(Above photos: ©Vareel Patel/onev.com.au
Ruben Guerreiro defended his lead in the best young rider competition in the erratic bunch finish of stage four at the Santos Tour Down Under, sprinting across the line in 15th place to ensure the white jersey will be on his back into the critical stage five Saturday.
"It was a little bit dangerous in the last kilometers," said Guerreiro, referring to the long, fast downhill into the finish. "We worked for Edward, and the boys did a great job getting him to the front. I think Edward was stopped by some guys in the last meters, it was unfortunate, and I just followed and was able to finish 15th and move up a position in GC. I feel good, and I am ready for tomorrow."
Unlucky again was Edward Theuns when he was squeezed by the bunch in the last meters, moving him towards the barriers and causing him to brake. It was just after he had jumped on the short uphill ahead of the line, a finish that suited him perfectly. Frustrated, he rolled across the line in 35th place.
"In the downhill, I was a bit scared, so I was totally in the back, but the guys waited for me and brought me to the front for the last five kilometers," explained Theuns, his frightening downhill crash at last year's Tour de France not completely forgotten. "Koen [de Kort] and me were where we had to be. I had just launched my sprint – I finally felt like I had launched it in the right moment and I really felt power in the legs - and I think if I could have gone, they may have had a hard time to get me back. But the whole bunch went from the left all the way to the right and rode me almost into the barriers, so I had to brake. The sprint was over."
Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) continued his domination in the bunch sprints, winning his third stage of the Tour, and his fourth total with the People's Choice Classic criterium.
Tomorrow the race turns back to the general classification contenders as they tackle Willunga Hill, and Edward Theuns will have one more chance in the final stage Sunday.