Freire Wins TDU Fourth Stage

Last updated : 21 January 2012 By Kev Monks

Oscar Freire won the fourth stage of the Santos Tour Down Under today.

The fourth of six stages was 130kms long and from Norwood in the east of Adelaide to Tanunda.

Attacks started from the first kilometre and were soon brought back by the peloton of 131 riders, which had Andre Greipel in the leaders ocre jersey.

A group of thirty riders got a small gap on the peloton and Sandy Casar (FDJ - BigMat) and Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-LaMondiale) made the jump, getting away with twenty kilometres gone.

The duo were caught before the first sprint of the day at Kersbrook and it was race leader Lotto Belisol's Andre Greipel who took that  sprint of the day ahead of Michael Matthews of Rabobank and Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).

Jay McCarthy (UnniSA), Gatis Smukulis (Kathusa) and Ruben Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) were the next to attack and they were joined by Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale).

The first King Of The Mountains climb arrived and Jay McCarthy was first over the line, followed by Perez, who is known for the amount of time he spends off the front off the peloton and Kadri.

With forty kilometres of the stage gone, the trio were 3.40 ahead unaware that further up the road, a clean up was on after tacks and  nails were put on the road in an attempt to sabotage the race.

Perez took the three points for winning the second intermediate sprint ahead of Kadri and McCarthy before they were caught with 29kms to go.

Mengler Hill was the setting for the second King Of The Mountains climb. It is 2.63km long and had an average gradient of 7.1%. 

Rohan Dennis (UniSA) was first to attack the cliimb, followed by a group of about forty or so riders, whilst leader Andre Greipel had dropped nearly two and a half minutes back in a group of around eighty riders.

The stage came down to a sprint finish with the group of forty altogether and there was Katusha's Oscar Freire to take the victory ahead of Ciolek and Bennatti.

British & Irish placings - Geraint Thomas 19th, Andrew Fenn 105th, Matt Brammier 109th, Adam Blythe 124th and Alex Dowsett 125th.

Martin Kohler now leads the race by two seconds from Michael Matthews.