Jan 20, 2017 – In-form Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan made it three wins from four outings with another charging finish to claim stage four of the Tour Down Under in South Australia on Friday.
AFP/Image: Yuzuru Sunada
The Orica-Scott rider again showed great composure and skill to weave his way through the sprint finish at the end of 149 kilometers and leave world champion Peter Sagan in his wake for the second time in as many days. Dutchman Danny van Poppel led the pair nearing the line, but as was the case on stage three on Thursday, Ewan and Sagan grabbed him near the line and he finished third.
A brave breakaway bid by New Zealander Jack Bauer failed to come to fruition when he was reeled in by the peloton with just three kilometers remaining. It was another productive day through the Adelaide hills for Tasmanian Richie Porte from BMC Racing, who worked well with his team and retained the overall lead. He extended his margin by two seconds and is clearly the man to the beat for the General Classification.
Spaniard Gorka Izaguirre remains second, 20 seconds behind Porte despite being hurt in a fall on Thursday and treated in hospital. He still took his place for stage four and kept safe in the peloton. Colombian Esteban Chaves, riding for Orica-Scott, is a further two seconds behind in third overall.
For Ewan, who won in three hours 45 minutes and 19 seconds, it’s been a near perfect start to the year. “I really couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year,” he said. “My team did an amazing job and they really backed me, they were committed to winning today. It was tough and I am happy to come away for the win.”
The early break came from Czech Ondrej Cink, Bauer and Australian Cam Meyer, and they appeared to be working well together. Cink dropped off with just under 60 kilometers to go and the other two riders shared the front wheel until Meyer dropped off about 30 kilometers from the finish.
It was a decision which hurt Bauer, who was then forced to work solo but still led by 33 seconds with 20 kilometers remaining and battled on until the dying stages.
Results Stage 4:
1. Caleb Ewan (AUS/Orica-Scott) 3:45:19
2. Peter Sagan (SVK/Bora-Hansgro same time
3. Danny van Poppel (NED/Team Sky) s.t.
4. Ben Swift (GBR/UAE Abu Dhabi) s.t.
5. Nathan Haas (AUS/Dimension Data) s.t.
6. Baptiste Planckaert (BEL/Katusha) s.t.
7. Jay McCarthy (AUS/Bora) s.t.
8. Callum Scotson (AUS/UniSA) s.t.
9. Jasha Suetterlin (GER/Movistar) s.t.
10. Enrico Battaglin (ITA/LottoNL) s.t.
1. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC Racing) 14:20:18
2: Gorka Izaguirre (ESP/Movistar) at 00:20
3. Esteban Chaves (COL/Orica-Scott) 00:22
4. Jay McCarthy (AUS/Bora-Hansgrohe) 00:24
4. Nathan Haas (AUS/Dimension Data) 00:27
6. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC Racing) 00:29
7. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (ESP/Astana Pro) 00:29
8. Diego Ulissi (ITA/Team UAE Abu Dhabi) 00:29
9. Rafael Valls (ESP/Lotto Soudal) 00:29
10. Ruben Guerreiro (POR/Trek-Segafredo) 00:29