10th Tour Down Under - ProT
Australia, January 20-27, 2008
Results & report
Stage 4 - Friday, January 25: Mannum - Strathalbyn, 134km
Complete live report
Please join us on Friday, January
25, 2008, for the fourth stage of the 2008 Tour Down Under, a 134 run from Mannum
to Strathalbyn. Coming after stage 3, it's likely to be another hard-fought
race given that only 12 seconds separates the top 10 riders on GC.
Good morning and welcome to the Cyclingnews
live coverage of the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under, a 134 stretch from
Mannum out to Strathalbyn. Today will be slightly warmer than previous days,
with a maximum of 33 degrees expected.
11:11 CST 3km/131km to go
This morning we spoke
to TV commentator and 'voice of cycling', Phil Ligget, who said, "I honestly
don't know who will win today, it's open to anyone. I'd like to see a bigger
break go down the road". Meanwhile, Team CSC's Stuart O'Grady believes that
yesterday's stage winner is in a good place to secure the overall victory. "I'm
feeling better as the kilometres go by. I'm 10 percent better than I was at
the start, " he said, referring to his gradual recovery from horrific injuries
sustained in last year's tour de France. "I think Allan Davis (UniSA - Australia)
is in a really strong position to win the event."
11:14 CST 5km/129km to go
Shortly after the start
there was a flurry of attacks and it was Frantisek Rabon (Cze) from Team High
Road and Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr)
of quick Step who managed to establish
a small lead. They have been joined by Luke Roberts of UniSA - Australia and
then riders from Bouygues Telecom and Liquigas.
11:16 CST 6km/128km to go
And then by the sixth
kilometre, they were all back together. There is a gradual uphill drag from
the start until the town of Palmer, and from there it increases in steepness
and leads to the first KoM of the stage at 20km.
11:17 CST 8km/126km to go
The constant uphill
gradient from the start is already taking its toll. The peloton has split into
three - there are 10 riders away the front, then a group of 30-40, then the
remainder of the peloton strung out in single file.
11:19 CST 9km/125km to go
The two groups at the
front joined together and behind this large front group, the remainder of the
peloton is going very hard to get back on. Phew. Here's a good heart-starter.
Evgeny Sokolov (Rus) from Bouygues Teleocm is in trouble, going out the back.
11:22 CST 10km/124km to go
And the Bouygues Telecom
rider, Evgeny Sokolov from Russia, has abandoned. Ahead of him the peloton has
reformed but it's gutter-hugging riding as there is a stiff crosswind blowing
from the riders' right-to-left, pushing them into the left-hand shoulder of
the road. Hard going this morning until a group goes clear. Nick Gates (Aus)
from Silence - Lotto was dangling off the back there for a while, but he's got
11:24 CST 12km/122km to go
And another group
has made its way off the front. And it now has 25 seconds on the peloton. It
includes Nicki Sorensen (Den) from Team CSC, Mathieu Perget (Fra) from Caisse
D'Epargne and Simon Clarke (Aus) of UniSA - Australia. Good to see the French
riders maintaining their attacking style - they have been in every break so
11:31 CST 14km/120km to go
It looks like a rider
from Saunier-Duval Scott is trying to make his way across, could be Arkaitz
Duran Daroca (Spa). He has managed to get a 20 second gap on the peloton, while
our three leaders now have a 40 second lead on the peloton. Behind them, Adam
Hansen (Aus) from Team High Road has a flat and needs a rear wheel. Bad timing
for a flat.
11:32 CST 17km/117km to go
OK - they're on the
climb and it is Duran from Spain (Saunier-Duval) who's made contact with our
three leaders. The gap to the peloton has come down to 30 seconds.
11:34 CST 18km/116km to go
Hansen of Team High
Road has got back on after a quick wheel change, and to get back on he's passing
other riders going out the back on the climb. Ouch.
11:36 CST 20km/114km to go
The peloton just went
past the KoM sprint at 20 seconds to our four leaders, who are now on a short
descent and then they face another climb. It is a stage that can favour a break,
as the Stage
4 profile is far from flat.
11:39 CST 22km/112km to go
Our leaders have stretched
the gap back out to 35 seconds, and this is to a chase group that's gone off
the front of the main peloton, which trails a few hundred metres behind.
11:44 CST 26km/108km to go
And our four leaders
have been caught by what was a 'chasing group' but is now actually half the
peloton, so basically, the field has split in two.
11:49 CST 27km/107km to go
So with an ever-so-slight
lull in the main field part 1, two riders took off. We have Nicolas Crosbie
(Fra) of Bouygues Telecom, who's been active all week, and Tom Stubbe (Bel)
of Francaise Des Jeux. A few hundred metres down the road and David Moncoutie
(Fra) of Cofidis got across, too. Go the French. Make a race of it, lads.
11:50 CST 29km/105km to go
And they're all back
together, so that's another good go off the front that hasn't succeeded. Waiting
on the time gap to the main field part 2. And the results of that first KoM,
11:55 CST 31km/103km to go
The time gap between
the two groups of rider - and there is about 60 riders in the main field - is
now at 1.15. There are riders trying to get across from that large, second group.
We're waiting to determine who's in the first group and if it contains the leaders.
11:57 CST 33km/101km to go
Obviously, there are
some quality riders in that second group as it's eating into the gap and gradually
coming back - the team cars are being ordered out of the way ... looks like
it will come back together.
12:00 CST 34km/100km to go
The field is back
together and that scare of a major split averted. Well, it would have made it
interesting had they stayed away.
12:03 CST 35km/99km to go
And things aren't too
quiet for long, as Willy Walker from Rabobank has attacked. Earlier today, the
young Australian rider told us, "I am feeling good and we will try and get the
(leader's) jersey back today. There might be some breaks so we will try and
get in those," he said to Cyclingnews Paul Verkuylen.
12:04 CST 37km/97km to go
Willy's a wee bit too
dangerous to be allowed any space, so he's brought back after a good flurry.
So now riders from Lampre and Liquigas have a dig.
12:07 CST 40km/94km to go
The field is still
in one piece, and earlier, Stuart O’Grady (Aus) from Team CSC and Christophe
Le Mevel (Fra) from Credit Agricole were brought down but they have now re-joined.
12:14 CST 46km/88km to go
After his tumble, Stuey
had a dig off the front and was joined by Jose Ivan Gutierrez of Caisse D'Epargne.
But they didn't get far as the peloton wound up the pace in time for the first
intermediate sprint a couple of k's down the road.
12:16 CST 47km/87km to go
And just before the
first sprint, the peloton has split in two - again. The sprinters' teams are
winding it up. Four riders are within 2 points of each other in the sprinters'
12:20 CST 49km/85km to go
Shortly after the sprint,
Jeremy Roy (Fra) of Francaise Des Jeux attacked the main field. He was then
joined by Stuey O'Grady and Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) of Cofidis ... they have
100m on the peloton.
12:22 CST 50km/84km to go
... and then they don't.
It's unlikely that O'Grady would be allowed to escape with only two attempts.
The little tumble before must have made him feel a lot better, as he was only
saying earlier today how he's gradually improving with every stage.
12:26 CST 54km/80km to go
All this attacking
is taking its toll and again, the main field splits in two, and it's warmer
today, plus there are crosswinds. It looks like there are 60-70 riders in the
front group and it has a 500-metre lead. We're coming up to the second intermediate
sprint at Woodside ... still waiting on the official results of the KoM and
12:34 CST 58km/76km to go
We have the results
of the KoM sprint in near Palmer, and it was Arkaitz Duran (Spa) of Saunier
Duval - Scott, followed by Mathieu Perget (Fra) of Caisse D'Epargne, then Nicki
Sorensen (Den) of Team CSC, Simon Clarke (Aus) of UniSA - Australia and Philippe
Gilbert (Bel) of FDJ. So this should help the Belgian, Gilbert, retain his mountains
12:37 CST 62km/72km to go
And now for the sprint
results. The first intermediate sprint in Mt Torrens after 48kms was taken out
by Allan Davis of UniSA, then Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) of Caisse D'Epargne, and
then Gilbert (again) of FDJ. Alby sprinting against Sanchez and Gilbert? Easy
... I say that but the neutral service vehicle is having a very busy day.
12:42 CST 65km/69km to go
The results of the
second sprint at 60km into the stage in Woodside saw Jan Robert Forster (Ger)
of Gerolsteiner take the points, ahead of Mark Renshaw from Credit Agricole
and then Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel - Euskadi. The pace and conditions are
really taking their toll on the field, as it's split in two - again! This time
the front group is about 20 riders strong, while there is a second chase group
of 40 containing the ocher leader's jersey, and it's got away from (what's left
of) the peloton. The warmer conditions are taking their toll today.
12:44 CST 68km/66km to go
Our reporters out on
the course today say there are fewer people spectating, but still many are out
there, taking shade under trees in the sparsely vegetated rural landscape. The
peloton went past an army barracks and all the soldiers lined the route, dressed
in their fatigues, cheering the riders on. Our lead group of 20 has about 20
seconds to the chase group containing the leader. The Shimano neutral service
motorcycle is doing a roring trade handing out bidons.
12:48 CST 70km/64km to go
The gap between the
two groups is coming down - rapidly - as the race leader Renshaw is in the second
group. Today's stage isn't really turning out as expected; perhaps even the
riders thought that a repeat of the three previous days would be too much.
12:51 CST 73km/61km to go
And the two front groups
containing all the main contenders are back together, although there has been
a large bunch of riders shelled out the back and they will struggle to make
contact. It seems this second group is almost two minutes behind the leading
13:00 CST 80km/54km to go
Javier Aramendia of
Euskaltel - Euskadi has attacked the lead group while Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
has requested the race doctor provide him with some eye drops. Brown is dangling
off the back of the main group while other riders in this front group get bidons
and nibbles from team cars. And a big shout-out today to UniSA's Luke Roberts,
who celebrates his birthday today. "I'm sure with it being my birthday, all
the other guys are going to let me win," he said. (He was joking.)
13:02 CST 82km/52km to go
The EE rider Aramendia
looks like he's got a minute on the lead group. We're not sure how far back
the second group has dropped, or who it contains.
13:06 CST 84km/50km to go
Aramendia now has 1.35
to the peloton but Mark Renshaw and main challenger, Alby Davis, would be thinking,
"no worries, he's 4.20 down on GC". Actually, Davis is probably being told that
by team manager Dave Sanders over race radio and I think this 22 year-old Spanish
rider may get his day in the sun.
13:08 CST 86km/48km to go
Yep. That gap for Aramendia
is now 2.20. Back with UniSA, this morning Karl Menzies told CN that, "we have
got someone like Allan Davis to ride for so team motivation is high". Yesterday,
Menzies and Luke Roberts combined really well to launch their team leader Davis
into the final sprint, which Alby took out comfortably in the end.
13:14 CST 90km/44km to go
And Aramendia's lead
has now grown to 3.20. Perhaps he enjoys the hot weather, as our reporters out
on the course have noticed that it's much warmer today compared to previous
days. Behind the young Spaniard the peloton has reformed as those stragglers
did get back and Credit Agricole patrols the front.
13:18 CST 93km/41km to go
Aramendia has a gap
of 3.20 and it seems the peloton is being instructed to give him no more. (We
can return to yesterday's race radios discussion later.) Paul Verkuylen from
Cyclingnews is out on the course and he said, "it's wide, open rolling
hills, no trees and hot ... good for a Spaniard".
13:26 CST 95km/39km to go
Yep, Aramendia's gap
remains at 3.20 to the main field. Some of our readers have predicted that today
would probably pan out like the others, with a few attacks and then a group
of three or four going up the road, being pulled back within 3km of the line,
and another bunch kick. However, perhaps I did not properly share the weather
conditions for today - it has become quite warm out there, and there's some
wind, so a break on a day like this is very hard work.
13:31 CST 99km/35km to go
A solo break on a hot,
dry and windy day suits certain riders, like those from Spain, and especially
when they're not a threat on GC to the main contenders. After 99km of racing,
Aramendia's gap is still at 3.25. Dan Belling wrote in with more comments about
race radios: "To expand on my comments yesterday regarding race radios. The
radio, in races that are not 'really tough', in my view limits the overall effort
required of the riders because you lose the entire impact of 'out-sight/out-of-mind'
The calculations are done in the car, with a laptop plotting the vectors and
not the racers putting out the effort. No longer does a team 'waste' any effort
because they know exactly how much is required to reel in the break groups".
Then Dan asks: "Am I the only one that misses the ambiguity and excitement of
wondering 'if' and not when they will be caught - which again will be with 3km
13:34 CST 103km/31km to go
The main field recently
passed through the main feed zone while up the road, our solo leader enjoyed
one-on-one service from his team car. He's extended his lead to just over 4
minutes, while back in the bunch, Rabobank and Credit Agricole are on the front,
keeeping an eye on things.
13:39 CST 106km/28km to go
Well that didn't last
long - Aramendia's lead is now back to 3.20. Earlier today, race leader Mark
Renshaw from Credit Agricole told CN, "it's going to be another day where we
control the race and we are going to have to work hard. Some teams will use
the hill as an opportunity. On that first climb a good climber can take 30 seconds".
As we have seen, Aramendia put in his attack well after that climb and he's
been out in front, holding steady.
13:45 CST 109km/25km to go
Aramendia's gap is
now down to 2.45 as the peloton gets into gear and starts to make time on the
solo leader. There's no wind out there but it's just hot-hot-hot. The field
is riding through vineyards heavy with fruit in the middle of an Australian
13:51 CST 112km/22km to go
The lead that Javier
Aramendia from Euskaltel - Euskadi had over the peloton is falling - it's now
down to 2.20. He's had a good dig off the front and CN's Greg Johnson said,
"he looks to be hurting badly. He's all over the road and his face is showing
some pain". Aramendia has been off the front for well over 30km on a hot summer's
day - it would be hard.
13:54 CST 116km/18km to go
Aramendia's gap is
now only a minute - falling very quickly. He's in flat, wine-growing territory
and probably makes easy prey for the chasing peloton scooting along among the
13:57 CST 117km/17km to go
Aramendia now only
has 40 seconds to the chasing peloton. It's been a hot day out for all.
13:59 CST 120km/14km to go
Javier is holding
his lead to the main field at 40 seconds but it's probably just a matter of
time before he's swept up be the peloton. Only 10 seconds separates the top
5 on general classification.
14:01 CST 124km/10km to go
There is a slight
climb about 2.5km from the finish, but CN's Paul Verkuylen believes it's not
big enough to make that big a difference; Aramendia's lead is now down to 20
14:03 CST 126km/8km to go
After the climb there
is a 200 metre straight and then left at a roundabout, then straight for another
200 metres, then right for 200m and then a left turn with 600 metres to go to
14:05 CST 128km/6km to go
Aramendia has been
caught! With all the corners before the finish, and coming after the short but
sharp climb, a solo escape could stay away, but there are some very big motors
in the peloton working for their leaders.
14:11 CST 130km/4km to go
As the peloton rumbles
in to town we have the sprinters' teams working on the front; High Road, UniSA,
Rabobank and Team CSC. Credit Agricole isn't there yet but should soon be there.
Great effort by Aramendia to stay out the front for almost 50km on a very hot
day. Two riders from CSC are doing loads of work up the front.
14:13 CST 132km/2km to go
Now Team High Road
gets into the thick of things, trying to set things up for Andre Greipel. He's
already had a stage win plus the Down Under Classic last Sunday. And there is
UniSA charging through for Allan Davis ...
14:14 CST 133km/1km to go
An Astana rider has
attacked the peloton! He's got 20 metres ...
14:15 CST 133km/1km to go
Our Astana escapee
is holding his 20 metre lead with UniSa on the front. The very last 200 metres
is slightly uphill.
14:16 CST 134km/0km to go
The Astana came back
and there's been a crash! But Brown is on the front and it looks like Greipel
who comes through over Renshaw.
14:18 CST 134km/0km to go
Yes, Greipel got it
over Mark Renshaw with Jose Joaquin Rojas of Caisse D'Epargne coming through
in third, and it was a Rabobank rider who came down in the finale.
14:19 CST 134km/0km to go
Brown has gone back
to see if his team-mate, Mat Hayman, is OK and he's on his bike but he's lost
a lot of skin, and it looks like he may have a broken collarbone, too. Ouch.
14:21 CST 134km/0km to go
Hayman got back on
his bike and finished the stage after such a nasty fall. He went down about
200 metres from the line, in a slight dip in the road before it kicked slightly
uphill to the line.
Now, on general classification it
looks like we'll be in another countback as Greipel and Renshaw are separated
by four seconds on GC, and there is a four second difference in time bonuses
for today's stage win (10 seconds for first, 6 seconds for second). Allan Davis
from UniSA picked up an intermediate sprint today and that brings a 3 second
time bonus, and although he was at 2 seconds to Renshaw on GC and during the
stage was its 'virtual leader', he didn't figure in today's mad finale.
It was the hottest day out for the
10th Tour Down Under, and it also brought out some highly attacking riding.
It was the young Spanish rider from Euskaltel- Euskadi, Javier Aramendia, who
made the best move of the day but it was certanly a hard day's work out there
in the sun, and he was caught with only 6km to go. I think we might have to
wait for the official GC placings, given the close nature of the top 5 on GC.
It may be another dead-heat on timing, with the leader determined by a countback
of stage placings.
The provisional results and GC have
been posted and there is a clear leader on GC, and it's the Australian sprinter,
Mark Renshaw of Credit Agricole, who finds himself 3 seconds clear to the German
powerhouse and now two-time '08 TDU stage winner on Team High Road, Andre Greipel.
Thanks for joining Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 4 of the 10th
Tour Down Under. Tomorrow is the really decisive stage of the Tour, including
the tough climb of Old Willunga Hill - the obstacle that has always created
a selection in previous Tours. It's expected that the crowds will be out for
Australia Day, January 26, lining the hill to cheer on the field. Will there
be a winner decided tomorrow? Of the fast men who dominate the top of the GC,
the one rider who can get over climbs better than most sprinters is Allan Davis
of UniSA. What better "hire me" advertisement could he make than to win the
overall classication. A rider no less than Stuart O'Grady predicted that 'Alby'
is in an excellent position to win, and Stuey should know. Until then, thanks
for joining us and we'll be back tomorrow.
After a flurry of atttacks, a group of three managed to break free form the
peloton 11km into the stage: Nicki Sorensen (Den) from Team CSC, Mathieu Perget
(Fra) from Caisse D'Epargne and Simon Clarke (Aus) of UniSA - Australia. They
were joined by Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) from Saunier-Duval Scott and they
have been working well to hold a lead of up to 35 seconds, but then a chase
group left the main field and is closing in on them after 24km into the stage.
This lead group of four was caught at 26km. Another trio tried to get away but
it was reeled in after a few km's. The main field split in two, trying to chase
down that first break, but after 37km, the second group got back on to the front
group, and the field came back together - for now - as the attacks kept coming.
The field split in two - again and again but after 73km, there was a definite
break now of two groups on the road, separated by two minutes. The race leader
was in the front group. At the 80km mark Javier Aramendia of Euskaltel - Euskadi
attacked the lead group and after 48km of solo hammering, he was caught only
six kilometres from the finish, after his lead had been as large as over 4 minutes.
Back up the road, the whole peloton had reformed and there was another bustling
finale into Strathalbyn, with the stage being taken out by Andre Greipel of
Team High Road, followed by MarkRenshaw of Credit Agricole and Jose Joaquin
Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne. Renshaw's second place was enough to keep
him in the leader's ochre jersey until tomorrow's decisive stage at Willunga.
Provisional results of stage 4, Tour Down Under, January 25, 2008
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 3.12.00
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole st
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne
4 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team CSC
5 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Saunier Duval - Scott
6 Allan Davis (Aus) UniSA - Australia
7 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC
9 David Vigano (Ita) Quick Step
10 Jan Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
General Classification after Stage 4
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole 13.25.53
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road .03
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank .06
Jersey Classifications after stage 4
Tour Down Under Leader's Jersey
Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole
SA Lotteries Sprint Jersey
Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole
A Brilliant Blend King of the Mountains Jersey
Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux
Hindmarsh Most Aggressive rider's Jersey (for stage 4)
Javier Aramendia Lorenti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
U25 Rider competition
Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) - Caisse D'Epargne
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