Tour de France: Orica-GreenEdge team time trials Simon Gerrans into yellow
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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tour de France: Orica-GreenEdge team time trials Simon Gerrans into yellow

by Ben Atkins at 11:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Race Reports and Results
Two in two days for Australian team in 25km Nice test

Simon GerransOrica-GreenEdge took the closest of victories in the fourth stage team time trial of the 2013 Tour de France in the Côte d’Azur city of Nice, to put stage three winner Simon Gerrans into the Maillot Jaune. Having taken its long awaited first victory in the Tour the previous day, the Australian team took an immediate second stage as it was fastest around the 25km out and back course in a time of 25 minutes 56 seconds.

The best time had, until that point, been set by World team time trial champion Omega Pharma-Quick Step, with 25 minutes 57 seconds, but Orica-GreenEdge blasted across the line three-quarters of a second quicker than the Belgian squad to take the lead. Sky Procycling was the best of the teams of the overall favourites, with Chris Froome’s British squad completing the course just three seconds slower than Orica-GreenEdge, sending a message to the Kenyan-born rider’s rivals.

The RadioShack-Leopard team of Maillot Jaune Jan Bakelants was the last to ride, and its time of 26’25” was 29 seconds outside of that set by Orica-GreenEdge, confirming that Gerrans was to become the sixth Australian to take the Maillot Jaune.

“It was a team effort yesterday, but I was the one to stand on the podium and receive the reward,” said Gerrans. “It was that much more special to stand on the stage today with the entire team. All nine of us were on the podium together to celebrate our win. The yellow jersey is an added bonus.

“We certainly weren’t the favourites, but we had a very strong team,” he added. “There were no weak links today. Everyone was given a specific role to play within the TTT. The stronger riders pulled harder and longer. The less strong guys kept the speed up on their teams. Everyone committed 100% and it paid off with the win.”

Argos-Shimano sets the bar low for Omega Pharma-Quick Step

Argos-Shimano was the first team to set off, with all nine riders lined up one behind the other as they negotiated the early corners and headed out onto the famous Promenade des Anglais. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was next, followed by Lotto-Belisol and Cannondale. The Italian green team dropped Ted King, who had suffered a separated shoulder in the stage one crash, in the very first kilometres. The American, riding an ordinary road bike with clip on tri-bars, faced trying to get around the course alone inside the time limit.

Having set off first, Argos-Shimano was the first to post a time at the 13km checkpoint, passing through in 14’14” as the men in white began the journey back to Nice. The Dutch team was only on the top of the intermediate standings for a few minutes, however, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step blasted through almost a minute quicker in 13’16”.

As Lotto-Belisol and Cannondale were coming close to - but not being able to match - the time of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Argos-Shimano was the first team to finish, setting a time of 27’43” for the rest to aim at. Having been almost a minute quicker at the halfway point, Omega Pharma-Quick Step was almost two minutes quicker at the finish, and stopped the clock in 25’57”.

Garmin-Sharp was just four seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step at the 13km point, but the American team was unable to hold its pace all the way to the finish and crossed the line in 26’13” to go into third place, a fraction of a second behind Lotto-Belisol.

Team Sky comes close but Orica-GreenEdge just makes it

Team Sky was just one second slower than Garmin-Sharp - and five behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step - at the halfway point but, although the British team accelerated in the second half, it was unable to pull back enough on the Belgians and finished two seconds behind.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff was the closest to matching Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s time at the first checkpoint, going through in 13’17”, just over a second slower. Movistar finished in provisional fifth place, with 26’15”, but Saxo-Tinkoff - still with eight riders - was flying through the final kilometres and approaching the line. The Danish team was just unable to match the time set by the Belgian team in the second half of the race and crossed the line in 26’05”, eight seconds behind.

Orica-GreenEdge then went close to the best at the intermediate checkpoint, with 13’19”, and managed to more than match Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the final section to cross the line in 25’56”, a mere three-quarters of a second quicker than the Belgian team to take a narrow lead.

Bakelants’ RadioShack-Leopard team passed through the first check in 13’27”, losing eight seconds to Orica-GreenEdge and the Belgian’s virtual hold on his Maiilot Jaune. The Luxembourg team’s final time of 26’25” confirmed that it had passed over to Gerrans.

Result stage 4
1. Orica-GreenEdge (Aus), 25km in 25'56"
2. Omega Pharma-Quick Step (Bel) @ 1s
3. Sky Procycling (GBr) @ 3s
4. Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den) @ 9s
5. Lotto-Belisol (Bel) @ 17s
6. Garmin-Sharp (USA)
7. Movistar Team (Spa) @ 19s
8. Lampre-Merida (Ita) @ 25s
9. BMC Racing Team (USA) @ 26s
10. Katusha Team (Rus) @ 28s
11. RadioShack-Leopard (Lux) @ 29s
12. Vacansoleil-DCM (Ned) @ 33s
13. Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita) @ 34s
14. Belkin Pro Cycling (Ned) @ 37s
15. (Fra) @ 42s
16. Team Astana (Kaz) @ 56s
17. AG2R-La Mondiale (Fra) @ 1’04”
18. Sojasun (Fra) @ 1’10”
19. Team Europcar (Fra) @ 1’13”
20. Cofidis (Fra) @ 1’20”
21. Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa) @ 1’24”
22. Argos-Shimano (Ned) @ 1’47”

Standings after stage 4
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 1s
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling @ 3s
7. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
8. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 9s
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff


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