Jack Bauer spent his day in the breakaway for Quick Step-Floors at the Santos Tour Down Under, and put in a valiant effort to stay clear; only being caught with less than 5km to go. Caleb Ewan of Orica-SCOTT made it a hat trick of victories, sprinting to the win ahead of Peter Sagan and Danny van Poppel.
Stage 4 of the Santos Tour Down Under took the field 149.5km from Norwood to Campbelltown. After an opening 8km that was all uphill, the stage rolled its way onwards through the KOM at 25km and on towards the fast descent towards the finish line. Richie Porte of BMC Racing began the day with a 20 second buffer to Gorka Izagirre of Movistar and 22 seconds to Esteban Chaves of Orica-SCOTT.
Attacks were the theme of the day early on with multiple moves trying and failing to go clear before finally Jack Bauer was able to go clear of the field in the company of Ondrej Cink of Bahrain-Merida and Cameron Meyer of UniSA-Australia. By the time the break had reached the KOM on Checker Hill Road the gap had gone out to 1.30mins. In the end the maximum lead for the break stretched out to more than 2 minutes but the peloton were confident that they’d be able to bring back the reigning New Zealand national champion and his companions.
Possibly sensing that Bauer began to test the field with 55km remaining. His pressure at that point shook off Cinq, while Meyer would also find himself dropping back with another 20km more covered. Out on his own Bauer dug deep although he faced a big task ahead with the gap to the peloton down to just 45 seconds. He was committed though as the Kiwi persisted and pushed on as the kilometres ticked away; creating a good impression with his new outfit for 2017.
The gap was still 45 seconds with 22km remaining, but eventually with Team Sky, BMC Racing and Dimension Data all battling for the front of the front and control of the peloton the gap did start cascading down and with 19km to go his time gap was slashed to 15 seconds. Orica-SCOTT moved forward as the race neared 10km to go and put even more pressure on the fatiguing Bauer.
Our Kiwi champion was finally caught with 4km to go and the field got set for the sprint finish. Despite a late attack by Bora-Hansgrohe Caleb Ewan powered through to take a convincing win. Team Sky launched a late break but after waiting on the wheel of van Poppel, the pocket rocket from Australia adopted his customary tuck position to power away from the rest and secure his third win in this year’s race.
Patrick Bevin and Jack Bauer both arrived home in the main field, losing no time to Ewan. Overall Bevin sits 49 seconds behind Porte, with teammate Michael Woods 17th overall 33 seconds adrift.