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Tour de Romandie 2017: Stage 4

Good afternoon to you all. Stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie is already under way.

The talk this morning should have been about Elia Viviani's victory yesterday and the potential GC battle to come in today's mountainous stage. However, it is Gianni Moscon that has been the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons after he racially abused FDJ's Kevin Reza during yesterday's stage. Read the full story here

 

While there is a big cloud over Moscon, the rest of the peloton is enjoying beautiful sunshine out there. A nice change from the rain and snow of the opening stages. 

 

It has been a very fast start to the day and after 10 kilometres it's single file in the peloton. A number of riders have tried to get away but they have not been allowed just yet. 

 

In other racing news, Lizzie Deignan continues Boels Dolmans run of form with victory at the Women's Tour de Yorkshire. A big moment for the Yorkshire-born rider. 

 

It's still all together for the peloton as riders keep trying their hand at a breakaway. It's a tough start to the stage and there will be much more climbing to come later in the stage. 

 

 

Today is going to be key for the general classification, so here is a reminder of how things stand at the moment. 

 

1 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 12:40:24
2 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:08
3 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:00:09
5 Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:12
6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
7 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:13
8 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott 0:00:14
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar Team

 

#TDR2017 Multiple attacks within the first 25 km but it's still all together. The team is very attentive near th… https://t.co/xfqFsL0T8z

@TeamDiData Sat, 29th Apr 2017 11:45:56

As the attacks keep coming, take a moment to look at the brief results and report from today's Women's Tour de Yorkshire. We will have full results and photos from the race as soon as possible. 

 

It looks like there might just be a break going up the road. Eight riders have got a gap on the bunch right now. They are: Clarke, Kochetkov, Van der Sande, Armee, De Gendt, Cherel, Reguigui and Pasqualon

 

After 32 kilometres of racing, the eight out front have a gap of 2:15 on the bunch. And breathe. That was a mighty fast opening stretch in today's stage. 

 

Just to confirm that is Simon Clarke in the breakaway for Cannondale rather than his teammate William Clarke. 

 

A good effort from Lotto Soudal to get three riders into the break. They have been very active during this year's race and De Gandt and Armee have already been in a break already. On this sort of parcours, De Gendt could be a real threat for the stage win, if the peloton allow this to go to the finish. This is also an opportunity for Armee to secure the mountains classification jersey. 

 

Tosh Van der Sande is the biggest threat to the overall classification. The Lotto Soudal rider is only 37 seconds down in the general classification and with the gap now three minutes he is the race leader out there on the road. With Van der Sande in the group, the breakaway's chance of making this work is slim so it will be interesting to see if they try to drop him at some stage. 

 

News coming in that Antwan Tolhoek has abandoned the race. According to the team it is his birthday, but I don't think that he's off to a surprise party. 

 

The leaders have crested the top of the uncategorised climb through Zumholz. Their advantage continues to rise and now stands at 3:40.

 

Trek-Segafredo have held the Romandie race lead right from the stage. Fabio Felline leads the way, but Jarlinson Pantano is not too far behind. Pantano says that they will be going flat out in the finale of today's stage. 

 

50km into the day and the gap between the peloton and the leaders has leveled out as Team Sky move to the front. 3:27 is the latest time check for the escapees. 

 

The Jaunpass is the first classified ascent of the day and peaks out at 94.7km, so the leaders still have a little under 40km until they make it to the top of that climb. A reminder of what the mountains classification looks like right now. 

 

1 Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 39 pts
2 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 24
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 16
4 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 15
5 Mekseb Debesay (Eri) Dimension Data 13
6 David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ 12
7 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 10
8 Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert 9
9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 8
10 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 8

 

At Cyclingnews, we have been counting down to the Giro d'Italia next week with a series of features. Today's feature is on Adam Yates, whose brother Simon is racing today at the Tour de Romandie. Adam Yates will be the sole leader for Orica-Scott after Simon was put into the Tour de France squad late on. Read our interview with him here

 

Buena foto del precioso paisaje #TDR2017 ( @IjackieChanraiz). 8 en fuga, 3'30". km 55. ¡En #lavueltina marcha… https://t.co/wl2zJQ3bdR

@Movistar_Team Sat, 29th Apr 2017 12:34:03

While there is sunshine above, it's not that warm out on the route with temperatures in the single figures. No surprise that there are plenty of arm and leg warmers about. Here's a view of the breakaway from the Dimension Data car. 

 

 

Dimension Data, of course, has Roucef Reguigui in the breakaway today. Reguigui is more of a sprinter/classics style rider - he finished sixth yesterday - and he's going to struggle when this starts to get really mountainous. He may be able to provide some help to his teammates if any of them chose to attack from behind. 

 

The gap is still edging out for the eight escapees. They've got close to four minutes now. 

 

The leaders are fast approaching the Jaunpass. It's a 16.8km ascent that averages 3.7 per cent and peaks at 9.1 per cent. 

 

A lovely shot of the breakaway from the organisers. The roads flanked by snow as the eight riders maintain their 3:42 gap. 

 

Team Sky are still doing some work on the front of the bunch. Their leader Chris Froome lost some vital time in the opening stage and he will have to take the GC by the scruff today if he wants to set himself up for the overall victory. Team Sky is expected to race aggressively and could use riders such as Vasil Kiryienka on the Jaunpass to break the race apart. 

 

Report from Daniel Benson at the finish, who says that there are blue skies at the finish. There's a small breeze and it's a whopping 14 degrees up there too. Almost tropical.

 

After 85km of racing, the gap now stands at 4:15 for the eight escapees. Van der Sande the virtual race leader by well over three minutes at this point. It's unlikely they will stay away but you just never know. 

 

#TDR2017 The break with @ReguiguiYoucef takes on the first categorized climb of the day, Jaunpass (5.9 km / avg. 8.3 %) - Gap of 4:15 min

@TeamDiData Sat, 29th Apr 2017 13:19:00

It's not just the Tour de Romandie this weekend. The men's peloton is also racing at the Tour de Yorkshire. Dylan Groenewegen won the stage ahead of Caleb Ewan but a massive pile-up just before the line resulted in three riders abandoning with broken collarbones. Magnus Cort, Russ Downing and Marco Haller all had to pay trips to the hospital yesterday evening. Read the full story here

 

As expected, Reguigui is the first rider to get dropped from the breakaway group as they tackle the Jaunpass. It was always going to be a bit of a challenge for the sprinter to keep up on the steep ramps. 

 

The second abandon of today has been confirmed. Lukas Postlberger of Bora-Hansgrohe has climbed off. 

 

#TDR2017 the last 2 big climbs are the critical ones, starting at 26kms to go. @jarlinsonpantan and @FabioFelline w… https://t.co/9iWJc6Jpjw

@TrekSegafredo Sat, 29th Apr 2017 13:32:04

It's down from the original eight to just five riders in the breakaway. The riders left up front are Clarke, Kochetkov, Van der Sande, Armee and Cherel. 

 

Armee is first over the Jaunpass, unsurprisingly, and takes 12 points to add to his tally. Simon Clarke is next over with Cherel in third. 

 

With 60km to go, the gap has fallen to 2:20 as Guillaume Martin attacks from the peloton.

 

There is no rest for the wicked and the second category Saanenmöser is next on the menu for the riders. 

 

There is a group of 10 chasers now 2:36 behind the leaders with the peloton at 3:12 behind. We'll bring you the names of all the chasers once we have them. 

 

De Gendt has now been dropped from the chasing group and he'll be making his way back to the peloton. The riders left in this chasing group are Winner Anacona, David de la Cruz, Michael Albasini, Alexis Vuillermoz, Diego Ulissi, and Tanel Kangert. So that's a very strong group of six bridging across. 

 

At present, the five leaders hold a 2:13 advantage over the six chasers, who are in turn 43 seconds ahead of the peloton. 

 

The peloton isn't allowing this chase group have too much of an advantage. There are some very strong climbers in there and with Albasini and Ulissi up there and just 14 seconds back in the overall classification Trek-Segafredo is wise to this. De La Cruz, Anacona, Vuillermoz and Kangert are all within 30 seconds of the race lead too.

 

We have more on the incident between Moscon and Reza during yesterday's stage. Team Sky DS Nicolas Portal wouldn't reveal what Moscon said but did say that it was serious and he would be punished after the stage. He is, however, behind allowed to continue the race. Read what Portal said here and you can find the original story here. 

 

36km remaining from 163km

Trek-Segafredo has start pushing the pace on the front of the bunch. They have had their hand forced by this chase group going up the road. There are 30 seconds between the peloton and the chase group. The leaders are still 2:44 up the road. 

 

28km remaining from 163km

Albasini has been dropped from the chase group which is now only 11 seconds up the road from the peloton. The five leaders still hold a two-minute advantage over the chasers. 

 

Albasini is still pushing on despite the peloton visible behind him. He's not ready to give this up just yet. 

 

Albasini has finally been brought back as the riders begin to tackle the third classified climb of the day Col du Pillon. 

 

24km remaining from 163km

A small crash at the back of the bunch takes out a couple of Sunweb riders, including Wilco Kelderman. He is chasing back onto the bunch now. 

 

The gap is now just 1:50, after going up to over four minutes at one stage. This is where the real hard work starts. More GC teams moving towards the front including BMC, who are working for Richie Porte. 

 

Sander Armee is likely to take the points at the top of this climb, if things continue as they are. If he does take the points then he will secure the victory in the mountains classification. All he will have to do is finish tomorrow's stage. 

 

Michael Schar is doing the work on the front for BMC and he's got a train of four Team Sky riders on his wheel, with Froome the fourth of those. The rest of the BMC squad is sitting just behind Team Sky. 

 

It is plitting up at the front as Cherel strikes out. Armee is chasing but it is very laboured. He's got Kochetkov in his wheel as Van der Sande and Clarke struggle a bit further behind. 

 

Zakarin is now having a go off the front of the bunch. The leaders are just 1:30 up the road so there's everything to play for right now. 

 

19km remaining from 163km

Froome brings Zakarin back, with Porte in his wheel. Orica-Scott make a move and Froome is quick to shut that down, although it looks like it was just a move to get a fresh bidon. 

 

Now this is a proper attack from Orica in the form of Simon Yates. He's got a small gap on the peloton, who seem happy to let him go for now. 

 

Up front Cherel is still plugging on alone as he passes through the KOM point. Armee takes second and secures the mountain points. Cherel has just 53 seconds on the peloton. 

 

Yates is mopping up some of the dropped riders and he sweeps past Van der Sande. There is a couple of Bora-Hansgrohe riders close behind him. 

 

Sad news from the US, and Axeon rider Chad Young has succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a horrible crash at the Tour of the Gila last week. Cyclingnews extends its condolences to his friends and family. 

 

Simon Yates again very brave. Sadly, the peloton is still very big and can organize a chase. #TDR2017

@faustocoppi60 Sat, 29th Apr 2017 14:55:32

Yates is really taking risks on this descent and he's just 28 seconds behind Cherel. 

 

10km remaining from 163km

The peloton is still a minute behind and Cerel is holding the advantage for now. His biggest threat is this Yates chase group. 

 

Cherel has finally been brought back by the chase group with 8km to go. 

 

5km remaining from 163km

Simon Clarke struggling now as the rider hit the final climb. Kochetkov also dangling at the back. They've both been out since the beginning of today's stage. 

 

Bahrain-Merida and Trek speed into this final climb. The peloton is in bits already. 

 

BMC and FDj also have a presence here. No sign of Team Sky just yet. 

 

Chris Froome is at the back of the peloton and he looks like he's in trouble at the moment. 

 

No panic from Froome just yet. He sets his own pace as he tries to bring the peloton back. Up front, his former teammate Porte has gone on the attack. 

 

4km remaining from 163km

Froome has two teammates and Carlos Betancur for company right now. The gap is getting bigger. 

 

Porte is 33 seconds down in the overall classification after losing time on day one. This is all about breaking the yellow jersey of Felline, who is still inside the peloton. 

 

There are riders all over the mountain right now. Porte is mopping up the stragglers up front. Could this be his day? He's looking good right now. 

 

There are just three riders in that leading group with Yates, Buchmann and Anass Ait El Abdia.

 

Impressive by Porte as he latches onto that leading group of three. Simon Yates' heart will have sunk when he saw Porte draw up to them. 

 

Froome now alone further down the mountain as he continues his chase. This looks like damage limitation for the moment. No news on where he is in comparison to Porte or the yellow jersey of Felline. 

 

Porte looks at Yates, who is the only rider left with him, as if to ask if he can work. Yates shakes his head and Porte continues to set the pace. 

 

Yates now pulls onto the front to lend a hand. They've got 22 seconds on the peloton according to the official timing. 

 

Porte and Yates are still working well together as they pass under the flamme rouge. 

 

It's a chess game now. Who will make their move first?

 

Porte goes

 

Yates is quick to his wheel and Porte continues to drive. 

 

Yates sprints around Porte to take the victory with Porte in second place. 

 

Buchmann comes over for third place and a good effort from Van Garderen to take fourth. No Froome yet. 

 

Froome crosses the line just over a minute down on Yates and Porte. 

 

Confirmation in that Simon Yates is the new race leader with a 19-second lead over Porte. Buchmann is third and Felline has dropped to fourth. 

 

This is how it finished today

 

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 04:10:03
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:30
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 00:00:43
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac 00:00:52
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
7 Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
9 Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott
10 David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ
 

 

And this is what the new-look general classification looks like. 

 

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 16:50:35
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:00:19
3 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:38
4 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:44
5 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 00:00:53
6 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida 00:00:56
7 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 00:00:58
9 Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-Scott 00:00:59
10 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
 

 

Great rides from both Yates and Porte, both knew they needed to strike out early if they wanted to make up the time they lost early on. Yates took it up particularly early by going on the penultimate climb. 

 

This was the moment that Simon Yates made his move. 

 

Of course, it's not all over. There's the time trial tomorrow where a rider with Richie Porte's skillset should be able to overhaul 19 seconds. Chris Froome, despite his talents, will have a big challenge in making up the 1:36 that he needs for the victory. 

 

It will be interesting to hear what Chris Froome has to say about that stage because his team did so much work early on but just as they were about to hit that final climb they disappeared from sight. Was it a case of un jour sans or is it something else?

Meanwhile, Nacer Bouhanni has just taken a sprint victory at the Tour de Yorkshire. The Frenchman went from a long way out and took the win by a long way. 

 

We've got lots of pictures and we're about to load the full results from today's stage of the Tour de Romandie. Check it all out here

 

Read up on what happened in Yorkshire here

 

Today's winning shot

 

That is it from us today for stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie. You can find full results from today's stage here and we will have live coverage of the final stage tomorrow. 

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