Andre Greipel continued his sprint dominance at the Tour Down Under with his second stage victory of the race in Victor Harbour.
The powerful German kicked out on the opposite side of the road to his rivals and was able to edge out Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat) on the line in another thrilling finish, regaining the race lead in the process.
Edvald Boasson Hagen crossed the stripe in third for Team Sky to pick up a valuable four bonus seconds to put towards his general classification ambitions.
After the peloton were caught napping on Wednesday a bunch sprint was always on the cards and again Greipel’s Lotto-Belisol outfit proved strongest when it came to controlling the finish on a tricky run-in.
The result saw the two-time race winner move back into the ochre jersey courtesy of a 10-second time bonus.
The riders were presented with the coolest day of the race so far as the action kicked off in Unley ahead of 134.5 breezy kilometres.
After 8km the day’s breakaway made itself known with Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil) joined by Matthew Brammeier (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) in what had the makings of a very dangerous move.
The gap to the four men spun out to 5:25 with Lotto-Belisol and Rabobank giving chase as De Gendt soaked up the maximum bonus seconds on offer as well as moving into the mountain’s jersey.
With the breakaway reeled in Team Sky turned the screw on the undulating run-in with Mathew Hayman trying his luck in a brief move alongside Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil).
With a bunch sprint seemingly set in stone a battle of the lead-out trains ensued with Greipel proving invincible on the flat.