Tour de France Stage 4: Simon Gerrans in maillot jaune as Orica-GreenEdge win TTT in Nice
Australian team's Tour gets better and better as man who win yesterday's Stage 3 becomes new race leader
Simon Gerrans, winner of yesterday's Stage 3 of the 100th Tour de France, is now in the maillot jaune as race leader after his Orica-GreenEdge team won the Stage 4 time trial in Nice. It was a tight batle, the Australian WorldTour outfit's time of 25 minutes 56 seconds just three quarters of a second faster than the benchmark set early on by Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Team Sky were third, just 3 seconds off Orica-GreenEdge's time.
Following last night's transfer from Corsica, 71 riders started this afternoon's 25km stage on the Cote d'Azur's biggest city within a solitary second of overnight leader Jan Bakelants of RadioShack-Leopard, meaning plenty of teams began the day with hopes of getting a rider into the maillot jaune.
One of those was Garmin-Sharp, whose David Millar had left Corsica second on GC and had high hopes of taking the maillot jaune that he had previously worn 13 years ago in the 2000 Tour de France after winning the Prologue, but the US-based team, which had targeted the stage, was a disappointing 17 seconds off the pace.
Sky's performance sees Chris Froome gain 6 seconds on overall rival Alberto Contador, but the BMC pair of Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen will have a bit more time to make up - they were 26 seconds down on the winner, and 23 seconds off Sky's time.
For Gerrans, a resident of Monaco who jets to races around the world from Nice airport, passed twice on today's stage, this stretch of coast is a happy hunting ground; a little over 15 months ago, beyond the principality where he lives and a few kilometres across the Italian border, he won Milan-San Remo.
Tomorrow's Stage 5 starts a little west of Nice at Cagnes-sur-Mer - home to the bike shop run by the 'Motoman' of US Postal doping scandal fame - and heads off in the same direction towards Marseille.