Stage 4 TDU 2012: The Pattern Continues
By Simon Cadzow
“I look down at the (bathroom) scales: I’m not a climber”
Andre Greipel (Lottol-Belisol just after his stage 3 victory)
“My house in Norwood caught fire. My house in Goodwood caught fire. My house in Collingswood caught fire. No more places ending in wood for me: I’m moving to Burnside”
RAA South Australian insurance commercial and also the start of today’s stage
Norwood. The start for today’s stage is again similar in style to stage 1 Prospect and stage 3 Unley except Norwood is a 2 lane road; the others are one each way. It’s a place full of history and one where I have been involved yearly for over a decade in natural bodybuilding competitions held at the Norwood Town Hall. Many of the competitors over the years do cardio on indoor bikes. Today the bikes are outdoors.
Why I am telling you this? Well it’s because I had to work this morning and so didn’t get to go the stage start as I usually do. That said having now down several at Norwood it would have gone like this:
Lycra clad individuals, consisting of hippies and businessmen alike, arrive at 0600 onwards for the start of the public phase of the ride with many trying to score as many free power bars as they can fit in their jersey courtesy ride-sponsor for the day ahead
With a lot of bleary eyes semi-open, the riders take off sitting somewhere along a spectrum of “yeah I’m pumped” to “why-did-I-do-this-and-train-in-the-middle-of-the-day-when-I’m-actually-starting-the-ride-when-I’m-still-asleep: I am an idiot”
Hours later the rest of the local universe appears and the TDU riders arrive in their vehicles around 1000 for sign-on, final team briefing, crowd interaction and autographs, general haggling between teams in a variety of languages, cramped seating inside vans designed for 5 now holding 7-8 and the most important thing: the sustained use of the revolving-door now installed on the riders WC at the end of the team car line. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Luxury.
Stage 4 heads North East travelling 130km from Norwood to Tanunda in the Barossa. The course has 2 sprint points and 2 KOM points. In addition the course starts almost immediately by climbing Anstey Hill, an uncategorised climb in the first ½ hour.
I live down the road from here and have climbed Anstey more times than I can remember and it’s a sneaky start: Essentially there are 3 climbs today. Not categorising it just means the peloton stays together going up it. Sneaky but smart.
With the first sprint at 25km no break could get away.
Sprint 1 Kersbrook (25.3km) Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) Michael Matthews (Rabobank) Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar)
Here’s where the question is asked: Andre stated yesterday he can’t climb, will get hammered on Willunga, so what’s in his head?
Cue the small breakaway, right on time and at KOM 1...
KOM 1 Smith Hill (30km why is the KOM at a “hill” and the next sprint at a “Mount”, is anybody else confused? Is anybody else paying attention? Anyway points 10-6-4-2) Jay McCarthy (Uni SA-Australia) Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskatel-Euskadi) Blei Kadri (AG2R) and then Gatis Smukulis (Katusha)
On to the 2nd sprint...
Sprint 2 Mt Pleasant (51km and for the record I am still at a loss as to why Mt pleasant is called Mt Pleasant. It’s ok but....but then again that’s what pleasant is isn’t it) Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskatel-Euskadi) Blei Kadri (AG2R) Jay McCarthy (Uni SA-Australia)
Now it’s time for itchy feet: 2minutes between the break and the main group. Mengler’s Hill Cat 1 climb is at 107km up the road. 6 GreenEDGE guys are driving it hard (I counted them). Things are about to happen. The break is caught on the approach to the climb...
This is massive: the first time the race has looked like, and I say this in all seriousness-ness-ness, the TDF. The peloton attacks the climb, strung out doing such a high speed (are they going for a run up, I mean we’re back to my car attacking a hill here?)
Simply put the climb splits the group with 40 riders getting 30 secs and Andre falling off the lead group. At the top the lead group have just under a minute to Andre with SA’s yes SA’s (I’ll share in some of the glory here) Rohan Dennis (Uni SA-Australia) breaking for the summit and making it first.
KOM 2 Mengler’s Hill (107.4km with 6 riders getting points due to the new system so here’s the order give them 16-12-8-6-4-2 points respectively) Rohan Dennis (Uni SA-Australia) Javier Moreno (Movistar) Simon Gerrans (GreenEDGE) Tiago Machado (Radioshack-Nissan) Jack Bauer (Garmin-Barracuda) Linus Gerdemann (Radioshack-Nissan)
So massive chase ahead right, wrong. Andre and his group pull up and literally ride in at 25kmph leaving the sprint to be contested by some 40 odd guys. Some sprinters did make it over the top and some guy ‘Oscar Freire’ of Katusha made it to the line first. Apparently he’s pretty good.
So TDU 2012 leaders after stage 4:
Overall: Martin Kohler (SUI) - BMC Racing Team “This is starting to feel like musical chairs”
Sprints: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Pro-cycling “I just try every day to move up on GC”*
KOM: Rohan Dennis (Aus) Uni SA-Aus “Tomorrow will be all or nothing”
Young gun: Michael Matthews (AUS) RAB “I’m a little disappointed I’m not leading to tell the truth”
Most Aggressive: Nathan Haas (Aus) Gar-B “knackered”
Teams: Sky Pro-cycling
*author’s note I picked him to win, see what happens...45 guys are 12 sec of the pace or closer.
Comment of the day
Ok here’s the pattern: Andre/Kohler/Andre/Kohler/.......insert name here.......did you notice?
“I made it up Mongrel Hill”
“Oiigel” – yes it’s his nickname (member of the public doing the Bupa challenge, riding the stage before the peloton referring to Mengler’s Climb)