TdF’13 St.4: Team Time Trial Action!
After three tough days in Corsica there were still 71 riders within 1 second of Jan Bakelants yellow jersey making for a lot of teams and individual riders very motivated for this stage. With 25 flat kilometers on the agenda this team time trial was always going to be about the big power riders, with the obvious favorites of OmegaPharma-Quickstep, SKY, GreenEdge & Garmin expected to come to the fore but after three difficult days in Corsica and many riders carrying injuries anything could happen.
The fly through of Stage 4 From Global Cycling Network
One man who had left a little piece of himself in Corsica and was in obvious pain even before the stage started was Cannondale’s Ted King. Carrying injuries that include a separated shoulder, he started the stage on a road bike instead of a time trial bike with that position being too difficult to maintain, but he quickly lost his team in the first mile of the race meaning that his stage 4 Team time trial suddenly turned into an ITT to try and beat the time limit. Unfortunately for King he ended up missing the cut by a mere seven seconds and was thus eliminated from the race.
Another team turning with 8 instead of 9 riders in the line was SKY as Geraint Thomas who was also nursing injuries that included a cracked pelvis was unable to pull turns either but he at least was able to hang onto the team at the start.
Eight or nine riders though, it didn’t matter how many riders each team had, they were all chasing the best time at the first intermediate check point which had been set by the World Champions in the discipline, OmegaPharma-Quickstep. Their individual time trial World Champ Tony Martin was tearing up the roads despite his numerous injuries from Stage 1 and was according to his teammates interviewed after the stage, ‘pulling like a train’.
By the time that the OPQS team had arrived back in Nice for the finishline they had rocketed around the 25km circuit in just 25m57s for an average of an amazing 58kph!
Their big rivals for the stage were Team SKY who despite losing their tough driver Geraint Thomas from pulling turns were still putting in a great ride coming through the intermediate check 5s down on OPQS and then accelerating over the second half of the course to finish the stage just 2s down on OPQS who were still in the hotseat.
Meanwhile back at the intermediate checkpoint SaxoBank-Tinkoff rocketed through on their bid to get Alberto Contador in yellow coming through the check less than 2 seconds down on OPQS and seemingly on a very good time. Another team where much was expected was Garmin-Sharp who had come through the intermediate check @ 4s to OPQS but faded to 16s by the time they got to the finishline meaning that David Millar’s bid for yellow was over for the moment.
It was then the turn of Orica-GreenEdge to take to the course and the Aussies were still riding on a high after Simon Gerrans win yesterday and they started their ride very smoothly coming through the intermediate point 3s down on OPQS.
Also on the course were BMC who managed to come through the check just 8s down on their bid to keep Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen within striking distance of Chris Froome and Alberto Contador who had both now finished with their teams in excellent times just 2s and 8s respectively behind OPQS.
The stage win and the yellow jersey were all going to play out over the final 12.5kms with differing fortunes for two Australians, Cadel Evans and his BMC team fading to finish 25s down on OPQS and lose valuable time in the race for the GC whilst the Orica-GreenEdge boys increased their speed. Their style had become more ragged but when the GreenEdge team crossed under the 1km to go banner and they had just under one minute to the finish to beat OPQS it was going to be tight. Coming to the line, the team was down to 5 but they managed to beat Tony Martin, Cav and co. by less than one second to take both the stage and the yellow jersey after the RadioShack team of overnight yellow jersey holder Jan Bakelants lost 29s to the Australian squad.
A huge day for GreenEdge after their history making stage win yesterday and now with some flat stages ahead across the South of France on the way to the Pyrenees they will be trying to hold onto yellow for a few stages yet.
It certainly has been an incredible two days for Simon Gerrans and his OricaGreenEdge team.
In terms of GC favorites the race was won by Chris Froome who managed to put time into all his GC rivals but the time gaps were fairly minimal with Alberto Contador losing just 6 seconds to Froome, Evans 23s and Joaquim Rodriguez 25s.
Stage 4 Results:
1 Orica Greenedge 0:25:56
2 Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:01
3 Sky Procycling 0:00:03
4 Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:09
5 Lotto-Belisol 0:00:17
6 Garmin – Sharp
7 Movistar Team 0:00:19
8 Lampre – Merida 0:00:25
9 BMC Racing Team 0:00:26
10 Katusha Team 0:00:28
11 RadioShack-Leopard 0:00:29
12 Vacansoleil-DCM 0:00:33
13 Cannondale 0:00:34
14 Belkin Pro Cycling 0:00:37
15 FDJ.fr 0:00:42
16 Astana Pro Team 0:00:56
17 Ag2R La Mondiale 0:01:04
18 Sojasun 0:01:10
19 Team Europcar 0:01:13
20 Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:20
21 Euskaltel – Euskadi 0:01:24
22 Team Argos-Shimano 0:01:47
General Classification After Stage 4:
1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 12:47:24
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:01
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:03
7 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
9 Nicholas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:09
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
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