White's win boosts O'Grady

att White wins the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under, providing a timely boost for his Cofidis te

att White wins the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under, providing a timely boost for his Cofidis te
PICTURE BY TDWSPORT.COM Time and space married perfectly for Matthew White at the Tour Down Under here on Friday as the Aussie rouleur claimed victory on the testing fourth stage. It was his first major win in almost six years and boosted Cofidis team-mate Stuart O'Grady's hopes of a third overall win, writes Justin Davis. White was sorely missed by O'Grady in Thursday's 26-man breakaway which effectively put Liberty Seguros and their 21-year-old Spanish sensation, Luis Leon Sanchez, into the race's driving seat and relegated 66 riders in the peloton to over half an hour in arrears. But White repaired some of the damage by that absence with a victory that should give O'Grady some hope of being able to overhaul Sanchez in the two remaining stages. "It's about time!" said a grinning O'Grady as the pair hugged at the Cofidis team van and celebrated White's first major result since a 1999 victory on the Tour of Switzerland. "For me to win it here at home, I'm pretty rapt," said White after coming solo over the finish line having escaped Robbie McEwen's clutches four kilometres earlier. White had been part of a six-man group which finally managed to break away in the latter stages of a stage which saw Sanchez's Liberty team chase down a series of attacks, the first coming in the first kilometre. White's main threat came in the shape of double stage-winner McEwen. It was a dilemma that White got around with a logical decision, and later explained with typical Aussie humour. "I wasn't going to sprint against Robbie McEwen," said the beaming White. "I couldn't beat him down a mineshaft." The patriotic McEwen, however, later admitted: "I wasn't going to chase Whitey down - he's worked for me at world championships and Olympic Games, so I decided it wasn't up to me to chase him, I'd leave it to the foreigners. If they can't catch him, then he can win the stage - that's fine with me." Nevertheless, McEwen did not let Sbastien Joly and Frdric Finot get the better of him, and held off the Frenchmen, respectively of Crdit Agricole and La Francaise des Jeux, at the finish to tighten his grip on the sprinter's jersey. Liberty were kept busy controlling breaks throughout the day but did enough to make sure that on Saturday's penultimate stage, a tough 147km from based on the wine town of Willunga, they will still have three men who are within 24 seconds of Sanchez, giving them plenty of options. Allan Davis is one of them, and is only 13 seconds adrift of his team-mate. He claimed that Saturday would be decisive. "It's going to be a hard day tomorrow, there's going to be a lot of action," said Davis, who has five seconds in hand on O'Grady. "Hopefully we have got enough left tomorrow, Luis and myself, to stay with the strong guys on the climb." It remains to see how O'Grady and his principal lieutenant White will play it, and whether Liberty will be prepared to take a risk by riding to get the Australian Davis into the leader's jersey at the expense of Sanchez. Stage 4, Unley- Hahndorf 1 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis 152km in 3.35.00 (42.42kph) 2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 0.02 3 Sbastien Joly (Fra) Crdit Agricole 4 Frdric Finot (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 5 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Panaria 0.06 6 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r 0.10 7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) La Francaise des Jeux 3.42 8 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis 9 David McPartland (Aus) United Water 10 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Caffita Overall 1 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Liberty Seguros 11.42.28 2 Johan van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.02 3 Paride Grillo (Ita) Panaria 0.12 4 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros 0.13 5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 0.18 6 Gene Bates (Aus) UNISA 0.20 7 Robert McLachlan (Aus) United Water 0.22 8 Javier Ramirez (Spa) Liberty Seguros 9 Mark Renshaw (Aus) La Francaise des Jeux 0.24 10 Loosli
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