Philip Deignan continues to impress in his fledgling days as a conscript of Team Sky.
The Letterkenny native is 37th at the Santos Tour Down Under after four stages - two minutes and 37 seconds behind overall leader, Australia’s Cadel Evans. The BMC rider currently has a 12 seconds advantage over compatriot Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEDGE.
Deignan finished stage four in 47th place with the same time as stage winner, Germany’s Andre Greipel of Lotto Belisol.
Thirty-year-old Deignan also finished in the main bunch on stages one and two, then rode for team leader Richie Porte on the third stage. Deignan drove the pace inside the final 10km, ramping up the speed on Corkscrew Hill and paving the way for a surge by Porte.
Evans, however, broke away near the end of the 145-kilometre stage from Norwood to Campbelltown, winning by 14 seconds from a group of 11 riders.
Geraint Thomas, Team Sky’s team leader, is in sixth place in the general classification.
Saturday’s top of Old Willunga Hill will be vital to the outcome of the race and Deignan - a comfortable climber - will assist Porte and Thomas again. Stage five will be screened live on Sky Sports from 12:30am Saturday.
The Tour Down Under, which is centred in Adelaide, South Australia.