Kristian House retained the lead of the Cell C Tour of South Africa on Wednesday but Davide Torosantucci proved the strongest on stage four, attacking with 5km to go from a select lead group to win the 153 kilometre stage from Bloukrans Bridge to George.
Riding for the D’Angelo & Antenucci-Nippo team the 29-year-old Italian finished 18 seconds ahead of K├®vin Reza (Team Europcar) and South Africa’s Darren Lill (DCM), second and third respectively for the stage. Torosantucci’s manager, and former Tour de France yellow jersey Alberto Elli was pleased with his team’s performance. “I was really angry with the team yesterday when we had no one in front,” said Elli. “Torosantucci is a good climber, so I am glad he could win today.”
Race leader House (Rapha Condor-Sharp) was also part of the select 19-man group which formed on the stage’s final climb and didn’t lose any time to his general classification rivals. He went on to keep his comfortable 2:22 margin over second-placed Daryl Impey (MTN Qhubeka) and third third-placed Johann Rabie (Team Bonitas).
It was a hard day of racing where a quarter of the peloton was dropped early on the first climb, forming the day’s grupetto. Meanwhile, Rapha Condor-Sharp set a steady pace to protect race leader House. Adamant to get into the breakaway, Jay Thomson slipped off the front to form the break of the day. The South African was released from his US trade team Bissell Pro Cycling to ride as a guest on Team 360 Life for the race. The bunch only allowed him a maximum lead of 2:30 before reeling him in.
As expected, the race blew apart on the final climb of the day when a steep ascent separated the weaker riders from the race favourites.
The lead group of 19 was surprised when House put in an attack with 7km to go. Naturally, everyone responded and brought him back.
Torosantucci then took full advantage and counter-attacked, knowing there would be hesitation in chasing him as he was 13:15 down on the general classification. The Italian, who had his appendix removed as recently as December, held on by 18 seconds to win the stage.
The King of the Mountains competition was contested between Daryl Impey (MTN-Qhubeka) and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp). Impey, the former RadioShack rider, held onto his lead in the competition at the end of the day. However, being fifth overall, he said the general classification was still in his sights.
Thursday’s stage five features a 175km route from Oudtshoorn to Barrydale.
Stage four results
1 Davide Torosantucci (DAN) 3hr 20min 22sec, ÔÇ¿2 Kevin Reza (EUC) at 18 secondsÔÇ¿, 3 Darren Lill (DCM) same timeÔÇ¿, 4 Johann Rabie (BNT) at 22sec, 5 Jempy Drucker (VWA) stÔÇ¿, 6 Milan Kadlec (CZE) stÔÇ¿, 7 Giovanni Bernaudeau (EUC) st, ÔÇ¿8 Alex Meenhorst (CCD) stÔÇ¿, 9 Daryl Impey (MTN) st, ÔÇ¿10 William Dugan (TT1) st
1 Kristian House (RCS) 11:18.14ÔÇ¿, 2 Daryl Impey (MTN) at 2min 22secÔÇ¿, 3 Johann Rabie (BNT) same time, ÔÇ¿4 David George (LIF) stÔÇ¿, 5 Jacques Janse van Ransburg (VMC) stÔÇ¿, 6 Perrig Quemeneur (EUC) st, ÔÇ¿7 Thomas Degand (VWA) stÔÇ¿, 8 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (RCS) +2:25ÔÇ¿, 9 Kevin Reza (EUC) at 3:00ÔÇ¿, 10 Darren Lill (DCM) st