Cycling - Greipel claims stage as Evans retains lead Down Under

Andre Greipel muscled his way to victory on stage four of the Tour Down Under as home hero Cadel Evans held onto his overall lead.

German Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) crossed the line ahead of team-mate Juergen Roelandts and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) in a bunch sprint at the conclusion of the 148.5 kilometre ride from Unley to Victor Harbor in South Australia.

“I think this was actually the first opportunity for sprinters today,” said Greipel. “We finished first and second. It was a real team effort today.”

Former Tour de France champion Evans' was slashed by five seconds by Simon Gerrans (Orica), who picked up a three-second time bonus in intermediate spring and two seconds at the end for his fourth-place finish on the day.

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), winner of the second stage, is third with two days remaining.

Saturday sees the peloton tackle a 151km ride from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill on the penultimate stage of the first World Tour race of the season.

Stage four result

1. Andre Greipel (Germany / Lotto) 3:33:07"

2. Juergen Roelandts (Belgium / Lotto) ST

3. Elia Viviani (Italy / Cannondale)

4. Simon Gerrans (Australia / Orica)

5. Nathan Haas (Australia / Garmin)

6. Daryl Impey (South Africa / Orica)

7. Maxime Bouet (France / AG2R)

8. Nikolai Trussov (Russia / Tinkoff - Saxo)

9. Anthony Roux (France / FDJ.fr)

10. Francesco Gavazzi (Italy / Astana)

General classification after stage four

1. Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing) 14:19:46" 1046

2. Simon Gerrans (Australia / Orica) +7"

3. Nathan Haas (Australia / Garmin) +23"

4. Robert Gesink (Netherlands / Belkin) +30"

5. Geraint Thomas (Britain / Team Sky)

6. Daryl Impey (South Africa / Orica) +33"

7. Rory Sutherland (Australia / Tinkoff - Saxo) +34"

8. Ben Hermans (Belgium / BMC Racing)

9. Richie Porte (Australia / Team Sky)

10. Adam Hansen (Australia / Lotto)