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Hello and welcome to CN's live coverage from the Tour de Suisse. Today it's stage 4 from Grindelwald to Huttwil.
Today's stage is 198.4km with one second cat climb within the first 60km and then two third cat climbs within the final 40km.
Right now we have a group of three riders, who have a lead approaching five minutes. We've raced just over 80km.
Mondory from AG2R, Chavanel from Quick Step and Benedetti from NetApp are the three leaders. They lead over the second cat climb and their exact lead is 4:47
Apologies from that distance marker before. We've raced 85km
Yesterday we saw some great racing. Cunego took the leader's jersey while Sagan won the stage. Cunego's performance deserves the most praise though. His timing and delivery were almost perfect. The critical aspect was that he couldn't put enough time into Sagan on the climb and was caught on the descent, but that's probably being a little bit harsh on the Little Prince.
Here's where we stand on GC:
1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 7:43:16
2 Juan Mauricio Soler (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:54
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:16
4 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:01:19
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad 0:01:21
6 Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:01:25
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek 0:01:32
8 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Katusha Team 0:01:53
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:02:00
10 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 0:02:10
The gap has come down a little bit, it's at 4;11 now. Today's profile is perhaps suited to a break, there's not much in the way of flat out there at the moment and the final two climbs should see some splits. The final is uphill too.
Ping me your predictions twitter.com/dnlbenson
Today we'll have Hushovd's first victory in the rainbow jersey #TdS
@reitbakk Tue, 14th Jun 2011 11:20:21
Well Hushovd needs a win. He's not win since last year and his team and himself for that matter would have expected much better. Illness and speculation over his future hasn't helped but that will all be forgotten if he can deliver a win today.
NetApp are certainly showing themselves in the race. Yesterday Impey made the initial break and today Benedetti is in the mix. The 23-year-old was with Liquigas for the final few months of the 2009 season but turned pro with NetApp at the start of 2010. In Chavanel and Mondory he's got some very experienced companions. He just needs to sit and do his share of the work - for now at least.
Just over 100km of racing covered and the gap has stabilized at 4:00.
The three-man break has now reached an uncategorised climb, there are two in quick succession in fact.
The three leaders have just gone through the feed zone.
Our man in the press room, well actually the PR from Team Type 1 has given us the following nugget of information about today's finish.
"slightly up, 3% for the last K, curving to the right. it's a cowfield, looks like that green grass hilly screen saver in windows 95"
The first of those two rises has seen the gap to the break drop slightly. It's now at 3:35
In other news Stephen Farrand talked to Robert Millar about Wiggins, the Tour de France, Contador and the UCI. You can read the story here.
The three leaders have passed both of the two uncategorised climbs, their lead at a steady 3:30. We've raced 120km so far.
The three leaders are working together. Their lead really hasn't been large enough to cause the bunch much in the way of stress though.
It's now down to 2:37.
If the stage does come down to the sprint today then we've got a host of top level sprinters to pick from. Cav, Goss are here from High Road; Hunter and McEwen from Shack, Greipel from Lotto, Van Avermaet (BMC), Swift, Breschel perhaps, Sagan of course, Boonen, Ciolek, Bozic and Koldo Fernandez.
61km to go. The bunch have the break at just over 2:30 and are quite content to let them stay out there for now. Garmin, Lampre, Lotto and Movistar are all near the front of the peloton.
Cunego is sitting near the front for now with a clutch of Lampre riders surrounding him and keeping him out of trouble. They've had a fairly comfortable day so far.
HTC has thrown a couple of rider to the front as Andre Greipel scoffs down some food. The German will be one of the favourites for today.
Oscar Freire he's also here. He could also be a factor. Remember that sprint finish in Barcelona back in 2009. It was him and Hushovd who contested that uphill sprint at the Tour de France. This could be their chance to get one over the likes of Cav and Greipel. It's going to be a really tough finish though.
Reynes has come back to the team car and picks up a number of bottles for his teammates.
Grabsch is on the front right now. Former world TT champ will do a lot of work between now and the finish for HTC. It will be interesting to see how the team split duties today. No Renshaw so we could see Goss lead out Cav, or Eisel. Or Goss could be the team's number one for the day.
The lead to the trio upfront has come down further. It's just over two minutes.
Less than 45 to go and the gap down to 1:55.
#tourdebeauce aggressive start to stage1, currently an 18 rider split with 45 seconds, 40km into the race.
@kirstenfrattini Tue, 14th Jun 2011 15:25:53
Lotto have committed just one rider to the chase but the rest of the team are very close to the front. Greipel will have asked them to keep him up there. It's a long way from the finish but the German doesn't want to have any complications or mix ups in the finale. He's also sending a message to the other sprinters that he means business today.
Mondory takes the sprint and thanks Benedetti for allowing him the points. Mondroy is leading that competition.
Sky moving up now. They have Henderson and Swift. I think the uphill kick could suit Swift more.
If you're French, is it your national obligation to get into early, hopeless breakaways?
@nyvelocity Tue, 14th Jun 2011 15:32:44
37km to go and the gap is down to 1:14.
It's a loop this final section of the stage and the riders will pass the finish line for the first time in around 12/13 km
Chavanel leads proceedings over a climb. His participation in the breaks means Quick Step dont have to lift a finger at the moment.
Ten Dam moves to the front of the bunch and picks up a few extra KOM points - he's leading that competition at the moment.
#tourdebeauce the 20rider group includes Day, Tuft, Rollin, 4SpiderTech, 3Kenda, 2VAus ...
@kirstenfrattini Tue, 14th Jun 2011 15:41:00
Liquigas have started to move up to the front. They'll be working for Sagan. The only question is how well he's recovered since yesterday. He was on the attack in the mountains and put in a huge effort. The stage finish does suit him, perhaps he'd like it to be a little bit harder but he'll be up there.
And Greipel is suffering on the climb. Cavendish too.
Sagan will want to get rid of those two riders before the finish if he can.
Into the final 30km and Sky are piling on the pressure at the front. Hondo is taking care of Cunego - he's a great rider to have in a situation like this. The likes of Cav and Greipel have made it over the climb with the bunch but they've not got to get all the way to the front again.
Boonen has moved up. That's the first time we've seen him all race. In fact that's the first time I've seen him since the Classics.
The three leaders are closing in on the finishline. It's not an easy sprint at all.
There's an attack from Katusha but Sky are going to pounce on this straight away. The British team are doing the majority of the work.
Mondory takes the final intermediate sprint.
20km to go and the gap is just 25 seconds.
A lot of teams are happy to let Sky do the work. Shack are moving up now for McEwen.
Meanwhile the leaders have split but they're about to be swallowed up.
It's not super fast yet though, the bunch isn't lined out yet. That will come though and there will be attacks on the last climb.
HTC and Movistar also starting to form at the front of the bunch.
Lots of fighting for position before the final climb. BMC up there now too. Leopard haven't been active yet but they might try something on the climb.
Lotto have now moved to the front of affairs. It's a big ask on Greipel to stay in contention.
Freire near the front, Rabobank there to help him with Velits, one of them at least, on the front of the bunch. Greipel still near the front of the bunch so he's riding well. 13km to go.
Hushovd is also near the action.
Both of the Velits brothers are on the front for HTC. No sign of Cavendish or Goss just yet though. They'll both be in there though.
Attack from Vacan and Lotto.
A perfect time to make a move, just at the crest of the climb. The Lotto rider wont help one bit though, not with Greipel in contention.
Daniel Oss has jumped up to the duo as well
9.4km to go and the three chasers hardly have a gap now. Oss is pressing on but it wont last much longer. Oss is making others chase and that will help Sagan.
All back together and Hesjdal and three riders try and break away. They'll get 20 yards but they're caught almost straight away.
And Cav has sat up.
The Manxman will save his powder for another day.
Liquigas are now on the front, all working for Oss. It's all strung out on this section, a long slow drag. Hushovd is up there. Freire too.
Garmin now have a man on the front, it's Vande Velde, and he's setting the pace for his team. Haussler or Hushovd for today?
Cunego is very close to the front as well, in fourth place. He wont want to make any mistakes and lose silly time.Cunego is on Di Luca's wheel. Both of the Italians could try something at the finish. Ventoso, Boonen, and Rojas are all up there too.
#tourdebeauce check out the full results, reports, photos and news following stage1 at www.cyclingnews.com
@kirstenfrattini Tue, 14th Jun 2011 16:19:05
4km to go and there are so many big hitters in the mix. Voigt is giving it a go for Leopard Trek.
The German has a gap, perhaps 70 or 80 meters.
Less than 3km for the German but Liquigas and Rabo are chasing.
All over, he's been brought back.
2km to go.
Hushovd in 5th wheel.
I think he's working for someone. He''s too near up the front I think.
No, he's going for the win.
O'Grady has now made a move.
He's caught straight away.
Ballan goes and Sagan goes too.
Hushovd goes with him.
And Hushovd is on Sagan's wheel, with 50 to go, he's trying everything to get around him. He's going for it.
And Hushovd takes it! His first win of the season.
Ballan kicked things off on the left, Sagan went on the right and Hushovd was straight on his wheel. Boonen tried to go with them but couldn't match the pace.
Hushovd timed his move to perfection though.
Yes Thor. Congrats!
@gerardvroomen Tue, 14th Jun 2011 16:27:06
Marcato picked up 3rd, Rojas, Freire, while Boonen was 9th.
No change in the overall.
Thanks for joining us today. I hope you've enjoyed the coverage .Stay tuned tomorrow for more from the Tour de Suisse.