The fourth stage of the Tour Down Under was mostly uneventful, with the top riders holding their ground across a relatively easy, and fast course today. At the end, it was Australian Allan Davis who took the stage win, and picked up 10 bonus seconds, to give him a four second lead over fellow Aussie Graeme Brown. José Joaquin Rojas Gil of Spain took third place.
Tomorrow’s stage will be much tougher, with two long climbs pushing the riders over the course of the 148km (92 mile) course. The climb known locally as Willunga is 2.5 miles in length, and will be a great test in the early season for the climbers and all-around riders looking to gauge their current conditioning. Mix in the heat and gusting winds that have been a hallmark of the TDU this week, and it should make for an interesting stage.
For his part, Lance Armstrong is now 39 seconds off the pace, but doesn’t feel that he is within striking distance of the lead, after finishing 47th, back in the pack, today. He says that his conditioning is good, and his legs feel strong, but his recovery is not where it should be yet. That said, I won’t be surprised at all to see Lance riding with the lead cyclists tomorrow as they struggle up Willunga. I don’t think he’ll be making a move to win, but he’ll be using it as a test to see where he stands in his comeback.
Lance also weighed in on the return of Floyd Landis to cycling as well, saying that Floyd has “paid his penalty” and it’s time to put the doping scandals behind them, and get back on the bike and ride. Seems like reasonable advice!