Von Hoff beats Impey in sprint to win Tour stage

2015-01-23 10:14

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Steele von Hoff outsprinted South Africa’s Daryl Impey to win the fourth state of the Tour Down Under while his Australian compatriots Rohan Dennis and Tour de France-winner Cadel Evans avoided a crash near the finish to retain first and second place on general classification.

The crash a few hundred metres from the finish split the field and left seven riders in contention for stage honours. Von Hoff’s personal victory wasn’t enough to upset overall tour standings after four of six stages.

Impey is currently sitting in fourth place overall.

Dennis retained the tour leader’s jersey and first place on general classification, seven seconds of Evans, his teammate in the United States-based Team BMC, who is riding in his last World Tour event.

Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands is third overall, nine seconds behind Dennis and four seconds ahead of Impey who improved his standing with his second place finish and time bonuses.

Australia’s Richie Porte and Britain’s Ian Stannard, teammates on Britain’s Team Sky, were among the riders caught up in the crash which happened as the field headed towards a downhill finish on the 144.5km stage from the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg to Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.

Von Hoff was able to skirt the crash to claim an impressive stage win, attributing his win to the work of teammate Jack Bobridge, who led the tour after the first stage on Tuesday.

“Jack Bobridge was looking after me and just saying ‘be patient, be patient’,” Von Hoff said.

“I know these roads like the back of my hand.

“I managed to find Wouter Wippet’s wheel and just sat on it until those guys got a little bit tired and went.”

Today’s stage featured two clear breakaways.

Five riders, including Bobridge and Australians Nathan Haas and Michael Hepburn, featured in the first break, which enjoyed a peak lead of about two-and-a-half minutes but which was caught soon after half distance.

The second break, featuring Ruslan Tleubayev of Kazakhstan, Maxim Belkov of Russia and Pieter Serry of Belgium was more short-lived, leaving the peloton together nearing the difficult downhill finish.

Michael Schar of the BMC team was close to the crash.

“The problem was we had a downhill sprint so the speed was very, very fast and some guys just took too much risk and they went down,” he said.

“I was right by Cadel and we tried to pull back and were just hoping we didn’t go down and luckily we stayed upright.”

Classification after Stage 4

1. Rohan Dennis (Australia/BMC Racing) 13:41:34”

2. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +7”

3. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands/Giant) +9”

4. Daryl Impey (South Africa/Orica) +13”

5. Richie Porte (Australia/Team Sky) +15”

6. Jack Haig (Australia/Australia)

7. Michael Rogers (Australia/Tinkoff – Saxo)

8. Ruben Fernandez (Spain/Movistar)

9. Maxime Bouet (France/Etixx – Quick-Step)

10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/AG2R)

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