CCC Team rider Patrick Bevin continued to impress at the Santos Tour Down Under Friday, sprinting to a second-place finish and defending his general classification lead on a tough Stage 4. The New Zealander gained time on his GC rivals, and now holds a 7-second lead over Stage 4 winner and second-place overall Daryl Impey of South Africa.
The 129km stage from Unley to Campbeltown featured the decisive Corkscrew climb less than 6km from the finish. Bevin charged over the climb on his TCR Advanced SL team bike to help reel in a late break on the descent. In the final kilometer he attacked Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez to take the lead but was overtaken by Impey at the line. Bevin’s second-place finish earned him 6 bonus seconds, which helped him hold onto his overall race lead.
“I took the onus up as much as I had to on the descent,” said Bevin, who wore the Giant Rev helmet and was riding a prototype WheelSystem labeled #overachieve. “As that group got bigger it was at the point where if I could take any time bonus it was good. Any is better than none and I wasn’t going to risk losing time to anyone.”
Bevin, who won the New Zealand national time trial championship earlier this month, said that no matter how the final weekend turns out, it has been a successful first WorldTour race of the year for him and his CCC Team.
“For me personally, this has been an opportunity to grow,” Bevin said. “The team is racing totally different and it’s suiting me down to the ground. I really feel like I’m enjoying the way we are racing and the style of racing.”
The final two stages will be a challenge, but Bevin said he plans to fight until the end. “It would be great to tame more time [Saturday],” he said. “That would be a real step towards the final day in Willunga because I’m still only 21 seconds over Richie [Porte] before Willunga. It’s not a huge bugger. Fortunately, this race is about being an all-rounder. Basically you have to sprint better than the climbers and climb better than the sprinters.”