Plaza keeps control into echelons
24 January 2014

Tour Down Under (st. 4)

Spaniard gets into overall top-20 in Australia after first real mass sprint in the race, with Greipel (LTB) victorious

Wind went on scene as the 2014 Tour Down Under got to coastal South Australia for the race finale, echelons becoming big protagonists on stage four (147km from Unley to Victor Harbor). Nerves also went out, including Cadel Evans’ (BMC), whose distance over Gerrans (OGE) in the standings has been reduced to seven seconds after the day’s two intermediate sprints. A small field of about sixty riders came together across the finish as several sprinters missed out on the cut -Ewan (UNI) and Kittel (GIA) did not feature- caused by Orica’s work, with Rubén Plaza as the only Movistar Team member present.

The intelligence by the Ibi rider allowed him keeping the wheel of the top guns and even try his way off the front with just over 3k remaining, with no terrain left by Lotto to surging attackers as they dominated the sprint for a one-two with André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts. Plaza is now within the best twenty overall before the decisive day -barring any fight of seconds at Sunday’s final criteium- with the decisive, doble passage over the Old Willunga Hill, end of stage five (151km) starting at McLaren Vale.