Tour Down Under Stage 4
Andre Greipel took his 13th stage of the Tour Down Under in it’s history and now holds the record for the most wins in Australia’s biggest race. The ride of the day goes to the current World Champion Philippe Gilbert for going on the early attack and 20 year old Damien Howson for having the guts to join him in a move that was never likely to stick.
It was obvious that today was going to end in a sprint and Lotto-Belisol made Greipel’s win look like a walk in the park. The Henderson/Greipel duo are reminiscent of Renshaw/Cavendish back in the HTC days and look to be unbeatable. We saw Marcel Kittel trying to make his way up but fading early and Cantwell and Ferarri were left fighting for the scraps.
Andre Greipel, seemingly unaware of the carnage behind him said after the race, “Yeah, there was a bit of a crosswind at the end and with the headwind the last two kilometers was pretty messy. The team did a good job to keep me in the front. With the headwind it wasn’t easy but we waited as long as possible and I think we did a perfect lead-out again”.
When asked about tomorrow’s Willunga stage he said, “first I’m thinking about air conditioning in the hotel.”
Orica-GreenEDGE had a horrible day today with Jens Morris, Matty Goss and Daryl Impey in the final crash with Impey sustaining some pretty bad injuries that might put him out of the race (he’s geting scans in the hospital right now).
Who is going to be able to challenge Lotto-Belisol come July? Omega Pharma-Quickstep will no doubt challenge them with a Boonen and Terpstra lead-out. Not since stage 1 of the 2011 Tour Down Under has Matty Goss beat Greipel in a head to head sprint. We saw the Argos-Shimano leadout train make John Degenkolb into a star during the Vuelta. Kittle had a good record against Greipel last year but they can’t seem to break the Lotto Belisol train this week.
When we look at some of the prominent sprinters of 2013, here’s how they compared to Andre Greipel in races classified as “sprints” in 2012 (courtesy of CyclingQuotient):
Click here for full results and stage 4 report.