Live coverage of stage four of the Tour de Suisse from Heiden to Ossingen.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's action.
The 160km stage is from Heiden to Ossingen, the home town of Ferdy Kübler, who won the Tour de Suisse in 1942, 1948 and 1951.
The stage is a rare chance for the sprinters in this year's race, so we are likely to see Mark Cavendish (OPQS) in action, against stage 3 winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
The stage starts near Lake Constance and follows the southern shore of the long lake. It heads in land at Kreuzlkingen and heads to Aadorf and Winterthur before two 28km loops around Ossingen.
The riders have covered an 8km neutralised section and the racing is about to begin.
Other sprinters keen to impress and win the sprint today are Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). No doubt the Belkin riders will be looking ot win too after the said news that the US sponsor has decided to end its backing after just 18 months. It seems Belkin had an option to quit its sponsorship at the end of 2014 and took it, leaving the team, riders and staff without backing.
147km remaining from 160km
The riders have covered 13km of the stage so far but there is no real breakaway attempt as yet.
From the Cyclingnews blimp we can Lake Constance and the weather is warm with only a few clouds in the sky.
After 20km of racing, there are two riders going clear of the peloton, which is lined-out as the chase begins.
Laurens De Vreese (Wanty- Groupe Gobert) was the first attack and he was soon joined by Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN by Qhubeka).
They have quickly opened a 3:00 lead on the peloton.
Sadly Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) has been forced to retire and is on his way to hospital after crashing in the neutralised section. Other riders also went down but they seem to have got back up and continued in the 160km stage.
Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling) became a father during yesterday's stage, with his partner giving birth to a baby girl. However Frank has chosen to remain in the race and is currently the best placed Swiss rider and so wears the special white and blue jersey.
The sprinters' teams are carefully controlling the two riders up front. Their gap remains at just over three minutes.
105km remaining from 160km
The duo up front has extended their lead slightly to 3:40.
Today could be another day for Peter Sagan, with the little uphill finish. Yesterday he took his ninth Tour de Suisse victory, saying that it was a huge confidence boost for him after missing out the day before. You can read what he had to say here.
99km remaining from 160km
The gap has eeked out a little more. The peloton aren't in a rush to bring them back, unlike yesterday. The two leaders have an advantage of 3:57.
If you missed it, the big news today is that Belkin have pulled the plug on their sponsorship. The team are now searching for new sponsors for 2015. Belkin rider Bauke Mollema is currently sitting in fourth in the general classification. We spoke to his teammate Sep Vanmarcke ahead of the stage, who said he was totally surprised by the news.
89km remaining from 160km
The peloton have woken up and the pace has increased and the two escapees are being reeled back in. Their advantage has been cut down by a minute in the last 10km. It is now 2:57.
Today's stage finishes with two loops around Ossingen, taking a fourth category climb each time. Each ascent gives the sprinters and their teams a chance to get rid of their rivals.
After losing a minute of their advantage pretty quickly, the two leaders have managed to stem the tide a little. However, the peloton are still chasing hard and the gap continues to come down. Their advantage stands at 2:50 now.
70km remaining from 160km
As the peloton pass through the feed zone, the gap has dropped once again to 2:30. We've passed the halfway point in this stage.
65km remaining from 160km
The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team continues to lead the chase of the break. Velits is leading the peloton.
The riders will begin the two 28km circuits of Ossingen very soon. Each loop includes a Cat 4 climb in Mett Oberschlatt.
OPQS is riding for Cavendish for the sprint but also to protect Tony Martin's overall race lead.
Giant-Shimano is also helping OPQS in the chase. The peloton has the break under control.
The riders will get a look at the finish area for a first time. It'll give the teams and sprinters vital info on what to expected in 55km or so.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has made a rare visit to the front of the race. He lost more than two minutes yesterday and any chance of overall success.
The riders have discovered how the road rises into a headwind in the final two kilometres.
That will make it difficult for late attacks but also for lead out trains.
The riders turn a fast right with 500m to go, with a curving finish straight.
The Katusha team is also helping the chase, for Alexander Kristoff.
The peloton crosses the finish line with 55km to go, 2:30 down on the break.
48km remaining from 160km
The peloton is bringing down the gap. It is 2:00 now.
Matthias Frank (IAM Cycling) waves to the camera to say hello to his partner and new baby daughter Laura, who was born suddenly yesterday.
Belgium's Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) bruised his left elbow and left knee in the crash earlier today. He is out of the race.
The peloton is lined out in the country roads after the descent. This is going to be a fast finish.
It seems Chris Anker Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo was also another crash victim in the neutralised spill. His elbows are covered in bandages.
Today's stage is packed with traditional Swiss views of swollen rivers, local architecture and cows munching on the sweet meadow grass.
The peloton has eased slightly as the gap falls to 1:15. They do not want to catch them too early.
The two breakaways get a huge cheer as they pass the finish.
Crash! Wiggins goes down at the back of the peloton with a rider from CCC Polsat.
The CCC rider is up but in pain. Wiggins is still sat in the road.
26km remaining from 160km
He gets up and looks set to carry on. He is pushed off and begins to ride. He is in pain.
Wiggins takes a bottle, seemingly happy to ride gradually to the finish.
The gap is less than a minute, with several teams spread across the road.
Who is your pick for the sprint today?
It seems like a showdown between Cavendish, Degenkolb and Sagan.
Orica-GreenEdge is also moving their train to the front. They have Matt Goss in their roster and he is desperate to win and prove himself before the Tour de France.
The peloton can see the two breakaway riders.
Laurens De Vreese (Wanty- Groupe Gobert) and Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN by Qhubeka) bravely tried to stay away but they're looking back and are about to be caught.
OPQS is again leading the chase, with Cannondale sat behind them.
The two make to the mountain prime and De Vreese has gone solo, to try and stay clear a little longer.
However Teklehaimanot closes the gap on the fast descent.
10km remaining from 160km
As if by (Swiss) clockwork, the peloton catches the attackers with 10km to go.
We now have three teams leading the peloton acros the road: OPQS, Giant-Shimano and Tinkoff-Saxo.
A BMC rider uses the footpath to move to the front.
Ossingen is the birth place of Ferdy Kübler, who won the Tour de Suisse in 1942, 1948 and 1951. The rider have passed the house were he was born.
The peloton splits around some road furniture. This could be a high-speed finale because no one teams wants to pick it up for now.
Russian champion Vladimir Isiachev (Katusha) makes a lone move but he's not going away.
5km remaining from 160km
Tinkoff-Saxo has five riders on the front. Do they really think they can boss they sprint?
Indeed Tinkoff has six riders upfront, with Danish champion Michael Morkov in his red jersey.
Riders are falling out of the back of the bunch.
Trek and Cancellara are also trying to take over. Sky is also there.
2km remaining from 160km
Sky is riding for Ben Swift.
OPQS is punching it up the right side of the road into the head wind.
Boonen is leading the peloton, doing a big turn.
1km remaining from 160km
Cavendish is well placed with Giant leading it out.
Sagan is fighting for Cavendish's wheel.
The Manx missile let his rivals start their sprint and then matched them and beat them on the slightly rising road.
Cavendish seemed to have a second kick and distanced his rivals.
Modolo (Lampre-Merida) jumped first on the leftand Sagan went on the right but Cavendish held his own and then opened up his own speed.
Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) came up late to take second, with Sagan taking third and Modolo fourth.
That victory will be a huge boost to Cavendish's confidence for the Tour de France. His big sprint rival Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) has yet to race since quitting the Giro d'Italia in early May.
Cavendish won by three bike lengths.
Tony Martin (OPQS) finished safely in the peloton and so retained the overall race lead.
Cavendish waves to the crowd on the podium and gets a chunk of Emmental cheese as a prize.
Thanks for joining us for live coverage of stage four.
Join us tomorrow for live, blow by blow coverage of stage five.
We'll have a full stage report and photo gallery of all the action on Cyclingnews very soon.
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