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Rain, mountains, and a protest color Romandie stage four

New overall leader American Christopher Horner (Predictor Lotto)

New overall leader American Christopher Horner (Predictor Lotto) (Image credit: AFP)

New leader emerges

By Susan Westemeyer

Rain, mountains, and several crashes challenged racers in Saturday's fourth and Queen stage of the Tour of Romandie. From the difficult stage, emerged a new leader, American Chris Horner (Predictor Lotto).

Horner finished third on the stage, which was won by Igor Anton (Euskaltel), who out-sprinted Thomas Dekker (Rabobank). Yesterday's leader Paolo Savoldelli dropped back to fourth after he lost 16 seconds in the stage.

Dekker was not happy at the finish. He was overtaken at the last minute by Anton, and he gestured in disgust as he crossed the finish line before filing a protest that Anton had interfered with him in the sprint. The race jury turned him down.

On the other hand, Horner, the new leader, was quite happy to settle for the leader's jersey. "I always prefer to win stages, but the others wouldn't let me have both the yellow jersey and the stage win. At the finish, it was a very simple situation - if you want a slice of the pie, you can't go for the whole pie, you can't gamble as Pinotti did yesterday."

Horner doesn't see himself as a favourite in Sunday's time trial, saying, "If I had to pick someone now, I would pick Dekker. He looked incredibly strong to me today and he is an excellent time trial specialist. If I led by 30 seconds, I would be much more confident. But it's not the case and I will be happy to finish in the top five."

Before the day even started, eight riders had abandoned: Robbie McEwen, David Millar, Serhiy Honchar, Andrea Tonti, Davide Viganò, Jaime Castaneda, Julian Dean, and Fabio Sacchi.

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