Steele von Hoff has left his mark on the Tour Down Under after the UniSA-Australia rider claimed Stage 4 in a sprint finish.
By
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Von Hoff launched himself off Wouter Wippert's wheel and was able to hold off a charge by Orica-GreenEDGE's Daryl Impey to win the stage in Mt Barker.

Wippert (Drapac) finished third with Australian champion Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) left off the podium in fourth.

BMC's Rohan Dennis was held up by a crash in the finishing straight, but due to rules he will be attributed with the winner's time, meaning he keeps the race lead.

Sky's Richie Porte was caught in the crash but was uninjured.

There was no change to the top three general classification positions with Dennis retaining a seven second lead over team-mate Cadel Evans and a nine second advantage over Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin.

Impey moved to fourth overall, 13 seconds behind Dennis, after winning the intermediate sprint and taking a time bonus on the line.

(Scroll down for race action).

Von Hoff's performance highlights a solid week for the UniSA invitational team after Jack Bobridge won the opening stage and held the race lead for two days.

Bobridge's local knowledge was of benefit to von Hoff in the finale.

"Jack Bobridge was looking after me saying, "be patient, be patient. I know these roads like the back of my hand,'" said von Hoff.

"I just trusted it then he delivered me in the final km under the banner and then I just sniveled and held the wheel of the trains.

"He told me to get on Quickstep because with Renshaw here there was definitely a fantastic chance and I did that and it opened up on the left hand side of the road. I managed to find Wouter Wippet's wheel and just sat on it until those guys got a little bit tired, and went."

The Australian criterium champion is hoping this success can act as a spring board back to the WorldTour after he was dropped from the Garmin team when it merged with Cannondale at the end of the last season. Von Hoff will race with British continental team NFTO this year.

Saturday's Stage 4 is the highly anticipated battle of Willunga Hill.

Stage 4:
Glenelg - Mt Barker
1 Steele von Hoff (AUS) UniSA-Australia 3hr 24min 28sec
2 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
3 Wouter Wippert (NED) Drapac
4 Heinrich Haussler (AUS) IAM Cycling
5 Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) Ag2R La Mondiale
6 Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) Lampre Merida
7 Rudiger Selig (GER) Katusha
8 Gianni Meersman (BEL) Etixx-Quick Step
9 Eugenio Alafaci (ITA) Trek Factory Racing
10 Koen de Kort (AUS) Giant-Alpecin

General Classification
1 Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing 13hr 41min 34sec
2 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing 0:00:07
3 Tom Dumoulin (NED) Giant-Alpecin 0:00:09
4 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE 0:00:13
5 Riche Porte (AUS) Sky 0:00:15
6 Jack Haig (AUS) UniSA-Australia
7 Michael Rogers (AUS) Tinkoff-Saxo
8 Ruben Fernandez (ESP) Movistar
9 Maxim Bouet (FRA) Etixx-Quick Step
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) AG2R La Mondiale

All times stamps are AEDT.

3:43pm:
Steele von Hoff (UniSA) pulls out a blinder to win the stage in a sprint from Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE). There was a big crash in the field behind them as they crossed the line.

3:41pm:
1km to go.

3:40pm:
Two kilometres to go, jostling for position.

3:37pm:
Less than five kilometres to go and the race is all together. IAM Cycling and Orica-GreenEDGE are driving the peloton.

3:34pm:
The two leaders have been caught. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Movistar) have opened up a small gap. Seven kilometres to go.

3:28pm:
Sierry and Belkov are still together, holding their 30 second lead with 11km to the finish. Movistar is driving the peloton.

3:23pm:
The peloton has split into three groups. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) is in the rear group which is nearly four minutes behind the leaders. With only a 30 second lead, Sierry is trying to drop Belkov.

3:18pm:
Tleubayev has been dropped from the leading group. With 20km to go Sierry and Belkov cling to an 47 second lead.

2:55pm:
The leaders hold a 2min 20sec lead with 35km to go. Lampre-Merida, Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo are driving the peloton.

2:40pm:
Three riders - Pieter Serry (Etixx-Quick Step), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana) - have slipped away from the peloton to establish a 1min 25sec advantage with 45km to go.

2:30pm:
Orica-GreenEDGE's Daryl Impey wins the sprint to claim a three second time bonus. The peloton is strung out with 62km to go.

2:10pm:
With the peloton breathing down their neck, Pineau has attacked his companions. His move was short lived, as Lotto-Soudal and Orica-GreenEDGE drove the peloton to catch the leaders. The race altogether with 67km to go.

2:00pm:
There doesn't seem to be a lot of commitment in the break with the time gap falling to 1min 30sec with 70km to go.

1:49pm:
The time gap for the leading three riders back to the peloton is 2min 25sec with 85km to go.

1:36pm:
It's clear Bobridge's agenda was just to win the King of the Mountains points as he has sat up now and will wait for the peloton to collect him.

1:30pm:
The climb has slowed the break with the time gap dropping to 1min 30sec.

1:27pm:
Jack Bobridge has added to his King of the Mountains tally, taking top points on Sellicks Hill at 44.2km. Hepburn was second, followed by Pineau. Bobridge is now the virtual KOM leader with a four point advantage over race leader Rohan Dennis.

1:07pm:
It's definitely not Nathan Haas's day. After attacking in the opening kilometre, he lost his lead when he punctured. He was then fighting hard to bridge to the break only to suffer a second puncture. The lead four riders have a 2min 20sec lead.

1:00pm:
After an aggressive start a group has managed to get free from the peloton. Jack Bobridge (UniSA), Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEDGE), Peter Kennaugh (Sky) and Cedric Pineau (FDJ) have a 1min 50sec lead about 30km into the race. Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) is attempting to bridge to the leaders.

12:36pm:
Giant-Alpecin's Lawson Craddock has abandoned the race after crashing in the today's opening kilometres. His injuries are unknown at this stage and he is going to the hospital for observation.

12:30pm:
There has been a few attacks but nothing has stuck yet.

12:05pm:
Stage 4 has begun. The riders have a 7.2km neutral section before racing will begin.

12:00pm: Did race leader Rohan Dennis sleep in the Ochre jersey last night?

Apparently not.

"To be absolutely honest it was just sitting in my suitcase. I try not to think about the fact that I'm leading a tour too much because then you start stressing and worrying about the next stages," said Dennis before the start of Stage 4.

"I try to act as if nothing is going on until I do cross that finish line on the last day with the win. That's the way I try to deal with it. Obviously it's still in the back of your mind and you can't fully forget it but it's best to switch off after each stage."

10:55am:
We hear a certain crocodile may be looking for a new career once Cadel retires...


10:10am:
Team Sky's Richie Porte is fourth on the general classification, 15 seconds behind race leader Rohan Dennis.

Despite BMC's show of strength with Dennis and Cadel Evans in first and second overall, Porte has warned that the race hasn't be won yet.

"Willunga is a totally different style of climb. She's not over until the fat lady sings at the top of there," said Porte.


10:00am:
A surprise attack by Rohan Dennis saw the South Australian win Stage 3 and ride away with the Santos Tour Down Under leader's jersey in yesterday's stage.

Dennis's BMC team-mate Cadel Evans finished second on the stage to move into second overall.

Read more here.

Here's what Dennis and Evans said after the stage.


9:45am: Stage 4 starts at on the coast at 12pm in Glenelg and finishes approximately 3:50pm AEDT at Mt Barker.

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