The 4th stage of the Tour Down Under saw a repeat victor as Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) took out the bunch sprint into Campbelltown. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was 2nd in the lunge for the line and Danny van Poppel (Team Sky) rounded out the podium. Nathan Haas, our African Team’s GC contender was also in the mix, impressively claiming 5th place on the stage.
It didn’t take long after leaving Norwood this morning for 3 riders to break away from the peloton. Jack Bauer (Quickstep-Floors), Cameron Meyer (UniSA) and Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) were the aggressors of the day as they built a lead of 2 minutes over the peloton. The stage to Campbelltown had in the past seen the breakaway survive to the line and so the peloton made sure to keep close tabs on the leaders today.
With only just over a minute advantage and still 50km to go, first it was Cink to give up and drop back to the peloton before Meyer called it a day with 20km to go. Bauer pushed on alone as Orica-Scott led the chase from the peloton and the Kiwi put up a brave fight, but his valiant effort came to an end with 3km to go. The sprint teams prepared their fast men for the final but it was Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in the driving seat with Tyler Farrar and Mark Renshaw piloting Haas to the final kilometer.
Things got a little messy after the final left hand corner as a Bora rider slipped off the front, Sky had numbers so they closed that move down but Ewan was able to slingshot off the wheel of Van Poppel to take his 3rd win in 4 stages. Haas, kept his love affair with the number 5 going as once again he finished in 5th place in the sprint for the line, also keeping his 5th place on the overall GC.
Nathan Haas – Rider
Today was an amazing ride by all the guys once again. We’ve all got a bit of fear doing that gorge road, it’s such a rude way to start January because things can go so bad there and last year it did for Tyler. It was a funny story in the end but the reality is it is very scary and that road condition is bad, and after last nights storm there was a lot of debris on the road too. True to Dimension Data style we took the race up in the final and the MVP must go to Jaco Venter. Taking it down the gorge road, he was so spun out on his gears and just kept on going up and up. Then we put him up in the chase at the end to keep things going. The nice thing is we also getting the respect from the peloton to sit where we want because we riding so well. Everybody can go to bed happy tonight knowing we did a good ride. Personally I’m a bit upset I didn’t run better in the sprint, I have better legs than 5th. The goal for my year is to be more consistent in more finishes and that’s what is going to bring the victories, not one incredible day when all the stars are aligned. I’ll keep working at it and the more times I put myself in these proper finals the closer I am going to get to beating guys like Ewan and Sagan in a sprint. I believe I can do it and I think the team does as well.