Simon Gerrans made it two in a row at Tour Down Under on Thursday, sprinting to victory in stage 4 ahead of Sky’s Ben Swift. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was third. Gerrans extended his overall lead with the 10-second bonus on offer for a stage win and three additional seconds he won in the first intermediate sprint.
“I’m actually thrilled with that,” said Gerrans, who also won stage 3. “We just had a really good run-in to the finish. The team are really making my life as easy as possible.”
Stage 4, top 10
- 1. Simon GERRANS, ORICA – GreenEDGE, in 3:13:59
- 2. Ben SWIFT, TEAM SKY, at :00
- 3. Giacomo NIZZOLO, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :00
- 4. Jay MCCARTHY, TINKOFF, at :00
- 5. Leigh HOWARD, IAM CYCLING, at :00
- 6. Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG, DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 7. Sergey LAGUTIN, TEAM KATUSHA, at :00
- 8. Aleksei TCATEVICH, TEAM KATUSHA, at :00
- 9. Nathan HAAS, DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 10. Enrico BATTAGLIN, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :00
- 1. Simon GERRANS, ORICA – GreenEDGE, in 13:41:58
- 2. Jay MCCARTHY, TINKOFF, at :14
- 3. Rohan DENNIS, BMC RACING TEAM, at :26
- 4. Sergio Luis HENAO MONTOYA, TEAM SKY, at :28
- 5. Steve MORABITO, FDJ, at :28
- 6. Ruben FERNANDEZ, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :28
- 7. Domenico POZZOVIVO, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :28
- 8. Michael WOODS, CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING TEAM, at :32
- 9. Rafael VALLS FERRI, LOTTO SOUDAL, at :36
- 10. Richie PORTE, BMC RACING TEAM, at :36
Three riders went off the front early in the 138-kilometer day: David Tanner (IAM Cycling), Patrick Shaw (UniSA-Australia), and Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale). After enjoying several minutes’ advantage for much of the day, the trio’s lead was cut to less than one minute by the second intermediate sprint in Goolwa.
The catch was made with about 24 kilometers to go. Teams were anxious to put their leaders in good position before the category 2 Crow’s Nest climb. BMC’s Danilo Wyss did a massive turn at the front, stringing out the peloton up the gradual start of the climb.
BMC’s Richie Porte attacked ahead of the KOM line, but Sky’s Sergio Henao pipped him at the line. The two sat up at the top of the hill, a false flat, allowing the race to regroup.
With 16 kilometers to go, Movistar’s Jesus Herrada tried his luck with a solo attack. But the select front group was not about to let him get away — the catch was made with 12km to go as Sky pushed the pace on the road to the finish in Victor Harbor.
Lieuwe Westra was next to attack, just outside of the final 10 kilometers. Sky continued to ride tempo, and the Astana man was soon caught.
A number of riders who’d been dropped on the Crow’s Nest climb were able to rejoin the front group on the flat run-in in the final 10 kilometers, making for a much larger group heading into the final kilometers.
Under the red kite, Gerrans sat comfortably in fifth wheel with Sky driving the final lead-out. Tinkoff’s Jay McCarthy was poised in third position, but Daryl Impey blasted up the left side with teammate Gerrans in tow. For a moment, McCarthy was boxed out, and Gerrans slipped around Swift along the barriers to claim the win.
“I do know that finish quite well. That really worked in our favor,” Gerrans added.
On Saturday, the race tackles the famous Willunga Hill finish at the end of a 152-kilometer day, the race’s fifth and penultimate stage.