Tour Down Under 2017: unstoppable Caleb Ewan sprints to stage four win - Road Cycling UK

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Tour Down Under 2017: unstoppable Caleb Ewan sprints to stage four win

Aussie sprinter wins third stage in four days; Richie Porte retains overall lead ahead of Willunga Hill

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) continued his domination of the bunch sprints at the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under, outsprinting world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) again to win stage four.

Ewan’s third victory in four days was another reminder of his sprinting prowess, with Sagan and Team Sky’s Danny van Poppel having simply no answer to the 22-year-old’s power on the final straight.

Richie Porte finished safely in the bunch again, meanwhile, to ensure he will wear the ochre jersey on Willunga Hill on stage five.

Caleb Ewan sprinted to his third stage win in four days to win stage four of the Santos Tour Down Under (pic – Sirotti)

Though a bunch sprint was always likely, there was no shortage of riders keen to get in the break and enjoy some television time before Willunga Hill and then the Adelaide circuit complete the 2017 Tour Down Under.

Tyler Farrar (Dimension Data) and Will Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) were among the riders to see their attempts to go clear nullified by the peloton before a three-rider break finally put daylight between themselves and the bunch.

Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) – who started the day less than a minute behind Porte – Jack Bauer (QuickStep Floors) and Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia) were the three to go clear, with BMC Racing unconcerned with Cink’s virtual GC lead.

Indeed, he was the first to crack when Bauer turned the heat up with 55km to go, dropping first the Czech rider and then Meyer too.

A counter-attack launched off the front of the peloton, with Clarke again involved and Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) and Michael Valgren (Astana) for company, but again it was short-lived.

Bauer pressed on alone, but the peloton never looked like letting him get away with it as the sprint teams shut down the move inside the final five kilometres.

Once again Team Sky hit the front as they rounded the final bend onto the long finishing straight, but Orica-Scott remained patient.

Daryl Impey dragged Ewan to the front with a huge turn down the final straight and when Van Poppel kicked, the Orica-Scott sprinter latched onto his wheel and blasted past to claim another victory.

Richie Porte still leads by 20 seconds overall, with Willunga Hill next on the cards (pic – Sirotti)

Sagan came through to take second, while Britain’s Ben Swift (UAE Abu Dhabi) was fourth behind Van Poppel – the first time he has been in the sprinting mix-up so far.

Victory takes Ewan’s career tally to five at the Santos Tour Down Under, and means Australian riders have been responsible for the last ten stage wins in their home race.

All eyes will now be on Willunga Hill, however, with Porte retaining his 20-second advantage over Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) overall.

Santos Tour Down Under 2017: stage four – result

1) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 3.45.19hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
3) Danny van Poppel (NED) – Team Sky
4) Ben Swift (GBR) – UAE Abu Dhabi
5) Nathan Haas (AUS) – Dimension Data
6) Baptiste Planckaert (BEL) – Katusha-Alpecin
7) Jay McCarthy (AUS) – Bora-hansgrohe
8) Callum Scotson (AUS) – UniSA-Australia
9) Jasha Sutterlin (GER) – Movistar
10) Enrico Battaglin (ITA) – LottoNL-Jumbo

General classification

1) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing – 14.20.18hrs
2) Gorka Izaguirre (ESP) – Movistar +20”
3) Johan Esteban Chaves (COL) – Orica-Scott +22”
4) Jay McCarthy (AUS) – Bora-hansgrohe +24”
5) Nathan Haas (AUS) – Dimension Data +27”
6) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – BMC Racing +29”
7) Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP) – Astana – ST
8) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – UAE Abu Dhabi
9) Rafael Valls (ESP) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Ruben Guerreiro (POR) – Trek-Segafredo

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