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January 20, 2012
Today Oscar Freire showed everyone that he’s still got the goods with today’s difficult win. The three time world champion is turning 36 next month and has announced his retirement at the end of this season. It’s always great to see the professionals who leave the sport gracefully while still competitive rather than let it drag on for a couple seasons too long.
Menglers Hill, a category 1 climb near the finish in Tanunda, managed to do some damage to the general classification. The peloton turned on the gas with GreenEDGE driving the pace up Menglers putting Greipel out of contention sooner than expected. Martin Kohler is now back in the lead having loosing it to Greipel yesterday.
Michael Matthews continues to impress me by still being up there after yesterday’s disappointment. He managed to keep with the lead bunch of ~45 after Menglers and snag 5th in the bunch kick. He’s sitting in second place in GC at only 2 seconds back going into Stage 5. Can he hold it or even take the win? I’d like to see it, but I doubt he’ll have the legs to climb with the best when the pace turns up on Willunga.
Tomorrow is the grandaddy stage of the Tour featuring a hilltop finish on the second ascent of Old Willunga Road. It’s not a massive climb (3km at 7.4%), but the dynamics will change with the finish at the top and there’s no doubt we’ll see the race split to pieces. Some of the best times on Strava are at around 9 minutes but many of these guys will be taking 2 minutes off that (the leaders will be climbing at 400-450 watts at only 65-70kg). Gerro is sitting quietly in 5th place along with Boasson Hagen in 7th (both 8 seconds back). Those will be the two to watch but taking out Oscar Freire won’t be easy. All three will be marking each other and there’s bound to be some splits up Willunga on the second climb. What a day it will be!
Stage 4 Results 130km, Norwood – Tanunda
1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha 3:08:34
2 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
5 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank
6 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
7 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
8 Kristijan Koren (Svk) Liquigas – Cannondale
9 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM
10 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda
General classification After Stage 3
1 Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC 15:03:34
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 0:00:02
3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha
4 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:06
5 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEDGE 0:00:08
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
7 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
8 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
9 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha
10 Rohan Dennis (Aus) UNI SA – Australia 0:00:09