Allan Davis (Quick Step) collected his second stage win of the Tour Down Under in Angaston today, edging out the previous day?s winner, Graeme Brown (Rabobank), in the bunch sprint.
It means that Davis holds on to the leader?s ochre jersey going into Saturday?s crucial penultimate stage, which includes two climbs of Willunga hill, with Brown his closest challenger. Behind this pair, Stuart O?Grady, who claimed not to be in great condition coming into the Tour Down Under, looks to pose the big threat, with a fifteen-second deficit to Davis. Brown is just four seconds back.
Once again the stage showcased a talented young Australian, on this occasion Travis Meyer, the younger brother of Garmin rider Cameron, who dislocated his shoulder during stage two and then came within 6km of winning stage three.
Nineteen-year old Travis, riding for UNISA-Australia, attacked with Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) after just 10km, the trio building a lead of nine-and-a-half minutes as the peloton rode through the renowned Shiraz-producing vineyards of the Barossa Valley.
After Thursday?s brutal, wind-battered stage, with its crashes and retirements, the peloton seemed in need of a more relaxed day, though the wind once again caused problems.
Quick Step and Robbie McEwen?s Katusha team began working before the lead extended to ten minutes, and steadily ate into the trio?s advantage.
A chase group of six formed as the distance began to take its toll on the leaders, but with 13km remaining the break and the chase group had been caught, and the race was back together. More attacks were launched, one including Michael Rogers (Columbia-High Road), but none came to anything as Brown?s Rabobank team gathered at the front.
Brown enjoyed a perfect lead-out, and led for much of the final 200m, but Davis came past to edge him out, while José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne) prevented a second consecutive Australian one-two-three by claiming third.
TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE FOUR: RESULTS
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step in 3 hours 29 mins 35 secs
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3. Jose Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
4. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank
5. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Columbia
6. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
7. Davide Vigano (Ita) Fuji-Servetto
8. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux
9. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha
10. Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FOUR
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step in 14 hours 16 mins 36 secs
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank at 4secs
3. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank at 15secs
4. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r at 24secs
5. Jose Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 26secs
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Columbia at 28secs
7. Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA at 29secs
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre at 30secs
9. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Francaise des Jeux
10. Mickael Cherel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux all at same time.
Riders pass through Seppeltsfield on stage four
Allan Davis takes his second stage of this year’s TDU