Tour Down Under - st. 4
Movistar Team shatters the field on the last climb of the day, drops GC leader Greipel and leaves the GC within 45 riders before tomorrow’s deciding uphill finish
In what was proposed as a transition day before the long-awaited, mountain-top finish of tomorrow in Old Willunga, Movistar put some sauce on the fourth stage of the 2012 Tour Down Under. The squad led by José Luis Arrieta broke the race into the pieces in the last climb of the route, Menglers Hill, just over 20km from the finish in Tanunda, the ending point of a 130k trek starting at Norwood.
The furious pace by the telephone squad in the last ascent -just over two kilometers long- decimated the bunch and dropped GC leader André Greipel (LTB), leaving a 40-rider group ahead -with Valverde, Rojas, Gutiérrez, Moreno and Madrazo into the field to win the teams’ ranking of the day- with the pursuers losing terrain until getting a 7-time trail over the line. There, Freire (KAT) took the day’s honours while José Joaquín Rojas finished in 6th place. The Spaniard jumps into 12th overall after winning a second into the first intermediate sprint, the leaderboard again commanded by Kohler (BMC) with the five Movistar Team riders -now 2nd in the teams’ classification- just 12 seconds behind the Swiss rider.
The race will be decided tomorrow in the Queen stage during the penultimate day of racing. 151 kilometers from McLaren Vale to the Old Willunga Hill, a 3km climb passed through twice: first, with 20k to go, and the definitive one, with the finish line over the top, where the 10-6-4 bonus will be added to the 3-2-1 given for the two previous intermediate rushes.
José Luis Arrieta: “We had already talked this morning about, depending on how the sage was going, attacking on the last climb, and that’s how we did. We set David López and Javi Moreno to pull full-steam there and we got to break the field, not only thinking on the GC, but also on the stage chances for Rojas. It was a pity that he couldn’t get past his rivals at the finish. They finished the sprint in the same places they started it, but we’re satisfied with our work. Tomorrow will be the key stage; we were reconnoiting the final climb, but we do know it from other years. We’ve got to be realistic about the GC, and it’s going to be really hard because there’s some people up-front who have proved to be really strong, but we’ll be having a team that has done really good and we’ll play our cards.”