Tour de France: Simon Gerrans takes yellow as Orica-GreenEDGE win stage four team TT
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 03/07/13 5:46pm
Orica-GreenEDGE edged out Omega Pharma - Quick-Step by just 0.75 seconds
Simon Gerrans moved into the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey after Orica-GreenEDGE produced a stunning display to win the stage four team time trial in Nice.
The Australian squad stopped the clock on a flat, 25km course in 25min 56sec, just 0.75 seconds faster than Mark Cavendish's second-placed Omega Pharma - Quick-Step.
Geraint Thomas fought through the pain of a broken pelvis to help Team Sky finish third, three seconds down, as Chris Froome moved up to seventh in the general classification.
The Briton also gained time on all of his rivals for overall victory, with Alberto Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff finishing six seconds behind and Joaquim Rodriguez's Katusha 25 seconds back.
But tte day belonged to Gerrans, who secured a second successive stage win, following his individual triumph on Monday's third stage, and now becomes only the sixth Australian to wear the fabled maillot jaune.
There was less reason to celebrate for Britain's David Millar, whose Garmin-Sharp had been fancied to take victory and put him in the yellow jersey for the second time in his career, only to finish sixth, 17 seconds down.
Good day for Froome
Cavendish was also left empty-handed, despite Omega Pharma - Quick-Step having led for most of the stage after leaving the start ramp second and then setting an imposing time of 25min 57sec.
It withstood the challenge of Garmin-Sharp, Team Sky and Saxo-Tinkoff, and when Orica-GreenEDGE passed the intermediate split point three seconds slower, it looked as if they too would fall short.
However, despite problems with their team radios, Orica clawed back the deficit and then drove on to clinch victory by the narrowest of margins.
For Froome and Team Sky, the day played out almost perfectly. Although they missed out on victory, Thomas defied expectation by staying with his team-mates for all but the last 1.5km of the course, while Froome made gains on the general classification without taking on the yellow jersey and the pressure it brings.
Contador will also be satisfied after staying within striking distance of Froome, his main rival for overall victory, and putting in a superb individual display that included long turns at the front of the Saxo-Tinkoff train and hinted at a return to form.
Stage four result
1 Orica-GreenEDGE, 25:56
2 Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1sec
3 Team Sky, +3
4 Saxo - Tinkoff, +9
5 Lotto-Belisol, +17
6 Garmin-Sharp, same time
7 Movistar, +20
8 Lampre-Merida, +25
9 BMC, +26
10 Katusha, +28
1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE, 12:47:24
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE, same time
3 Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +1sec
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky, +3
7 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, st
9 Nicolas Roche (Ire) Saxo-Tinkoff, +9
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
12 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +9
34 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +28
- Green (points classification): Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
- Polka dot (mountains classification): Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
- White (best young rider): Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step