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Tour Down Under 2017: Stage 4

Today's stage starts in just under 45 minutes. Riders will take off from Norwood at 11:30 local time and eventually make their way to the finish in Campbelltown. The start and finish are very close as the crow flies, but the peloton will take the "scenic" route to get there.

Stage 4 Map

 

 

Stage 4 Profile

 

 

Today's star once again features one KOM and two iiNET intermediate sprints.

 

The Category 2 KOM at Checker Hill Road comes 25.1km into the day.

 

The riders will contest the first intermediate sprint in Birdwood at 37.5km. The second sprint comes in Mt. Pleasant 90.6km

 

Looking back to yesterday's third stage, Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) took his second stage win of the race. Check out the top 10 from stage 3.

 

Stage 3 Top 10

 

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 3:24:45
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
7 Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
9 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
10 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin

 

Stage 2 winner Richie Porte (BMC Racing) continues to lead the general classification:

 

General Classification top 10

 

1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 10:34:59
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:22
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:27
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:29
7 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
9 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo

 

Jersey leaders after stage 3:

 

Ochre leader's jersey: Richie Porte

 

Red sprint jersey: Caleb Ewan

 

Mountains jersey: Richie Porte (Lotto Soudal's Thomas De Gendt will wear jersey during stage 4)

 

Best Young Rider: Ruben Guerriero (Trek-Segafredo)

 

Today's stage is about to start. Riders will have an 8km neutral roll out before the flag drops

 

Rider have started out on their 8km neutral. 

 

While the riders loosen up their legs with a neutral tool out, let's look at some of today's news.

 

Belgian cycling federation president Tom Van Damme is in Australia for the Tour Down Under, and people have been talking about a possible run for UCI president. Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson asked Van Damme about the rumours. Read more HERE.

 

The Tour de San Luis is gone, but the Vuelta a San Juan will take place in Argentina January 23-29. Read our preview of the race HERE.

 

Lance Armstrong is back in the news after it was announced he and several teammates will compete in the Old Pueblo 24-hour mountain bike race. Read more about it HERE.

 

Trek-Segafredo's Edward Theuns broke his back in a nasty crash at the Tour de France last July. Now he's jumped back into competition at the Tour Down Under and has two top 10 finishes. Read about Theun's comeback HERE.

 

 

The race has started and the peloton is all together. Attacks have started.

 

While the riders are sorting out who will make the escape today, you can take a look at this article about Chris Froome's favourite climbs.

 

144km remaining from 149km

Tsgabu Grmay (Bahrain-Merida), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin) and Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) have a small gap.

 

Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) and Francois Bidard (Ag2R) are in pursuit.

 

The three up front have 12 seconds, but the two chasers have been caught.

 

The race is all back together in the front, but several riders are struggling off the back. Those riders are  Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data), Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and Michael Kolar (Bora-Hansgrohe)

 

The Ansteys Hill is putting a few riders in trouble.

 

Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida), Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors) and Cam Meyer (UniSA-Australia) have a small gap.

 

Cink, Bauer and Meyer have a 27-second gap

 

The gap has grown to 45 seconds. This could be the move of the day.

 

131km remaining from 149km

The gap is up to a minute for the three escapees

 

The gap has grown to 1:30 as the leaders approach the KOM on Checker Hill Road at 25.1km

 

Cink, who started the day 57 seconds down on race leader Richie Porte, is now the virtual leader on the road.

 

Cink has jumped away in search of KOM points. The former mountain biker was also in the breakaway on the opening day.

 

Some action from Thomas De Gendt and Esteban Chaves between before the KOM.

 

 

KOM points go back four places, so they're angling for anything left after the breakaway riders get the first three spots.

 

123km remaining from 149km

The gap is up to 2:25

 

Next up, the first intermediate sprint of the day in Birdwood at 37.5km

 

KOM results:

 

1. Ondrej Cink (Bahrain - Merida)
2. Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia)
3. Jack Bauer (Quick - Step Floors)
4. Esteban Chaves (COrica-Scott)

 

Sprint 1 results:

 

1. Jack Bauer (Quick - Step Floors)
2. Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia)
3. Ondrej Cink (Bahrain - Merida)

 

The peloton appears to be feeling stingy today, as the gap to the three leaders is down to 2:10.

 

The gap is down to 2 minutes. Having a rider just 57 seconds down in a breakaway with two motivated and veteran riders makes this move dangerous.

 

104km remaining from 149km

The gap continues to come down. It's at 1:45 now

 

Cink is a 27-year-old Czeck rider who came to road racing from mountain biking. This is his first year of pro road racing.

 

Bauer is a 31-year-old from new Zealand who has been a pro since 2010. He rode wight he Garmin and cannon dale teams for seven years before moving to Quick-Step this year.

 

Meyer is a 29-year-old Australian who is leading the UniSA-Australia national team after four years with Orica.

 

New time gap: 1:25. The trend continues

 

Australian Nathan Haas is laying it all o the line this year at the Tour Down Under. he's currently fifth overall and says today could be his best chance for a stage win. You can read more about Haas at this year's race HERE.

 

 

99km remaining from 149km

Gap has gone up to 1:35

 

88km remaining from 149km

Time gap is 1:45. The next intermediate sprint comes n Mt. Pleasant at 90.6km

 

Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) is currently 4th overall, 24 seconds behind Porte. The ambitious 24-year-old Australian has his sights set on the final overall podium. Read more about McCarthy HERE.

 

 

As you'd expect, BMC riders are on the front of the peloton keeping this dangerous move in check for Richie Porte. The gap has been at 1:45 for a spell now.

 

Movistar's Alejandro Valevrde conformed today that he'll ride both the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in 2017. Read about Valverde's plans HERE.

 

 

South Australia has put in a bid to host the 2020 World Championships in Adelaide, and Tour Down Under Race Director Mike Turtur said he would consider a role in organising the event once further information emerges. Read more HERE.

 

The gap is holding around 1:30. The long, fast downhill run to the finish in Campbelltown could be motivating the peloton to keep the escapees close. They don't want t give them too much leash as the downhill will negate some of the peloton's advantage

 

22-year-old Caleb Ewan has already won two stages at the Tour Down Under. How many more can he add? He spoke with TV this morning before the start.

 

He addressed yesterday's win.

 

"it was a pretty tricky final yesterday, but I stayed calm and just moved up when I could and luckily there was a headwind in the final straight, and it only takes a few seconds of hesitation in a headwind in a sprint that you can move up pretty easy. I got pretty lucky there and had an open run at the finish."

 

Looking to today's stage, Ewan expects a hard day.

 

"It is a hard one. It is one of those stages which can go either way. It is going to be a really tough climb straight out of the blocks here, and obviously it doesn't descend straight away, it stays up the top of the ridge and up and down all day. It won't be an easy one."

 

The peloton is going through the feed zone now. The breakaway has already been and the riders are eating and drinking.

 

The leaders are heading into  strong wind as they approach the second intermediate sprint. Gap is still at 1:30

 

58km remaining from 149km

The leaders are throughout he second intermediate sprint. Meyer takes the maximum pints and time bonus, but the trio just rode through. They didn't contest it.

 

Sprint 2 results:

 

1 Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia)
2 Jack Bauer (Quick - Step Floors)
3 Ondrej Cink (Bahrain - Merida)

 

55km remaining from 149km

BMC still lined up on the front of the peloton. There's no sense of urgency in the bunch, that's clear.

 

Jack Bauer has attacked the group. Meyer responds but Cink is gone, possibly for good.

 

Cink is already back in the peloton, while Bauer and Meyer maintain their 1:30 lead

 

BMC riders just stormed past Cink. 

 

There are two strong veteran riders left out front now. Meyer and Bauer, the New Zealand TT champ, appear to be working well together. They have a word with each other and seem to confirm their temporary pact as they immediately get back to work.

 

A group of three riders has jumped out of the peloton and is in no-man's land.

 

The trio chasing are Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) and Michael Valgren (Astana)

 

48km remaining from 149km

A rear puncture for Will Clarke.

 

Clarke is rolling again, but his day out front appears to be done.

 

Two leaders are now chased by two riders, with the peloton 1:25 back. It's not clear how far back the two chasers are from the leaders

 

The gap between the two groups out front is now 25 seconds. They could be linking up soon.

 

Bak is now the best-placed breakaway rider at 45th, 1:20 down. He's not quite the virtual leader yet.

 

The race is reporting that both Bauer and Meyer will be awarded the most combative rider prize today.

 

44km remaining from 149km

The gap is now 35 seconds between the break and the chase and 1:25 to the peloton.

 

Bak and Valgren have faded back into the peloton, while the gap for Meyer and Bauer appears to be less than a minute

 

The stage will end with a fast descent into Campbelltown for a slightly uphill finish. Is this the day Peter Sagan gets his first win of 2017?

 

32km remaining from 149km

Gap down to 45 seconds, but Bauer and Meyer show no signs of giving up.

 

Scratch that. Bauer is alone. Meyer has been dropped. It's not clear if there was a mechanical problem or if he decided to give up the ghost. 

 

Orica are on the front of the peloton now, and it's single file with riders struggling on the back. Luke Durbridge is doing the damage.

 

 The two leaders continue to plough along but the bunch continue to have the measure of them. BMC did the lion share of the work early on but a number of sprint teams have started to move up as the bunch lines out. 

It's just Bauer out there now though and he has 45 seconds with 25 km to go.

 

Bauer of course is racing on a new team this year and he's looking to impress his Belgium squad. Dimension Data are leading the bunch now but Bauer is still holding that lead of 45 seconds. 

 

22km remaining from 149km

The road rises and dips as the New Zealand rider uses his TT skills well and tucks himself over the bars. National time trial champion of course now and the lead continues to hold at 45 seconds with 22km to go.

 

How much firepower does Bauer have left? On paper he has little chance at this stage but you never know... As BMC lead Porte towards the front in order to keep him out of trouble. It looks like Dimension Data are working for Renshaw today. 

 

Another KM ticks by and the gap remains at 45 seconds. Bauser drives down a short descent and from the decent arial view we have from the CN blimp that gap isn't 45 seconds, it's a lot less. 

 

The race is hotting up now as Bauer looks to just minimise the damage on another rolling section of the course. He's throwing the bike through each corner, fatigue is surely starting to take a toll. Bauer though knows a few things about winning from the break. He won a thrilling stage of the Tour of Britain last September. He hung on by just a matter of a few feet that time. 

 

Here come Sky, as they muscle towards the front of the peloton to join BMC and Dimension Data. The gap to Bauer is now at 33 seconds. The QuickStep rider is having a fantastic day out there and he's making the bunch work.

 

I have to say this is a perfect scenario for Porte. He can enjoy other teams lining out the bunch as BMC simply have to keep the race leader safe and sound. The Tour de France contender is ticking off another stage here at the Tour Down Under.

 

Bauer is full gas, positioning himself right on the edge of the saddle. He's looking for every watt he can find in that 'suitcase of courage'. TM Paul Sherwin.

 

Bauer is climbing again and with 19km to go the bunch is about 15 seconds off the Quick Step Floors rider. Will Patrick Lefevere be waking up this morning to find his team with another win? 

 

17km remaining from 149km

BMC are losing a couple of men off the back of the bunch as Porte moves up on Caruso's wheel. 17km to go.

 

Bauer has 20 seconds still as Orica move up, Ewan second wheel and they'll be looking to perhaps set up Gerrans for the sprint today. Haas is up there a well. 

 

12 seconds now as Bauer hits 80kpm on the descent. Dimension Data again wrestle control at the front of the peloton. 10 seconds now.

 

10km remaining from 149km

10km to go, the gap at 10 seconds. 

 

Into the final 7km and the bunch are about to make the catch. 

 

6km and he's still leading. He looks back though and he can hear the peloton coming. 

 

Van Poppel is at the back of the Sky train as they move up. Bora are trying to organise their effort too as we head into the final 5000m. Bauer is still out there and giving it everything as he takes another tight corner. 

 

And with 4km to go it's all over for Bauer. He's sat up.

 

And Cannondale take a march and hit the front as they look to make sure Woods is well positioned before the finish. Porte is where he needs to be as well. 

 

This left hand turn is crucial. Ewan is coming up with Impey. 

 

Sagan is there to as we head towards the sprint finish.

 

1km to go.

 

Orica on the front as Klugge takes it up

 

There's an attack from Bora.

 

The road now kicks up as Van Poppel comes up.

 

He leads out.

 

Ewan is on his wheel. 

 

Ewan comes out of the Sky rider's wheel and he's level. He's level.

 

Ewan takes it. Another win for the Orica Scott rider. 

 

Sagan was fighting to come back there but he lost Ewan's wheel and takes second on the line. Van Poppel is third, Ben Swift is fourth and Haas fifth.

 

Here's the top ten from today's stage

 

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
4 Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6 Baptiste Planckeart (bel) Katusha
7 Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Callum Scotson (Aus) Unisa-Australia
9 Jasha S¸tterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
10 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo

 

Van Poppel was on course there after a better leadout from Team Sky but with Ewan on his wheel the writing was on the wall. Sagan close again, just lost Ewan in the final stages and left himself with too much to do.

 

General Classification after stage 4
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14:20:12
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 00:00:22
3 Jay McCarhty (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:24
4 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 00:00:27
5 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:00:29
6 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 00:00:29
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 00:00:29
8 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal 00:00:29
9 R˙ben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:29
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 00:00:29

 

As you can see from the top ten there, Gorka Izagirre isn't there. We're not sure if he stopped during the stage or just lost contact in the final few kilometres. What it means though is that Chaves is up to second overall, 22 seconds off Porte's lead. 

 

You can find our brief report, results and photos, RIGHT HERE.

 

No DNFs yet from the race organisers but not all of the results are available yet. No news on Gorka Izagirre just yet but his GC ambitions look over if these provisional results are to be believed. 

 

A reminder of the top ten for today's stage as Porte and Ewan head for today's podium. 

 

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
4 Ben Swift (GBr) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data
6 Baptiste Planckeart (bel) Katusha
7 Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Callum Scotson (Aus) Unisa-Australia
9 Jasha S¸tterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
10 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo

 

That's Ewan's fifth TDU stage win in two years. Impressive tally for the 22-year-old.

 

"It was ok. I think the strongest won. It was a hard finish and I was maybe more patient than yesterday. I was screaming at Luke [Rowe] to go, but in the end he went much later and it was better for me with the uphill finish. With 200m to go I went and two people came across me. I think it's no shame to be third behind those two names," Van Poppel said at the finish.

"I felt like I had good legs, but if you wait too long everybody will come from behind and that happened yesterday. I didn't want to make that mistake again. For me, third is ok, you see Sagan and Ewan are top sprinters."

 

Bauer, who was in the break for most of the day has spoken at the finish:

 

"It is the stage this week that I thought there was a small chance of the break going to the line. A few years ago, Bobridge held off everybody to win in Campbelltown. Obviously it wasn’t the same stage but a similar finale and similar run in. we never had enough rope really to vie for the stage but I was going to give it a crack anyone."
 

"You have to gamble, you have to roll the dice. It always depends how the bunch is feeling behind you and apparently they were feeling pretty good because it is not all downhill, that Gorge. There is a fair bit of uphill in it too. Inside the final 20, 15 kilometres I rolled the dice but by four kay they had me. Good day out but no cigar."

 

New and corrected top ten with Izagirre back in at second on GC.

 

1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 14:20:18
2 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-Scott 0:00:22
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data 0:00:27
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:29
7 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
9 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal
10 Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo

 

NEW corrected top ten at the Tour Down Under with Gorka Izagirre keeping second https://t.co/THyyeeh7IX #TDU https://t.co/HyuDkQop9X

@Cyclingnewsfeed Fri, 20th Jan 2017 06:04:35

Luke Rowe lays out his aims for 2017 - Classic and supporting Froome at the Tour https://t.co/8NUOvAKHWR https://t.co/qWBUSxlnZm

@dnlbenson Fri, 20th Jan 2017 06:02:09

Ewan has just been asked if he wants to be the best sprinter in the world:

 

"I don’t think I have ever said that. It would be nice but obviously there is a lot of depth in sprinting at the moment, a lot of good young guys coming through and a lot of older guys are still good. Like Cav and Greipel and those guys so it will be hard to become the best sprinter in the world but hopefully one day."

 

6th place from Baptiste Planckaert stage 4 @tourdownunder #TeamKatushaAlpecin #raceasafamily #racetowin https://t.co/Fnd3l9ahdP

@katushacycling Fri, 20th Jan 2017 06:12:26

Race leader, Richie Porte, has spoken at the finish:

 

"Yesterday and today, I had so much to lose and not a lot to gain so to get that one done is a massive relief and now it's Willunga which I know quite well. But that's a different scenario going into it now. I don't have to attack, I've just got to follow. So it's not all about the stage win tomorrow, it's more about trying to defend the ochre jersey," Porte explained.


"We have a great team and I'm pretty relaxed with where I'm at. If they [General Classification contenders] want to hit out early, we have the team to try and control it. But we have a trump card in Rohan Dennis, he's lean, he's strong and he's pretty motivated."


"The atmosphere on Willunga is incredible. It's like riding the Tour de France every year, so it's a special stage to win. So we'll just see how it all pans out."

 

We will leave it there for today. You can find our report, results, images and quotes, RIGHT HERE.

 

We will be back tomorrow for the stage to Willunga Hill. See you then!

 

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