Andre Greipel Avoids Crashes To Win His Record 13th TDU Stage

by Andrew Dent

ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 25, 2013 (AFP) – Germany’s Andre Greipel avoided
two late crashes to win the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under in the Barossa
Valley town of Tanunda on Friday, breaking the record for the most stage wins
in the race’s history.

Greipel charged home after another perfect lead-out from his Lotto Belisol
team to win his 13th stage of the Tour, one ahead of Australia’s Robbie McEwen.

The big German equalled McEwen’s record with his win in the opening stage
on Tuesday, and was just as dominant as he won Friday by a bike length from
Italian Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) and Australia’s Jonathan Cantwell
(Team Saxo-Tinkoff) in a mass sprint.

Welshman Geraint Thomas (Sky Procycling) finished safely in the peloton to
maintain his lead in the general classification, five seconds ahead of
Dutchman Tom Jelte Slagter (Team Blanco) and six clear of Spain’s Javier
Moreno (Movistar).

The race was marred by two crashes inside the final two kilometres. The
first brought down four riders while the second, just under a kilometre from
the finish, involved 15 cyclists.

Team Blanco’s Graeme Brown was taken to hospital with a suspected broken
wrist, while fellow Australian Bernie Sulzberger was having scans on a
possible broken finger.

“The team did a good job (today) to keep me in front and keep me out of
trouble,” Greipel said.

“When you hear there are so many crashes you are just happy no-one from
your team was injured.”

The 126.5-kilometre stage started from the northern Adelaide suburb of
Modbury in much cooler conditions than Thursday’s heatwave, with temperatures
hovering around 24 degrees Celsius (75 Fahrenheit) for much of the day.

World road race champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), who started the day
2min 53sec behind Thomas in the general classification following a crash on
the second stage, launched an attack as soon as the riders cleared the 500m
neutral zone.

He was joined immediately by young UniSA rider Damien Howson, with the pair
quickly opening a two-minute break on the field.

By 50 kilometres the gap was up to just over three minutes but the peloton
never allowed them to get any further ahead and as the race approached 20
kilometers to go the advantage was down to just 60 seconds.

Eight kilometres from the end they were finally caught and the race was
back together.

Gilbert said because Wednesday’s crash put him out of contention, he
thought he would use the remaining stages for some training.

“For me the race was finished because I lost a lot of time, so I thought I
would make some sort of effort, treat it like training,” Gilbert said, adding
he never thought he would win the stage.

“I knew we had no chance (on the break) because there was only one other
rider, but we had a nice ride today.

“I told him (Howson) after five kilometres that when it’s two guys against
the bunch, we don’t decide (how far ahead we get), the bunch decides.

“We understood that it was three minutes — we knew we’d never have more.”

With five kilometres to go the teams began to jostle for positions and
bring their sprinters to the front. Orica GreenEDGE were first to attack, but
they were quickly followed by Sky.

However, Lotto Belisol made their move up the inside and there was no
stopping them, Greipel swooping past his final lead out rider Greg Henderson
and clearing away.

Tour Down Under Stage 4 results

ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 25, 2013 (AFP) – Results from the 126.5km fourth
stage of the UCI WorldTour Tour Down Under from Modbury to Tanunda Friday:

1. Andre Greipel (GER/LTB) 3hr 2min 52 sec, 2. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM)
s.t., 3. Jonathan Cantwell (AUS/TST) s.t., 4. Andrew Fenn (GBR/OPQ) s.t., 5.
Barry Markus (NED/VCD) s.t., 6. Marcel Kittel (GER/ARG) s.t., 7. Mark Renshaw
(AUS/BLA) s.t. 8. Kenny van Hummel (NED/VCD) s.t., 9. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ)
s.t. 10. Klaas Lodewyck (BEL/BMC) s.t
17. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t., 58. Tom Jelte Slagter (NED/BLA) s.t.,
70. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) s.t. 106. Simon Gerrans (AUS/OGE) s.t., 108.
Andy Schleck (LUX/RLT) at 2min 03sec.

General Classification

1. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 12hr 59min 09sec, 2. Tom Jelte Slagter
(NED/BLA) at 05 sec, 3. Javier Moreno (ESP/MOV) 06, 4. Ben Hermans (BEL/RLT)
08, 5. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/EUS) 15, 6. Jon Izagirre (ESP/EUS) s.t., 7. Jack
Bauer (NZL/GRS) s.t., 8. Tiago Machado (POR/RLT) s.t., 9. Adam Hansen
(AUS/LTB) s.t., 10. George Bennett (NZL/RLT) s.t.
32. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/BMC) at 2min 47sec, 37. Simon Gerrans (AUS/OGE)
3min 26sec, 55. Andre Greipel (GER/LTB) 6min 38sec, 126. Andy Schleck
(LUX/RLT) 26min 39sec