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Tour Down Under 2018: Stage 4


Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 4 of the Tour Down Under


We're starting an hour earlier than originally scheduled here at stage 4 of the Tour Down Under: at 10.30am instead of 11.30am, to beat the heat.

Just an hour away now from the start of the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under: 128.2km from Norwood in the east of Adelaide up to Uraidla in the Adelaide Hills.

Unfortunately, because of another day of expected hot weather, the TDU organisers have made the decision to cancel today's Bupa Challenge Tour, which should have seen hundreds of keen amateur riders tackle the same course the pros will race today.

"It is the first time in the history of the Bupa Challenge Tour that we have been required to cancel, and it is the right thing to do," said race director Mike Turtur, who also made the decision to start the pro men's race an hour earlier. "We must consider the safety of everyone involved at all times: event officials, riders, and of course the fans."


We're counting down to the start of stage 4 of the TDU - 128.2km between Norwood and Uraidla - starting at 10.30am.

As Mitchelton-Scott DS Matt White told cyclingnews ahead of today's stage, Daryl Impey, who sits third overall, 14 seconds down on team-mate and current race leader Caleb Ewan, may be one to watch as the road heads upwards approaching the finish.


Regarding the weather, the latest forecast we've seen is for 37 degrees at the finish in Uraidla up in the Adelaide Hills at 2pm, when the riders are scheduled to finish. Don't get us wrong: that's hot. But it's nevertheless getting on for 10 degrees cooler than at the finish of stage 3 in Victor Harbor yesterday.


Quick Step sprinter Elia Viviani's stage win at Victor Harbor yesterday, with the 10-second win bonus, moved him up to second place overall, still 10 seconds behind overnight leader Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott).

Ewan's team-mate, Daryl Impey, is third, another four seconds behind Viviani, with Bora-Hansgrohe's Jay McCarthy fourth, a further second behind.


The overall classification ahead of stage 4 looks like this:

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 10:58:36
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:10
3 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:14
4 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:15
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:16
6 Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:17
7 Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:19
8 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:20
9 Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
10 Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ


The big names to look out for on today's stage, besides Daryl Impey, should be Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), Education First's Lachlan Morton, and maybe a first proper look at defending champion and BMC leader Richie Porte's form.

Others may include Lotto NL-Jumbo veteran Robert Gesink, Porte's BMC team-mate Rohan Dennis, Bora-Hansgrohe's Jay McCarthy, and perhaps his team-mate, world champion Peter Sagan, if he's feeling frisky on the climb up Norton Summit, which ends just 7km from the slightly downhill finish in Uraidla.


And what about Dimension Data's Nicholas Dlamini? The King of the Mountains leader has won all three KoM summits in the race so far, taking maximum points, but today's KoM at Norton Summit comes late in the race, so will we see him go long in an early break, or will his team try to keep things together to allow him to launch one of his already-trademark uphill sprints for maximum points?


This is how the King of the Mountains classification looks ahead of today's stage:

1 Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Dimension Data 36 points
2 Scott Bowden (Aus) UniSA-Australia 18
3 William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac 12
4 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 8
5 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 8
6 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 4
7 Jaime Castrillo (Spa) Movistar Team 4
8 Alex Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 2


128km remaining from 128km

And we're away for stage 4, starting with an almost 10km neutral zone before the fun kicks off.


How the points classification looks going into stage 4:

1 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 42 points
2 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 37
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 36
4 Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin 25
5 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Sunweb 24
6 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 23
7 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe 21
8 William Clarke (Aus) EF Education First-Drapac 20
9 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 15
10 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott 14


The riders are still in the neutralised zone: the calm before the (very hot) storm...


Race director Mike Turtur is about to drop the flag to start the race proper.


Two of the UniSA riders - Zak Dempster and Alex Porter - have made an early breakaway bid, and probably would have expected a few other riders to come with them.


3km remaining from 128km

UniSA-Australia duo Porter and Dempster already have a lead creeping up to a minute, and there is zero sign of anyone else joining them, as the peloton trundles out of Adelaide in the sunshine.


125km remaining from 128km

UniSA-Australia duo Porter and Dempster already have a lead creeping up to a minute, and there is zero sign of anyone else joining them, as the peloton trundles out of Adelaide in the sunshine.


The road steadily rises all the way to the first intermediate sprint after 36km of racing, and then keeps going until around halfway through today's 128km-long stage.

The two UniSA riders - Zak Dempster and Alex Porter - have built a lead of almost two-and-a-half minutes, as the peloton still seems content to take things relatively easy.

Dempster is already the virtual race leader. The Australian began the day 2'06" down on race leader Caleb Ewan. Porter is 94th overall, 6'23" in arrears.


Katusha's Nathan Haas would be a good bet for the stage win today. He told our man Zeb Woodpower how the stages in the second half of the race - today to Uraidla and tomorrow's stage to Willingu Hill - suit his abilities best.


Katusha's Nathan Haas would be a good bet for the stage win today. He told our man Zeb Woodpower how the stages in the second half of the race - today to Uraidla and tomorrow's stage to Willingu Hill - suit his abilities best.


116km remaining from 128km

There's still no reaction from the bunch to the early move by UniSA's Zak Dempster and Alex Porter, who now have a lead of almost six minutes.

The UniSA-Australia squad - whose two riders, Zak Dempster and Alex Porter, currently lead the stage - is a composite team made up of Australian riders from teams that haven't been invited to the race.

Dempster, for example, currently rides for the Israel Cycling Academy pro-continental team, while Porter is a member of the Australian Bennelong continental outfit.

105km remaining from 128km

The lead for Porter and Dempster is now over seven minutes.

105km remaining from 128km

Porter and Dempster finally get a downhill section, and are pushing hard on the descent to distance themselves even further.

101km remaining from 128km

We're getting a bit of a reaction from the bunch now: Mitchelton-Scott, Quick Step and BMC have put a couple of riders at the head of affairs. They've decided that 8'30" for the breakaway is perhaps a bit much.

Lotto-Soudal's Andre Greipel and Thomas De Gendt are riding along steadily in no-man's land, just ahead of the bunch. The result of pushing ahead for an early toilet-stop, perhaps...

93km remaining from 128km

The current situation is that UniSA pair Zak Dempster and Alex Porter are still out-front with a lead of almost nine minutes with 93km still to race.

Andre Greipel and Thomas De Genet - both of Lotto-Soudal - still dangle, somewhat bizarrely, just a few metres ahead of the bunch.

That's Thomas De Gendt, of course - not Genet!

92km remaining from 128km

Five Bora-Hansgrohe riders have now come towards the front of the bunch. There are still two points and a 1 second time bonus left available at the intermediate sprint, which will be of interest to Bora's Jay McCarthy, who is fourth overall.

91km remaining from 128km

Dempster and Porter - in the break - have already hoovered up the three- and two-second time bonuses at the first intermediate sprint at Birdwood.

It looks as though a few riders back in the bunch are lining up for that final one-second bonus, as well as two points for the points jersey.

Elia Viviani (Quick Step) won that final one-second time bonus at the first intermediate sprint.

Viviani taking that final single-second time bonus moves him a second closer to overall leader Caleb Ewan: the Italian is now just nine seconds off the race lead. But that will probably mean nothing come the end of this hilly stage. Neither rider is likely to feature at the finish.

More importantly, Viviani's third place in the sprint gave him an extra two points towards the sprinters' jersey, which means he's now only three points behind Ewan in that competition.

Viviani is already wearing that green sprint jersey on today's stage, as Ewan is already in the ochre leader's jersey, and can't wear both!

80km remaining from 128km

80km to go, and the break of UniSA duo Zak Dempster and Alex Porter still have a lead of just over nine minutes.


Rohan Dennis has got to be considered one of the favourites to win today's stage in Uraidla, even though his BMC team is backing defending TDU champion Richie Porte for the overall victory.

"It is a GC sort of stage but I don’t think it will define the race," he told cyclingnews at the start in Norwood this morning. "I think it will still be Willing [Hill on Saturday's stage 5]. Today could possibly still be a small bunch sprint of maybe 20 or maximum 30. We are hoping not for Richie.

"The heat is going to play a massive part up Norton Summit, and, if it's a tailwind, there's no protection and nowhere to sit. It's every man for himself. But we all know that Willunga is the big hill, and Richie is the best on that in the world. We will back him."


Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis's BMC team-mate Simon Gerrans also spoke to cyclingnews this morning.

"Today will be hard, if not for anything else but the heat. The tough climb up Norton Summit to finish things off should really split things up.

"The race is still really open with quite a few guys that are really close on the GC, and I guess you are looking at the usual candidates for January. Jay McCarthy, Diego Ulissi and guys like that who are still very close. I think we will have a much better indication after today.

"I am really enjoying it," Gerrans said of having joined the BMC squad this season, having left Orica-Scott. "The change has been great, and I'm really enjoying working with Richie and the other guys at BMC. It is a great group of guys and everything is coming together really well so far this week."



70km remaining from 128km

With 70km to go, UniSA's Alex Porter and Zak Dempster still lead the race by eight minutes, but their lead is finally, gradually, being reduced.

That's down mainly to the efforts of Jack Bauer on the front of the bunch, burying himself for his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates. French squad Ag2r have also now come to the front of the peloton with a number of riders to help out.


Mitchelton-Scott's plan is for Daryl Impey to have a crack on the pretty-much uphill finish to today's stage.

"Norton Summit is a tough climb, especially with the heat," the South African told cyclingnews. "I have ridden quite well on these types of climbs, but it is still going a little bit into the unknown. I'm feeling good, and hopefully I can hang on and have a go for the stage. That being said, there is some tough competition here, with some good climbers. We will see how it goes.

"I've been coming here for six years already," he continued, "so the team know I come to the Tour Down Under prepared. I have been training back home in South Africa, and the weather has been great there - similar to here."


67km remaining from 128km

The rest of the Mitchelton-Scott team are now helping out Jack Bauer at the head of the peloton, including race leader Caleb Ewan, who is ready to sacrifice the ochre jersey, it would seem. They're putting all their eggs in their Daryl Impey basket, and have already pulled the breakaway's lead back to 7'30".

60km remaining from 128km

Inside the final 60km now, Dimension Data are lending a hand to Mitchelton-Scott to try to bring back the breakaway. The South African squad will be looking to launch King of the Mountains leader Nicholas Dlamini up the road just before the climb of Norton Summit - the only climb on the stage, which Dlamini will be hoping to score maximum points on again. But can the young South African neo-pro continue that effort all the way to the finish line, another 7km further on, and actually win the stage?


Seven minutes now to our two leaders - UniSA's Zak Dempster and Alex Porter. Their lead is only gradually coming down, but the bunch rarely gets it wrong.


If Katusha's Nathan Haas wants to improve on his fourth place overall at last year's TDU, he'll need to be up there at the finish on today's stage.

"Last year I stayed up on Woodshill Road [in the Adelaide Hills], and so I know the route today like the back of my hand," he told cyclingnews ahead of the stage.

"It's going to be like a game of Tetris on the final climb today: there'll be guys going left, right, back and forwards. It will be one of those internal battles, and a brief visit with your friend Pain!

"I am a firm believer that if you ride for results, you are doing it the wrong way," Haas added. "The first thing you have to do is to set a process, and as long as your team is working towards a process, you tend to all buy in and then you see a cluster of results, and the result is just a by-product of doing a good job together consistently. It's certainly nice to get one on the board early, but I think the most important thing is to ride as a team, and to work towards what will win you more bike races."


50km remaining from 128km

Elia Viviani (Quick Step) again took the last two points on offer at the second intermediate sprint, which moves him to within a point of the lead in the sprints competition.

All still to play for in the green jersey competition, then, but we're yet to see whether Dimension Data's Nicholas Dlamini can all but sew things up when it comes to the climbers' jersey on Norton Summit, which is now just over 40km away.


49km remaining from 128km

UniSA's Dempster and Porter's lead has plummeted to 4'30" after sterling effort from Mitchelton-Scott, Bora-Hansgrohe and Quick Step at the front of the bunch. They must have got a little bit worried once the break's lead got above nine minutes.


47km remaining from 128km

Porter and Dempster head through the feed-zone in Lenswood with 47km to go with a four-minute lead, and gladly take on some more water bottles.

From here, there's another little rise, and then it's mainly downhill until around 20km to go. They'll have to work hard to maintain their advantage, however, as the bunch have clearly now got the bit between their teeth.


As the peloton goes through the feed-zone, up front Zak Dempster is pushing on alone without his UniSA team-mate Alex Porter, who must have had enough. They would have had a chat together, and decided that it was their best move.


40km remaining from 128km

Bora-Hansgrohe are now doing the bulk of the work on the front of the bunch, trying to set up their leaders Jay McCarthy and/or Peter Sagan for the final climb.

The gap is four minutes between Dempster and the chasing bunch. Porter is somewhere in between, having done his job for the day.


37km remaining from 128km

Zak Dempster (UniSA) has managed to edge his lead over the bunch back up to 4'23". He's been out in front all day - most of it with team-mate Alex Porter, until Porter dropped off the pace five minutes ago - so how much longer can he survive?


It's been a good effort by UniSA's Alex Porter in today's break, but he's now about to be recaptured by the peloton.


Dempster (UniSA) still has a lead of 3'20", but it's falling rapidly now.


Dempster's down in an aero tuck now on this downhill section, trying to eke out every advantage he can to retain his lead.


World champ Peter Sagan is now helping his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates. It looks as though they're all in for Jay McCarthy. Peter Kennaugh - the British rider who's joined Bora this season - might also fancy his chances on the final climb, and could be a great help to McCarthy.


25km remaining from 128km

Dempster's lead has fallen to 2'10" with 25km to go, which means there's less then 10km for him until the start of the final climb.


Astana and Sky are now at the front of the bunch for the first time today. The jostling has begun for all the teams to get their contenders to the front for the start of the climb to Norton Summit.


The Norton Summit climb is around 6km in length, with an average gradient of 5%. Expect fireworks, but how far can Dempster still go?

Once over the summit, the riders have 7km of mainly downhill, but narrow and winding, roads to the finish.


19km remaining from 128km

Dempster's inside the final 20km of the stage now, approaching the start of the final climb. He's had a long, hot day at the head of affairs, but his days are numbered now as the other teams jostle for position at the front of the peloton.


Race leader Caleb Ewan is dropping off the back of the bunch - likely for more water bottles for his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates at this point, before the suffering begins on the climb. It's pretty much guaranteed that he'll lose his race lead this afternoon.


19km remaining from 128km

Dutch squad Lotto-Jumbo have come to the front of the bunch now, looking for Robert Gesink and George Bennett to ready themselves for the climb.


18km remaining from 128km

That's it for Zak Dempster now: his lead fell quickly, and the bunch have caught him at the base of Norton Summit. A great effort today, though.


17km remaining from 128km

With everything back together, Team Sky are driving the peloton now. That's put some riders in trouble at the back of the bunch already.


16km remaining from 128km

Education First, in their new bright pink kit, have taken over at the front now, followed by Lotto-Jumbo.


15km remaining from 128km

Zak Dempster has, unsurprisingly, been dropped. He can barely turn his pedals over anymore.

Race leader Caleb Ewan has dropped off now, too.


Mitchelton-Scott's Aussie champion Alex Edmondson is near the front, looking for his team-mate Daryl Impey. As a local boy, Edmondson will know this climb better than most.


BMC have come to the front for the first time now to set the tempo thanks to Miles Scotson.


We're onto the climb proper now, and although it's still all together for now, the race is strung out into single file. Richie Porte (BMC) is about fifth in line.


Myles 'Miles' Scotson, the 2017 Australian national champion, has his jersey fully unzipped, trying to take in as much air as he can. He still leads the race, keeping the pace very difficult.


Scotson swings off, and Simon Gerrans takes over setting the pace for BMC.


EF's Brendan Canty sits in second, just behind Gerrans. Porte is seventh or eighth in line.


Nathan Haas (Katusha) looks as though he was too far back, and has had to bridge the gap to the 30-strong front group. He's up there now.


Gerrans (BMC) still leads, followed by EF's Canty and Michael Valgren (Astana). They're around half-way up the climb now, but all strung out.


Peter Sagan is still in this front group of around 30 riders.


No one appears able to attack as BMC's Simon Gerrans continues to keep the pace high.


8km remaining from 128km

There's still a big group, led by Gerrans, heading towards the top of Norton Summit, which is around 1km away.


It's now 45 degrees up here, and it looks as though we're going to have a big group sprint it out for the stage win.


7km remaining from 128km

BMC's Richie Porte appeared to take maximum points at the top of the category 1 climb of Norton Summit. It's the first climb that Dimension Data's Nicholas Dlamini hasn't won at this race. He doesn't appear to be in this front group.


6km remaining from 128km

The road kicks up again yet before the downhill finish.

Gerrans has dropped off, but his BMC team-mates Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte are still in the running for the stage win.


EF's Brendan Canty attacks, followed by Bahrain's Gorka Izaguirre.

Izaguirre and Canty have got a gap, which George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo) is trying to close.


Now Bennett has a go. He's looking strong.


Bennett goes again.


It's back together again. Bennett and Porte are having a chat...


Now there's an attack from Michael Valgren (Astana), with around 4km to go.


Gerrans in fact got maximum KoM points at the top of the climb. 


Porte and Bennett attack. That's what they were planning together...


3km remaining from 128km

Sagan now attacks on a downhill section. Porte and Bennett can only watch.


3km remaining from 128km

Sagan now has a good gap.


2km remaining from 128km

Porte has managed to pull Sagan back, and Bennett and Dennis are there, too.


Impey's still there.


1km remaining from 128km

Inside the final km, led by Richie Porte (BMC).


Impey opens the sprint, followed by Sagan.

Impey opens the sprint, followed by Sagan.

 Sagan wins stage 4.

Peter Sagan comes over the top of Daryl Impey (Mitchelton) to win stage 4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) is third.

That should give Sagan the race lead.


Bora-Hansgrohe's Peter Sagan means business here at the TDU this year. With the bonus seconds, that stage win has given him the overall lead.

Overall classification after stage 4:

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) + 2 secs

3. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) + 9 secs


Stage 4, Norwood - Uraidla, 128.2km:


1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe

2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott

3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana

4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE-Emirates

5. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe

6. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step

7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida

8. Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Emirates

9. Pierre Latour (Fra) Ag2r

10. Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo



General classification after stage 4:


1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe

2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott + 2 secs

3. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe + 9 secs

4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Astana + 10 secs

5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE-Emirates + 14 secs

6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Lotto-Jumbo

7. Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Emirates

8. George Bennett (Nzl) Lotto-Jumbo

9. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick Step

10. Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky


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