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Alessandro Ballan made a bold attack on the steep slope of Checker Hill. (Foto Sirotti)
Alessandro Ballan made a bold attack on the steep slope of Checker Hill. (Foto Sirotti)

Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 4: Ballan's Challenge

21. January 2011

Strathalbyn, Australia

Alessandro Ballan launched an attack Friday on the steepest climb of the Santos Tour Down Under, but the BMC Racing Team's top rider in the overall standings did not have the legs to follow the decisive move that went away shortly thereafter.

Unable To Follow

Ballan made his move on Checker Hill, 27 kilometers into the 124 km race. The former world champion said he felt good in the front group until six riders attacked not long after. "At that point, I felt the last days of effort in my legs and couldn't follow them," he said. "But I'm confident for tomorrow. It will be very tough and challenging." Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) held on to win from the breakaway while Ballan finished 31st, 24 seconds later.

Looking Ahead
Saturday's Queen Stage of the race is where last year Cadel Evans showed off his world champion rainbow stripes in an attack around Willunga with fellow Australian and now-teammate Tim Roe. BMC Racing Team Assistant Directeur Sportif  Michael Sayers said the team will work to get Ballan (15th overall, 28 seconds back) into the top 10. "Tomorrow's tactics will be dedicated to getting him in a position so he can follow on the climb and hopefully get him in a select group for the finish," Sayers said.