Adelaide - Oscar Freire of Spain won the fourth
stage of cycling's Tour Down Under on Friday as the first testing climb
of the six-stage race ended Andre Greipel's hopes of a third tour
Greipel entered the stage with an eight second lead on
general classification and increased that to 11 seconds when he picked
up a three-second time bonus by winning the first intermediate sprint.
the steep climb up Mengler's Hill, 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) from the
finish of Thursday's 130 kilometer (81 mile) stage from Norwood to
Tanunda, ended Greipel's hopes of adding to his 2008 and 2010 Tour wins.
He was left behind as 40 riders broke away on the climb and he crossed the finish line seven minutes behind the stage winner.
overall lead went to Switzerland's Martin Kohler, who finished among
the leading group, credited with the same time as Freier, and reclaimed
the tour leader's ocher jersey which he wore after stage two. Greipel
won the first and third stages and to claim his ninth and 10th stage
wins in the World Tour events.
Greipel tried to rally the peleton
to close the gap on Mengler's Hill but the leading group pulled further
away toward the finish line at Tanunda in the wine-growing region of the
He finished the stage in 55th place among 131
riders and 7 minutes, 55 seconds behind Freier. The result dropped him 7
minutes, 34 seconds behind Kohler on general classification and left
him with no chance of winning the tour with two stages remaining.
fifth stage, the longest of the race, takes riders 151.5 kilometers (95
miles) from McLaren Vale to a finish line atop Old Wilunga Hill at the
end of the steepest climb of the race.
Kohler managed to stay with
the leading group on Friday's climb to take a two second lead on
general classification over Australia's Michael Matthews and Freier who
held third place overall. Ciolek is fourth, 6 seconds behind Kohler, and
Australia's Simon Gerrans fifth.
Only nine seconds separates the
top-10 riders after four stages and the tour is now likely to be decided
on Saturday's narrow, winding climb. The final stage around the streets
of downtown Adelaide on Sunday, is unlikely to change placings after
"I didn't expect to be back in the lead but we
dropped Andre Greipel in the climb and then we were riding hard to make
the gap bigger," Kohler said. "Tomorrow there will be 10 or 15 riders
contesting the win at the top of Willunga Hill.
"It's going to be
very hard and I don't know if I can keep this lead or not but I'm
already happy with what I'm doing here. Our team BMC feels at home with
all the support we get but, of course, we are the team of (Australian
Tour de France winner) Cadel Evans."
Norwegian rider Edvald
Boasson Hagen took fourth place on Friday's stage and holds seventh
place overall only 8 seconds behind Kohler. The winner of two stages on
last year's Tour de France remains a leading contender for overall
"I just try every day to move up on overall GC," he said.
"It's nice to have the sprint jersey. I didn't expect it but that's not
the one I'm looking for.
"I want to win the jersey of the overall
classification. My team mate Thomas (Geraint) gave me a great lead out
but I came out of his wheel a bit too far. The battle is still very
Previous winners of the Norwood to Tanunda stage include Evans and Germany's Eric Zabel.
Results from stage four of the Tour Down Under, a 130 km race from Norwood to Tanunda:
Oscar Freire (ESP/KAT) 3hr 08min 34sec, 2. Gerald Ciolek (GER/OPQ) same
time, 3. Daniele Bennati (ITA/RNT) s.t., 4. Edvald Boasson Hagen
(NOR/SKY) s.t., 5. Michael Matthews (AUS/RAB) s.t., 6. Jose Joaquin
Rojas (ESP/MOV) s.t., 7. Luke Roberts (AUS/SAX) s.t., 8. Kristijan Koren
(SLO/LIQ) s.t., 9. Sergey Lagutin (UZB/VCD) s.t., 10. Heinrich Haussler
Selected: 11. Jeremy Roy (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 17. Simin
Gerrans (AUS/GEC) s.t., 30. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 31. Blel Khadri
(FRA/ALM) s.t., 32. Martin Kohler (SUI/BMC) s.t., 33. Alejandro
Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t., 40. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) s.t., 55. Andre
Greipel (GER/LTB) 7:45
Kohler (SUI/BMC) 15hr 03min 34sec, 2. Michael Matthews (AUS/RAB) at
02secs, 3. Oscar Freire (ESP/KAT) s.t., 4. Gerald Ciolek (GER/OPQ) 6, 5.
Simon Gerrans (AUS/GEC) 8, 6. Daniele Bennati (ITA/RNT) same time, 7.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) s.t., 8. Jan Bakelants (BEL/RNT) s.t., 9.
Eduard Vorganov (RUS/KAT) s.t., 10. Rohan Dennis (AUS/UNI) s.t.
11. Blel Khadri (FRA/ALM) 10, 22. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 12, 24.
Heinrich Haussler (AUS/GRM) s.t., 32. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) s.t.,
35. Sandy Casar (FRA/FDJ) s.t.