Stage 4 was always tipped to be a stage for the climbers, with a hilltop finish on Admiral Hill, and another hard 7km climb at the halfway mark…
However, it was the crosswinds that did the damage early in the race. At around 20km in, the bunch was strung out single file in the gutter, and within minutes a break was up the road. The High5 team were well represented, with Georgia and Ellen in the break and with the GC contenders still in the bunch, we were happy to watch it sliy.
The break got out to around two minutes but the peloton never really sat up. Going up the first long climb, the pace was on, and we got to within one minute, however after a short, fast decent, the pace slowed and the gap went out once more. A few riders attacked to try and bridge across but nothing was able to get away. Crosswinds throughout the course made for tough racing, and although the gap seem to stay steady at around 2 and a half minutes, both the DNA cycling and Holden teams working hard to bring it back.
Heading into the final climb, it became clear that the break was not coming back. We could see riders off in the distance at some points, but knew they were a long way off. With Ellen still in the break I was able to sit in and leave it up to other teams to set the pace. With no one keen to make a move early on the climb, the pace was steady. There were a few attacks as the road flattened out near the top of the climb, but nothing got away and with the riders in the break already over the line, it was a short uphill sprint for the minor placings.
It was a great day for the High5 team, with Ellen finishing in 4th place and also moved into the young riders jersey going into the final stage tomorrow.