Loaning out the yellow jersey for a day to Michael Matthews, BMC Racing took back control of the general classification at the Tour de Suisse with Damiano Caruso moving into the race lead after stage 4. The Italian joins Rohan Dennis and Stefan Kung in leading the race in 2017 and sits 15 seconds clear of Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Second, on the first hilltop finish of the race to Villars-sur-Ollon, Caruso jumped from fourth to first as several of his GC rivals suffered and lost time. The yellow jersey is the second WorldTour leader's jersey of 2017 for Caruso who enjoyed a stint in blue at Tirreno-Adriatico.
"It feels really nice to have the yellow jersey. It was so hot today and after a really hard day of racing like that, it feels incredible to wear this jersey," said Caruso. "My BMC Racing Team teammates were really amazing. They were around me all day and protected me. Tejay van Garderen was especially strong on the last climb and other guys were able to put me in the right position at the key moments."
Since joining BMC in 2015, Caruso has largely ridden as a domestique for the team's Grand Tour leaders although he impressed with eighth place overall at the 2015 Giro. At next month's Tour de France, the 29-year-old will be riding in support of Richie Porte and explained he is first aiming to make the most of his personal opportunities in Switzerland.
"On the last climb, I tried to follow the best riders and in the end, I surprised myself because I was able to take second place and the bonus seconds. I am really happy about this and I will enjoy this jersey and see what happens over the next few days," he added. "Tomorrow is a long stage and the goal will be to keep safe and keep the jersey. After that we will see what happens."
The team's sports director Jackson Stewart echoed Caruso's praise of van Garderen and the team's effort to regain the yellow jersey.
"It was a great stage. We didn't have to do too much work as we didn't have the responsibility of the leader's jersey. We let some of the other teams do the early work, and we brought Damiano Caruso safely into the climb," Stewart said. "The guys did an amazing job as usual and Tejay van Garderen finished it off to keep it together for him. It was great to see Damiano take the jersey and show that he is one of the strongest guys here."
Stewart added that the influence of Swiss trio Michael Schar, Martin Elmiger and Stefan Kung has been crucial thus far in the race and believes the team is ready to defend the yellow jersey.
"We are a really good team, and today you could see that we are one of the strongest teams here. It is always nice to see everyone working together, and it is always nice to have the Swiss guys here. They have an extra level of motivation, but they also know the roads and this extra level of knowledge is good to have," he added.
"It is really good team atmosphere and having the jersey every other day gives us a great morale as we look ahead to the rest of the week."
The fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse takes the peloton from Bex to Cevio over 222km with a finish expected to suit a bunch sprint. The 2005 metre Simplonpass half way through the stage could force a selection for the stage but is unlikely to shake up the GC. Stage 7 to La Punt is expected to see the next major change on the GC.
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