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Higuita suffers through allergies to take queen stage victory at Tour de Romandie

Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins queen stage 4 at Tour de Romandie
Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins queen stage 4 at Tour de Romandie (Image credit: Getty Images)

Sergio Higuita could have been forgiven had he underperformed during this week's Tour de Romandie given that he has struggled with allergies in the opening stages. 

Despite his allergy symptoms, the Colombian Champion, who won the overall title at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in March, proved strongest in Romandie's queen stage 4 when he sprinted to the victory from a select group on the summit finish of Zinal.

"This stage win means a lot to me because I was really suffering out there. During the race I didn't feel so good due to allergies but in the finale I realised that I was stronger than the others and 200m before the finish I just went full gas. We knew we could take a win here and now it’s finally happened," Higuita said in a post-race interview.

Despite six categorized ascents throughout the 180.1km stage between Aigle and the summit of Zinal, a group of about 15 riders were still together at the finish, including Higuita and his Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Alexsandr Vlasov, and overall race leader Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma).

Higuita started his sprint first and his teammate Vlasov latched onto his wheel. They sprinted head-to-head with Higuita throwing his bike over the line first as Vlasov threw his arms in the air to celebrate the Bora-Hansgrohe 1-2 finish in Zinal.

"I am also happy that Aleks rode really well today and was able to take second. I think he will put in a strong performance tomorrow in the time trial and I hope we can get a good result overall with him" Higuita said.

Bora-Hansgrohe's sports director Rolf Aldag, acknowledged Higuita's struggle with allergies and said he believed the stage 4 win took some pressure off the Colombian as the race comes to an end on Sunday.

"This was a great performance by Sergio and Aleks. One and two on the queen stage is a smart team performance, and the whole team really contributed to this today. In the last couple of days Sergio had problems with allergies, and I think this win took a weight off his shoulders. That was really nice to see. Also how Aleks was truly happy for his teammate’s victory," Aldag said.

Dennis currently leads the overall classification by 15 seconds ahead of runner-up overall Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) while Vlasov sits in third place at 18 second back going into the finale stage 5, a 15.84km time trial from Aigle to Villars on Sunday.

"Now we’re look ahead to the individual time trial. For Aleks there is still a lot in it in terms of the overall classification and we will be focusing on that tomorrow. But we'll also enjoy a good sip of Terre di Ger tonight!" Aldag said.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.