The 134 kilometres long fourth stage started in Mannum and finished in Strathalbyn. Shortly after the start it was 'raining'
attacks. Frantisek Rabon (Team High Road) and Dmytro Grabovskyy (Quickstep) managed to break away, soon they were joined by
Luke Roberts (UniSA - Australia) and riders from Bouygues Telecom and Liquigas. After six kilometres the group was
caught again. A little bit later the bunch was splitted into three groups during a constant uphill gradient.
The first two goups came together again but the last group will have trouble to get back to the main group. Evgeny Sokolov
(Bouygues Telecom) was dropped by the last group and a little bit later the Russian rider abandoned the race. The bunch is
one group again but immediatly the next riders attacked. After 12 kilometres Nicki Sorensen (CSC), Mathieu Perget (Caisse
D'Epargne) and Simon Clarke (UniSA - Australia) had a lead of 25 seconds on the peloton. After 14 kilometres Arkaitz Duran
Daroca (Saunier Duval - Scott) attacked and managed to reach the breakaway group.
After 22 kilometres the race leaders had a lead of 35 seconds on a chasing group which attacked out of the peloton.
Soon after that the race leaders where caught by this chasing group with about 60 riders so there were two main groups
at this stage of the race. Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom), who's been active at almost every stage, and Tom Stubbe
(Francaise Des Jeux) attacked out of the first main group and soon they were joined by David Moncoutier (Cofidis).
Several riders tried to cross over to the first main group and after 29 kilometres the breakaway was caught by the first
main group. The lead of the leading group of about 60 riders was 1' 15" after 31 kilometres. With 100 kilometres to go the
second group joined the race leaders again so it was all back together.
After 47 kilometres the bunch was splitted again, the heavy cross winds were taking its toll. After 49 kilometres Stuart
O' Grady (CSC) attacked with Jeremery Roy (Francaise Des Jeux). The bunch did not like a breakaway with O' Grady in it so
both riders were caught again. In the first group there were between 60 - 70 riders. After 65 kilometres the front group is
splitted again, about 20 riders took off. Overall leader Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) is in the second group which is 20
seconds behind the front group. After 73 kilometres the first two groups were together again.
After 80 kilometres Javier Aramendia (Euskatel - Euskadi) attacked. Aramendia had a lead of 3' 25" after 100 kilometres
and his lead was still growing. The maximum lead of Armendia was just over four minutes (after 99 kilometres).
Rabobank and Creit Agricole started to lead the chase and the lead of Armendie dropped rapidly. With 18 kilomteres to go Armendia
had less then a minute. The Spanish riders was caught with only six kilometres to go.
The sprinter teams kept the pace high so a desperate attack by an Astana rider was immediatly caught again. It was High
Road's Andre Greipel who took the stage. The German rider celebrated his third victory after he already had won the second
stage and the Tour Down Under Classic.
"It was really on for the first two hours," said Renshaw whose team was charged with maintaining control of the race to
protect his lead. "We were getting hit from left, right and centre.
"All the power of CSC and Caisse d’Epargne and the peloton split to pieces but it all came back together and most
importantly it stayed together for a bunch sprint," said Renshaw. "I managed to stay calm and was not too nervous at the finish
and it paid off."
"It was really busy today and there were a lot of breakaways with the wind," said Greipel. "In the end we were lucky and
we had a second win for the tour."
Greipel's prizes for the win included a Yellow Jersey cow named Fleurieu Freckle which regrettably he will have to leave
"I think it is not possible for me to go back to Germany with a cow in my suitcase," he said.
While Greipel was celebrating Rabobank's Matt Hayman was sitting in the middle of the road stunned after crashing 300 metres
from the finish. The Canberra rider had been leading his team mate Graeme Brown up for the sprint and had just eased off to
let Brown by when Italian rider Elia Rigotto (Milram) flew down his left hand side and caused the crash. Race officials, after
viewing the replay of the incident, fined Rigotto 200 Swiss francs and disqualified him from the Tour for what Chief Commissaire,
Michael Robb, described as a "viscious headbut".
Rabobank's sports director Erik Dekker didn't want to appoint anyone for causing this occurrence: "I did not see it
and Mathew himself wasn’t angry at anyone." Hayman was transported to hospital where he underwent surgery on his fractured
left collar bone. Surgeons inserted a plate and screws in order to speed his recovery and he is expected to be back on his
bike within a week.
With 87 riders still within 24 seconds of the race lead tomorrow's fifth stage, that begins and ends in Willunga, could
prove decisive. The race heads to the McClaren Vale wine growing region and involves three laps out to Aldinga Bay before
the race heads up Old Willunga Hill for the king of the mountain sprint just 20 kilometres from the finish line.
"It's going to be hard tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to it," said Renshaw. "But I’m going to take it
by the horns and I think if I can stay within a minute over the top my teammates should be able to drag me back up.
"We’re just going to have to bank on that but we have a double-spear (two-pronged) attack with Simon (Gerrans - 2006
Tour Down Under winner) and myself, so we’ll be looking to either put Simon in the break or have me defend the jersey,"
explained Renshaw of the team's tactics for the penultimate stage.
Gerolsteiners Heinrich Haussler publishes a riders diary at our website and radsport-aktiv.de (German version). Haussler finished 19th today, in the same time as stage winner Andre Greiple.