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Welcome to live coverage of stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse from Rheinfelden to Champagne
Welcome to day four of the Tour de Suisse. Race leader Peter Sagan and the rest of the peloton are on their way after starting from Rheinfelden a little while ago.
It's another damp and miserable day out there for the riders, unfortunately but it should clear up by the end of the day.
There wasn't a long wait for the first attack to come. Matthew Brammeier (Dimension Data) and Jérémy Maison (FDJ) went as soon as the flag dropped. They were then joined by Lukas Jaun (Team Roth) and Nick Vander Lijke (Roompot).
There is just one non-starter this morning and that is BMC's Samuel Sanchez, who has developed a respiratory infection.
The four-man escape group has two minutes on the peloton.
The best placed of the escapees is FDJ's Jeremy Maison who is 3:31 down in the overall classification.
Peter Sagan's stage win yesterday was enough to bump him into the leader's jersey. It's only a slim lead though. This is what the overall classification looked like this morning.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 9:14:13
2 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:03
3 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
4 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:13
5 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:14
6 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:17
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:18
9 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:19
10 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:20
After 20km of racing the four up front have built up a gap of just over three minutes.
There are only two classified climbs today for the riders and Sagan could well add his name as a Tour de Suisse stage winner for the 14th time. This is what today's stage looks like.
If you missed the news from earlier today, a Spanish court ruled that the 211 blood bags found in a raid during the Operacion Puerto investigation are to be handed over to the anti-doping authorities. It's yet unclear what this could mean for cycling and sport in general with the statute of limitation already at an end. Read the full story here.
It seems that the peloton and the break are taking their time this morning. They've covered just 30.5km over the first hour of racing and are 15 minutes behind the slowest time schedule. There has not been much change in terms of the gap, which currently stands at 3:15.
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@Cyclingnewsfeed Tue, 14th Jun 2016 11:58:06
At 31, Matt Brammeier is by far and away the most experienced of the four riders in today's breakaway. The Dimension Data rider stepped up to WorldTour level in 2011 with HTC Colombia but had to move on when the team folded at the end of the year. He's a multiple national champion and won a stage of the ZLM Toer last year from a breakaway.
Van der Lijcke has taken the 8 points available at the top of the first climb. Jaun folled him over in second place, Maison was third and Brammeier fourth.
With only one other climb to come today, the lead of the mountains classification is not under threat. Antwan Tolhoek holds a commanding lead in that classification after yesterday's stage.
1 Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton 43 pts
2 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Team Roth 22
3 Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton 13
4 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team 12
5 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling 10
6 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Roth 10
7 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 8
8 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha 7
9 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 4
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge 3
The latest time check for the escapees is 3:20. Tinkoff is leading the chase in the bunch.
At 22, Jeremy Maison is the youngest in the breakaway. He is riding his first season as a professional after signing a two-year deal with the FDJ squad. It's been a steep learning curve for the Frenchman but he's getting lots of practice with 30 race days under his belt already.
The slow pace continues and after almost two hours of racing, only 60km has been completed. A challenging headwind and some rain is not helping the situation. The other teams are more than happy to let Tinkoff take the brunt of the conditions.
The gap remains at just 3:20 for the four leaders, which means that Sagan would remain the race leader if the gap where to stay this way.
The riders are no 20 minutes behind schedule but the escapees have picked up the pace a little. They've extended their lead to 3:55 over the peloton.
Today's stage is a 193km run to Champagne. There are two intermediate sprints right near the end with bonus seconds available. Tinkoff will probably be happy to let the break stay out until they have passed through but the likes of BMC and Lotto-Soudal may want to try and bring things together beforehand to five Dillier and Roelandts a shot at toppling Sagan.
After starting under the rain, the weather is clearing at the finish giving the riders a chance to dry off.
#tourdesuisse Still more than 100 km to go and the front group has an advantage of about 4 minutes.
@Lotto_Soudal Tue, 14th Jun 2016 13:13:48
A reminder of the four riders in the breakaway today: Matthew Brammeier (Dimension Data), Jérémy Maison (FDJ) Lukas Jaun (Team Roth) and Nick Vander Lijke (Roompot-Oranje Peloton). Brammeier and Maison escaped soon after the flag dropped with the others joining them a little later.
Nick van der Lijke rides for Roompot this year after two years with the Belkin/LottoNL-Jumbo set-up. The 24-year-old is in his third year as a professional. He is yet to take his first professional win.
As the weather picks up midway through this stage, the riders are able to stretch their legs a little bit. There is some sunshine peaking through the clouds and the escape group is now 3:40 ahead, making Maison the leader on the road.
A look at today's finish
- 86km remaining from 193km
The gap tot he escapees has started to come down. They have just three minutes on the peloton now who seems intent on shutting this down.
The riders were battling with a headwind for much of the first part of this stage but that seems to have abated for them while the sun continues to reveal its self from behind the plentiful clouds.
Etixx-QuickStep has put men on the front to help the Tinkoff team out. Today is possibly their best shot at a stage win with Fernando Gaviria. The Colombian has been on superb form earlier this season.
Either a comfort break or a mechanical problem for Peter Sagan but he's back in the cars. He doesn't seem too worried though as he chats to former teammate Chris Juul Jenson. The pace is not too high right now and he's able to make it back easily.
- 79km remaining from 193km
The peloton are on bike paths at the moment and things do look very relaxed, even if they are stretched out. Swiss riders Mathias Frank and Fabian Cancellara are sharing a joke further back in the bunch as the latter has a spot of lunch.
Neither Frank or Cancellara will be to worried about today. It will all be about keeping their noses clean while they wait for the later stages of this race. For Frank, the race will begin when the mountains arrive tomorrow, while Cancellara will be looking to add the stage 8 time trial to his victory on day one.
- 73km remaining from 193km
The addition of Etixx tot he front of the bunch is really doing some damage to this escape group. Just 2:10 separates the peloton and the breakaway. They won't want to catch them too early because then they will have to waste energy chasing down more breaks. Perhaps we will see it level out for a little while now.
Leopold Konig makes his way back to his teammates near the front of the bunch after dropping back to the cars. Konig is riding his first race since February following a lingering knee injury. We spoke to him last week before he headed out to Switzerland and you can read what he had to say here.
We've yet to mention Lukas Jaun as we take a close look at those in the breakaway. Jaun, like Maison, is a first-year professional. Born in Biel, he is also the only home rider in the bunch. The Tour de Suisse is his first WorldTour-level race.
The break continues to chug along but the peloton is getting closer and closer. With 62km to the finish, they have just 1:47.
The final 25km of today's stage is a very up and down affair and while we do expect a sprint finish there is still every chance that a late attack could upset the apple cart. Etixx and Tinkoff will be doing their best to make sure that doesn't happen.
- 56km remaining from 193km
The break is losing ground with each kilometre. It's don to 1:30 with a touch over 50km to go.
Other riders that could be a threat if it comes to a bunch gallop are Michael Matthews, Danny van Poppel, Juan Jose Lobato and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg.
- 50km remaining from 193km
Rodrigo Contreras continues to put in the work on the front of the peloton for Etixx-QuickStep. He's been up there for at least 20km now with the Tinkoff team in his wheel. Contreras could be a threat later on in the race when it comes to stage wins. He was well up in the general classification at the Tour de San Luis in January before splitting his knee open in a heavy crash.
The gap dropped down to just over a minute but it has been climbing again as the peloton relax again. Peter Sagan has been chatting away with some of the Astana riders who are up alongside his Tinkoff team.
Most riders have stripped off the arm and leg warmers that they started the day in. Jaun is the only member of the escape group still wearing his. As the temperatures increase a little, he may be getting a little warm in those.
- 40km remaining from 193km
Contreras has slipped back a few positions in the bunch but he's keeping close tabs on the Tinkoff riders who are now setting the pace at the front.
The break is on a small descent and they briefly split into two groups. Maison and van der Lijke pulled out a short gap on the other two before Maison realises that they're gone. He sits up and waits for it all to come together again.
- 37km remaining from 193km
Fabian Cancellara is back in the cars and chasing back to the bunch. He stops for a chat at the Tinkoff car along the way.
- 34km remaining from 193km
Just 1:30 for the four escapees as we approach this lumpy finale.
After they put so much effort in today, Peter Sagan may find himself outnumbered in terms of teammates at the finish today. Not that this stopped him yesterday. In a straight sprint though, he will find it hard to beat the turn of pace of Gaviria.
What could trip Gaviria up, hopefully not literally, is the very tight right-hand bend in the final two hundred metres.
- 24km remaining from 193km
Jaun overcooks it on a corner and has to burn some energy chasing onto the leading group. They've got 2:10 now on the peloton.
The leaders pass through the intermediate sprint with little fanfare. They're not worried about the points, they just want to hold off the peloton.
Iljo Keisse has now taken to the front of the bunch. He's tucked down and in as aero a position as he can. This is business time for the Belgian.
- 19km remaining from 193km
The breakaway group is feeling the strain. They're just down to three riders now as Jaun drops off. He lost a lot of energy chasing back on before.
Keisse is doing some damage to the peloton and there are riders clinging onto the peloton for dear life. He's brought the gap back down to 1:36.
A big Slovakian flag on the side of the road with just under 17km to go. Sagan is a popular rider here with 13 victories at the Tour de Suisse during his career.
- 16km remaining from 193km
Jaun has been absorbed into the peloton. The remaining three breakaway riders have just 1:17 on the peloton as many more teams come forward to help.
A picture is worth a thousand words and there is some serious pain faces in that leading group. They are giving it their all but they have no answer for this chasing peloton. The gap is now under the one-minute mark with 14km to go.
- 11km remaining from 193km
The leaders hit the bottom of this final climb. It's not a particularly hard climb but it's another little leg sapper before the finale. 40 seconds now between the two groups.
Brammeier getting distanced on this on this climb and he has to dig deep to rejoin his companions. It's likely to come to nothing though as the bunch continue to shut this down.
Txurruka moves to the front to give a helping int he chase. Orica-GreenEdge have Matthews and Albasini for the sprint finish.
- 9km remaining from 193km
Brammeier just about hangs on as the leaders crest the KOM.
Cancellara gets dropped on that climb. He's possibly just saving himself for later in the week.
- 7km remaining from 193km
Just 14 seconds now for the leaders. The catch seems inevitable.
- 6km remaining from 193km
These final few kilometres are quite technical but that is not halting the momentum of the peloton. Just 10 seconds now.
There is problems for one Etixx-QuickStep riders overcooks a corner and he won't be any more help. Looks like it might be Julian Vermote.
- 5km remaining from 193km
Maison is the first to try an attack from the breakaway group.
He's only got a very small gap though as Van der Lijke catches up first and then Brammeier.
- 3km remaining from 193km
There is just a stone's throw between the two groups.
Durbridge giving it beans on the front as the peloton brings these escapees back.
Durbridge only does a small turn before peeling off and letting Etixx-QuickStep pick things up again.
Sagan is sitting on the wheel of Gaviria, who is third in the Etixx train. Lotto-Soudal are moving forward too.
- 2km remaining from 193km
Stybar setting the pace in the peloton with Vakoc in his wheel.
A big left turn as they approach the flamme rouge. This is a very small group now.
Richeze was there to lead out Gaviria but he was the one who took the win. Looks like Gaviria took second with Sagan in third.
Richeze led the sprint through the final corner and nobody could catch him. It looked like Sagan may have held up Gaviria as they came around the corner but he had possibly left that too late anyway.
That will be a big boost for Richeze who was named in the Argentina team for Rio. He has had some injury trouble this season.
Perhaps most impressive in that finish was how Danny van Poppel managed to stay on his bike. It looked like the Sky rider touched wheels with Sagan going into that final corner. He almost slipped out, his foot unclipped and he grazed the barrier but he managed to say on his two wheels.
There was a moment for van Poppel where his back wheel also rose up fairly high. He's very lucky to come away safely from that.
This is the top 10 from today's stage
1 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step 05:08:21
2 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 00:00:02
4 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEdge
7 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot - Oranje Peloton
8 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Team Roth
9 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
What a beautiful team work @Etixx_QuickStep
That was the final chance for the sprinters in this year's Tour de Suisse. We've not got four mountain stages and a time trial remaining.
Peter Sagan extended his lead in the overall classification by six seconds, although he's unlikely to hold it after tomorrow's stage.
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff Team 14:22:30
2 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:09
3 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
4 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:17
5 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:19
6 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:20
7 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:23
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 00:00:24
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:25
There are three climbs for the riders tomorrow, including two HC, and we should see the first shake out of the overall classification.
Peter Sagan on the podium to accept the leader's jersey for a second day
Results, photos and report coming in from today's stage. You can find it all here.
That is all from our live coverage today. Tune in tomorrow for stage 5.