Close to first victory. RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK put 6 men in the final break to successfully split the field and deliver Daniele Bennati in a strong position for the sprint. The Italian fast man just missed the win and chalked up a third place finish in stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
A break of four riders succeeded in getting away from the main field, steadily building a gap of over four minutes. But when it became evident that race leader Andre Greipel was in trouble on Mengler Hill, RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK kicked up the pace, reeling back the foursome and splitting the field. Coming to the line with a strong sprint in his legs, Bennati made all the right moves but saw the win go to three-time world champion Oscar Freire.
Greipel suffered mightily on the day and with his chase group unable to gain ground, he turned off the gas and lost more than seven minutes. Martin Kohler (BMC) took over the race lead. Team riders Bennati and Jan Bakelants are in sixth and 8th place at 8-seconds off the leader board.
Saturday’s stage 5 is the longest of this year’s race and features the first-ever uphill finish in the Tour Down Under. The peloton will climb the well-known Willunga Hill two times, with the finish line waiting for the strongest man on the second time to the top. This stage should shake up the GC and establish the winner before Sunday’s final stage.