what Nibali had to say after the stage.

 

We're about 15 minutes away from the stage start now.

 

Crosswinds could play a big part in today's racing. Here's what Orica-GreenEdge director Matt White had to say about stage 4:

 

"The big thing with stage 4 is what the weather does. It will either be a head crosswind or a tail crosswind so it will make for very interesting racing conditions. If it is a quiet day weather wise, then it's a pretty straightforward sprint but many, many times when we've gone to Victor Harbor and it is blowing a gale. Crosswinds and splits in the bunch certainly come into play.

"How we play the stage will depend a lot on how GC has evolved. Obviously our priority is to win overall, yet at the same time we have someone like Caleb who can win the stage. I think we have to see how we are sitting before we determine our plans for this day. If we have the leader's jersey for example, the priority is to keep the leader's jersey."

 

We've also got another weather report from Brett Dutschke. Take it away, Brett:

 

Last night's rain has left patches of water on the road, mainly in the Hills where 10-15 millimetres of rain fell.

Summary - Rain developing. Possible thunderstorms. Cloud increasing. WNW 15-20 km/h tending SSW 15-20 km/h. 23-28 degrees, humidity making it feel about 2 degrees warmer. Storms have potential to cool hings to the low 20s and bring stronger wind gusts which may bring down small tree branches

11:30am at Norwood - Mostly sunny. Only a 20% chance of rain. About 28 degrees. WNW winds 14-18 km/h

Climb to Norton Summit - A bit cloudier. Chance of rain increasing to 40%. 28 degrees cooling to 24 degrees. W winds 17-20km/h

Norton Summit to Strathalbyn - Cloud increasing. Chance of rain increasing to 95%. Chance of thunderstorm increasing to 40%. WSW winds 17-20km/h. 24-26 degrees, potentially 20-21 degrees in rain or storm

Strathalbyn to Goolwa - Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain decreasing to 70%, chance of storm decreasing to 30%. Wind tending SW 17-20km/h with fewer trees for sheltering. Warming to 25-26 degrees

Goolwa to Victor Harbor - Increasing sunshine. Chance of rain decreasing to 40%, chance of storm decreasing to 10%. SW winds 14-18 km/h with few trees for sheltering. Warming to 27 degrees apart from brief cooling as they climb Crows Nest Road near Port Elliot (KoM)

 

We're just about a minute away front he start now. Riders have staged and are ready go roll.

 

Riders have started the 4km neutral roll out.

 

We're getting word that BMC's Marcus Burghardt did not start today after being caught up in the crash near the end of yesterday's stage.

 

The neutral is over and Orica-GreenEdge are on the front to dissuade any attacks.

 

Adam Hansen gave it a go again, but the field has brought him back. They're climbing to Norton Summit now, and some riders are already struggling.

 

Cannondale neo-pro Mike Woods put in an impressive ride yesterday, finishing third. He's currently third overall. You can read more about Woods here.

 

134km remaining from 138km

Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) have attacked the peloton 

Thomas De Gendt is in chase of the two leaders up Norton Summit

 

Westra and De Gendt have several hundred metres on the peloton with Alexis Gougeard inbwteen

 

Orica-GreenEdge are controlling the pace in the peloton as they crest Norton Summit

 

Alexis Gougeard is caught by the peloton as an IAM Cycling rider then tries his luck with an attack

 

Jarlinson Pantano is the IAM Cycling rider to make the bridge across to the two leaders

 

126km remaining from 138km

Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin) and Julian Arredondo (Trek-Segafredo) made joined the front group now

 

The five man front group contains Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin), Julian Arredondo (Trek-Segafredo), Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

 

124km remaining from 138km

There are plenty of attacks coming thick and fast now from the peloton with race radio reporting that Julian Arredondo (Trek-Segafredo) is back in the peloton

 

122km remaining from 138km

The race is all together now with that breakaway failing to get away. With two riders in the break just 37 seconds down on Simon Gerrans, its chances were always slim

 

Orica GreenEdge are controlling the pace while Dimension Data and LottoNL-Jumbo riders have been aggressive as they try and force another break

 

120km remaining from 138km

Orica-GreenEdge is still on the front setting the high pace which is ensuring any attempt at a breakaway will be tough before the first intermediate sprint point in Mylor which comes after 27km of racing

 

Simon Gerrans was expecting a fast start to the stage, here's what he had to say.

"It’s going to be a tricky stage today. We have a climb right off the bat, and then the final climb before the finish, so it’s going to be aggressive right from the gun. It was great to win yesterday, so let’s see if we can pull it off. It won’t be easy. There are still a lot of guys close on GC."

 

Orica-GreenEdge are looking to claim the bonus seconds on offer at the intermediate sprint point in just two kilometres

 

It's a very fast pace as the riders approach the sprint point

 

Simon Gerrans is recorded as the winner of the sprint ahead of Jay McCarthy

 

We has reports over race radio the race that gaps had opened up in the peloton after the intermediate sprint point

 

As the GC stands on the road, Gerrans leads McCarthy by four seconds and Rohan Dennis by six seconds

 

106km remaining from 138km

A small attack from UniSA, Trek-Segafredo and AG2R riders has been reeled in and it's all back together again

 

Ruben Zepuntke also had a few pre-race comments today, here's what he had to say

"We pretended before the Tour Down Under that Moreno Moser was our leader but it wasn't true. We always knew we were going to race for Michael Woods who did very well yesterday. It'll be my job to protect him today. We expect a super hard day of racing with crosswinds. We hope to stay cool and protect Michael."

 

102km remaining from 138km

Alexis Gougeard, David Tanner and Patrick Shaw have attacked to form a three man breakaway

 

101km remaining from 138km

The trio have one minute over the peloton

 

Giacomo Nizzolo has a rear flat

 

We are hearing a storm front is moving in quickly down at Victor Harbor with winds of 100km/h 

 

100km remaining from 138km

The three leaders have grown the lead to 2:10 minutes

 

We spoke with Pat Shaw this morning at the UniSA-Australia team van and here's what he had to say;

 

"Today’s another day for us so we will be really aggressive, I envisage GreenEdge wanting the first sprint so we wont be doing much early think. We’ll still watch the groups that move but we all feel really good. I think yesterday really opened everyone up, it was a pretty easy today until the Gorge and then out of control after that. An hour of racing yesterday really was hard then the rest was pretty easy. I think today will be a good day for Anthony Giacoppo and Steele von Hoff."

 

98km remaining from 138km

The breakaway is now leading the peloton by 3:45 minutes

 

The breakaway is 5:45 minutes ahead on the road now

 

94km remaining from 138km

The three-leaders are continuing to lead the race, upwards of 5:30 minutes ahead of the Orica-Greenedge controlled peloton

 

87km remaining from 138km

GreenEdge have decided to trim the lead with the breakaway now at 3:15 minutes

 

Have you listened to the latest Cyclingnews podcast. Click here to hear the latest instalment 

 

The average speed of the first 40km was 40km/h

 

75km remaining from 138km

The break has 3:37 minutes over the peloton with all riders back in the bunch now following the fast start to the day

 

It's feeding time for the peloton in Strathalbyn

 

65km remaining from 138km

The gap is down to 2:45 minutes now with the breakaway working nicely together and the peloton making sure they don't get out of hand

 

The gap on the road is 1.6km between the lead and three-man break

 

Overall in San Luis, the Quintana brothers put on a show but it was Dayer not Nairo with the better result. Click here to read more about the Colombian brothers

 

56km remaining from 138km

The gap has dipped down to 2:20 minutes with GreenEdge joined at the front of the race with lampre-Merida, Cannondale, Movistar, Lotto Soudal and Katusha all moving forward to the front row

 

50km remaining from 138km

The breakaway has seen its advantage cut down to two minutes with 50km to race

 

The last time the race visited Victor Harbor, Steele von Hoff won the sprint while a fast crash brought down several riders. The UniSA-Australia rider has his teammate Pat Shaw in the breakaway and will surely be looking to claim another stage win 12-months on from his first stage win at WorldTour level

 

Getting close to the intermediate sprint point, Orica-GreenEdge look likely to challenge for the three seconds again

 

48km remaining from 138km

The break is 1:48 minutes ahead of the peloton which could very well be brought back before the intermediate sprint with 37km to race

 

Lots of teams lined up across the front of the peloton in formation at the moment

 

41km remaining from 138km

The gap to the breakaway is now reported to be 1:56 minutes

 

The peloton won't catch the breakaway in Goolwa but the GC teams are all swelling toward the front ready for the final 35km of the day

 

Pat Shaw jumps away to take the maximum points on offer at the sprint point

 

35km remaining from 138km

The gap has been cut to 40 seconds now due to the high pace back in the peloton

 

30km remaining from 138km

The peloton is just 40 seconds behind the three leaders and a catch should be made rather soon now before the one KOM of today which comes in just over 10km

 

It's BMC at the front of the race on the approach to the KOM climb

 

28km remaining from 138km

The peloton is starting to get strung out on the flat in to the climb with the trio still holding a slender 40 second advantage

 

Tinkoff are driving the chase and have cut the breakaway's advantage to 35 seconds

 

24km remaining from 138km

The breakaway has now been caught

 

Here in Adelaide it's about to bucket down with hail expected in a storm, in Victor Harbor though it's still dry

 

David Tanner has been awarded the most combative rider award for the stage

 

20km remaining from 138km

Simon Gerrans looking comfortable on the climb with BMC setting a high tempo

 

20km remaining from 138km

Team Sky are now on the front of the race near the top of the climb

 

20km remaining from 138km

600 metres to the KOM with plenty of riders dropping off due to the pace Impey is setting

 

Porte and Henao surge clear for the KOM with the Sky rider extending his lead in the classification

 

19km remaining from 138km

The climb has split the peloton and several sprinters are likely to have missed the move

 

Several riders are down in a crash

 

19km remaining from 138km

Team Sky are driving the small front group of around 40 riders on what will be a fast run in to the finish now. 

 

Having crashed late on yesterday's stage, Julian Arrendondo has gone down again

 

16km remaining from 138km

40 riders are leading the race now but we are yet to get confirmation for which sprinters made it over the climb

 

Jesus Herrada (Movistar) has attacked the front group

 

15km remaining from 138km

Jesus Herrada is brought back by Team Sky

 

11km remaining from 138km

Team Sky are driving this front group with Gerrans and McCarthy sitting up there

 

Westra has attacked the front group, he was also attacking the peloton earlier today

 

10km remaining from 138km

Westra is going to try and time trial the final 10km into Victor Harbor for the win

 

9km remaining from 138km

Westra is brought back

 

Team Sky are really driving the pace with 8km to go now but there is a chance for the second group on the road to re-join the front

 

The average speed over the last 5km was 47km/h

 

5km remaining from 138km

Team Sky still driving the pace for Ben Swift who will fancy his chances in the final

 

5km remaining from 138km

There are dark skies above but no rain for the final in Victor Harbor which the riders will appreciate

 

4km remaining from 138km

Trek-Segafredo is bringing Nizzolo forward while Movistar have JJ Lobato

 

There are a few corners on the run in to the finish with 3km to go

Safely around the roundabout and its still Sky leading with GreenEdge sitting in behind

 

2km remaining from 138km

Katusha are moving forward now

 

1km remaining from 138km

It's a technical run in for the final kilometre

Katusha and Team Sky lead into the final kilometre

 

Team Sky lead it out

 

Simon Gerrans wins in the ochre jersey and extends his overall race lead

 

Simon Gerrans wins in the ochre jersey and extends his overall race lead

 

Simon Gerrans wins in the ochre jersey and extends his overall race lead

 

Simon Gerrans times his sprint for the second day in a row to claim the win and further extend his overall lead

 

It was Simon Gerrans, Ben Swift and Giacomo Nizzolo

 

After a 16-month wait for a personal win yesterday, Simon Gerrans was immediately back in the winners book with his well timed sprint ahead of Swift and Nizzolo

 

So, Simon Gerrans wins his fifth career stage at the Tour Down Under and will stage stage 5 of the race in a very strong position to claim a fourth GC win. Thanks for joining us today and keep clicking back for a full race report, results, photos from today and race highlights later on as well

 

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