Tour Down Under Stage 4: Mannum to Strathalbyn, 134km/83mi
- by Cathy Mehl

- Official race web site: www.tourdownunder.com.au

As the Tour Down Under continued into the heart of South Australia, the riders took to the road in hot temperatures reaching 33C (90F) as they climbed to more than 400m (1300ft) on a tough day of racing. With the road going up straight from the gun, attacks began in earnest but were quickly brought back by an ever-vigilant Credit Agricole as they worked to protect teammate Mark Renshaw's tenuous race lead. With only 12 seconds separating the top ten riders the race was still anyone's game.

With the uphill profile on the stage the peloton often split into two or three groups as attacks went off the front and stragglers who couldn't keep up were shelled out the back. When race favorites were missing from the lead group a fast-paced chase would ensure and eventually the peloton would be all together once more. With this scenario played over and over in the early part of the stage, it took a while for a break to stick.

At just over 50km to go, 22-year old Javier Aramendia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacked the group and quickly established a gap. Sitting at more than four minutes back from the race lead, the Spanish rider was no threat to the top contenders and was allowed to build an eventual lead of more than four minutes. But riding out front alone on a hot day is no picnic and Aramendia was eventually caught by the peloton with 6km to go.

Teams CSC, High Road, and UniSA moved forward and pressed the pace higher as the peloton entered the technical finish area that contained several rights and lefts. At 1km to go Team Astana rider Aaron Kemps attacked and got a slight gap before he was swallowed up by the other hard-charging sprinters. High Road's Andre Greipel held on for his second stage win just in front of Renshaw and Jose Rojas Gil (Caisse D'Epargne) while Rabobank's Mat Haymen crashed right before the finish line. Able to mount and cross the line, Haymen looked to have severe road rash and perhaps even a broken collarbone.

Renshaw held on to the race lead by just three seconds over Greipel and six over Graeme Brown (Rabobank). With the race still sitting close after today, Friday's stage five could be the decisive day and plenty of fireworks are sure to fly as the Tour Down Under heats up in the final days.

Beyond the Finish Line: Surrounded by rolling hills, picturesque valleys, tall gums and wheat fields, the charming historic town of Strathalbyn is recognized as one of South Australia's loveliest country towns. The center piece of the town is the Soldier's Memorial Garden and nearby is St Andrew's Church, one of the most famous and most photographed country churches in Australia.

Stage 4 Results
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 3.14.46
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne
4 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team Csc
5 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Saunier Duval-Scott
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia
7 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team Csc
9 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step
10 Jan Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner

Stage 4 Team Astana
15 Aaron Kemps (Aus)
39 Steve Morabito (Swi)
44 Koen De Kort (Ned)
85 Benoit Joachim (Lux)
94 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa)
117 Julien Mazet (Fra) 0.26
123 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) 1.03

General Classification
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole 13.28.38
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 0.04
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia 0.07
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne 0.14
5 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
6 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux 0.18
7 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone
8 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux 0.19
9 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 0.20
10 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas

Team Astana on GC
26 Aaron Kemps (Aus) 0.24
48 Koen De Kort (Ned)
71 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa)
103 Steve Morabito (Swi) 4.28
110 Benoit Joachim (Lux)
119 Julien Mazet (Fra) 4.54
121 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) 5.31

Results provided by www.cyclingnews.com