Garmin-Cervélo’s Cameron Meyer held off the sprinters to win at Tour Down Under today in Strathalbyn. His advantage and the time bonus allowed him to take control of the race lead.
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“That really suits me, to have a really hard stage finish,” said Australia’s Meyer. “Just the wind out there, it was always going to be difficult for the peloton to swap off and it was going to be a bit chaotic.”
The peloton finished 24 seconds behind Meyer. He formed part of an all-day escape with five others, including his team-mate Matt Wilson and two Vacansoleil riders. With 38 kilometres to race, they held 45 seconds over the peloton led by HTC-Highroad. HTC led for former race leader, Australian Matt Goss.
Meyer now leads the race with 10 seconds over Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and 12 seconds over Goss. Two stages remain: tomorrow’s queen stage to Willunga and Sunday’s street circuit in Adelaide.
“Australian races are always a little bit different, but I have seven of the most motivate guys here,” said Garmin’s sports director, Matt White. “Willunga is a pretty predicable stage, there are two difficulties and we know where they are. However, on these open stages, with a lot of winds and climbs, we don’t always know – it’s the time to make your move.”
Garmin’s move positioned Meyer to win his first stage race since becoming a professional in 2009. Last year, he finished third overall at the Tour of Oman.
“He’s quite a versatile rider, you’ve seen what he can do on the track, he’s a two-time national time trial champion. I really think he is a one-week stage racer, or maybe a three-week stage racer in a few years. Remember, the kid just turned 23 a week ago.”
“He is obviously strong, he hung out there all day. He is going to be out there in the front tomorrow in Willunga, but hopefully I can get him in the sprints and at the finish line,” said Goss.
Goss won the pre-race criterium and stage one.
“I have a super strong team here and they have been supportive all week, and it will be the same for the next few days. With those guys, we will manage to get the jersey back.”
Mark Cavendish, winner of 15 Tour de France stages, is one of the HTC-Highroad guys. Cavendish is limited to retrieving water bottles after his crash two days ago.
“Cav? He was good, he brought us up some bidons. Playing a bit of a different role, and he’s doing a good job. It’s very nice that he can play leader and domestique,” added Goss
“I like to see him hurt when he comes up next to me with a bag full of bidons!”
Cavendish’s stitches above his left eye have been replaced with a silver staple. He is in good spirits and said that he plans to finish the race. Besides the staple, he has bruises and scrapes down his left side. He cannot be blamed for looking tired as he said he had trouble sleeping last night.
Tour Down Under 2011, stage four: Norwood to Strathalbyn, 124km
1. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo in 2-57-55
2. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at same time
3. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 3secs
4. Matthew Wilson (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo at 10secs
5. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad at 24secs
6. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar
7. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
9. Nikolai Trusov (Rus) Katusha
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM at same time
24. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 24secs
35. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack at 24secs
85. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 41secs
98. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 1-00
Overall classification after stage four
1. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo
2. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 10secs
3. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad at 12secs
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack at 15secs
5. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 16secs
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 18secs
7. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at same time
8. Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 26secs
9. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar at 27secs
10. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana at 28secs
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Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports
Tour Down Under 2011: Photo galleries