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Tour de Suisse 2018: Stage 4

183km remaining from 189km

As we pick up the action in the opening kilometres, a group of six riders has established a lead of two minutes over the peloton. Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton – Scott), Silvan Dillier, Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Nathan Brown (EF-Drapac), Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) and Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie) escaped shortly after the flag dropped, and they appear to have been granted their freedom.

 

Sho Hatsuyama (Nippo-Vini Fantini) was part of their number after bridging across with Nathan Brown, but the Japanese rider has since been distanced, and is caught in the no man's land between the break and the bunch.

 

Hatsuyama has now been caught by the peloton, as gentle rain begins to fall over the race. 

 

176km remaining from 189km

The break's lead extends to five minutes. Swiss champion Silvan Dillier was the best-placed rider on GC this morning, (46th at 1:23), and he is thus the virtual race leader at this point.

 

The general classification was as follows ahead of stage 4:

 

1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 8:50:15
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:16
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:23
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:30
10 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
11 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
12 Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:32
13 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:00:33
14 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:36
15 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
16 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team
17 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:39
18 Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Merida
19 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
20 Arthur Vichot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:48

 

Today's stage features an early category 3 climb to Staffelegg, but the day's chief difficulty is the category 2 haul over the Saanemmoeser, the summit of which comes just 10km from the finish in Gstaad.

 

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) claimed a fine victory on yesterday's stage, opening his sprint from 300 metres to go and then holding off both Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan. “For me, this win is very important. It gives me morale ahead of my next big appointment, the Tour de France. Beating sprinters like Sagan and Gaviria gives me morale, and I’m happy because it shows I’m on the right track,” he said afterwards. Read the full story here.

 

168km remaining from 189km

The six escapees are on the day's first climb, the Staffelegg (2.1km at 6.1%), and their lead over the peloton has risen slightly to 5:25.

 

164km remaining from 189km

Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie) led the break over the top of the Staffelegg to pick up 3 points in the mountains classification, which is currently being led by Filippo Zaccanti (Nippo-Vini Fantini). Christian and Dillier were second and third at the summit.

 

161km remaining from 189km

Amid driving rain, the escapees have extended their buffer to 6 minutes over the peloton with a shade over 100 miles still to race.

 

Already triumphant on stage 2, Peter Sagan was looking to add to his running tally of 16 Tour de Suisse stage wins yesterday, but he was unable to overhaul Colbrelli in the final sprint. The world champion had previously accelerated on the final climb before relenting. "I tried on the climb but then I saw that there were a lot of riders with me in the group, so I went for the sprint," Sagan said."It wasn't the plan to go on the climb; I never plan. It was already at the top of the climb when I went and there were a lot of riders on my wheel, so I decided to stop." Read the full story here.

 

154km remaining from 189km

The escapees Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton – Scott), Silvan Dillier, Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Nathan Brown (EF-Drapac), Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) and Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie) have covered a little over 38km in the first hour of racing, and their margin over the peloton now stands at 6:15.

 

European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) was among the last riders dropped on the final climb of yesterday's stage, thus missing out on the opportunity to sprint for the win. His big objective in Switzerland, of course, is to prepare for the Tour de France. “Overall I’m feeling OK," Kristoff said after stage 3. "Today it was a reduced pack but I was able to survive. I still need to improve a bit more because I want to be fighting for the win. It’s hard to say where I am with form. I think that with the power I’m going well, but I’m still a bit too heavy. I think that if I can lose two kilos and keep the same power, then I can be at my best." Read more here.

 

142km remaining from 189km

Dilier, Peters, Brown, Juul-Jensen, Christian and Ourselin continue to collaborate well at the head of the race. Their lead has been oscillating between 6:15 and 6:25 over the last 10 kilometres or so.

 

Two of Movistar's Tour de France triumvirate are in action at the Tour de Suisse, with Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana both fine-tuning their preparation for July. Landa told Cyclingnews yesterday that there is no internal competition for leadership of Movistar at the Tour at this juncture. "We're getting to know each other, and doing some races in order to learn to work together," Landa said. "At this race, Nairo and I are both leaders, but Andrey Amador is also looking good. We’re also thinking a lot about July." Read more here.

 

124km remaining from 189km

The six escapees have extended their buffer to 6:36 on the long valley road through Roggwil. For the time being, there is no particular urgency in the main peloton. The day is long, the rain is steady and there is still the ascent of Saanenmöserstrasse to come in the finale.

120km remaining from 189km

The rain abates and the gap to the bunch tightens slightly. 6:08 the buffer for Dillier and company.

 

Away from the Tour de Suisse, Ian Boswell is hopeful that he will make the cut for Katusha-Alpecin's Tour de France team after a fine showing at last week's Criterium du Dauphine. Patrick Fletcher has more here.

 

104km remaining from 189km

As yet, BMC have found no allies of circumstance willing to pace the peloton, but as the stage draws on, we can expect some teams to put their shoulders to the wheel in a bid to haul back the break. Yesterday, Bora-Hansgrohe were especially prominent in support of Peter Sagan inside the final 50 kilometres of racing.

 

100km remaining from 189km

Into the final 100 kiometres for the six leaders, who approach the feed zone in Oberburg with a buffer of 6 minutes on the bunch.

 

Lizzie Deignan has weighed in on the Chris Froome salbutamol case, telling the 'When Orla met’ podcast that she believes the Team Sky rider "hasn’t had a fair process" as news of his salbutamol positive was leaked into the public domain last December. Deignan was, of course, was represented by Froome's lawyer Mike Morgan when she successfully appealed to CAS about her three whereabouts failings in the run-up to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Read more here.

 

82km remaining from 189km

Christopher Juul-Jensen was part of the strong Mitchelton-Scott line-up at the Giro d'Italia, and the Dane showed few signs of fatigue from the corsa rosa when he went on the offensive in the finale yesterday's stage, bridging across to the early break. He has contributed solidly to the day's break here, and their lead remains above 6 minutes.

 

75km remaining from 189km

Quick-Step Floors have now begun to contribute at the head of the peloton, and the pace has risen accordingly. The break's lead drops to 5:30.

 

71km remaining from 189km

Bora-Hansgrohe join the pace-making effort at the front of the peloton, and another chunk of the break's lead is worked loose. The gap drops to 5 minutes.

 

64km remaining from 189km

The pace continues to ratchet upwards in the peloton, and the gap continues to narrow. Juul-Jensen, Peters, Dillier, Brown, Christian and Ourselin's advantage is down to 4:27 as they grind their way towards a rainsoaked Uetendorf.

 

59km remaining from 189km

Quick-Step, Dimension Data and Bora-Hansgrohe are all helping BMC to keep the break's lead under control on what is an increasingly miserable afternoon in the Canton of Bern. The horizon is a grim sheet of grey as rain continues to fall over the race.

 

56km remaining from 189km

Peters leads the brek through the intermediate sprint at Amsoldingen with a buffer of 4:11 over the peloton.

 

Silvan Dillier is in the long list for AG2R La Mondiale's Tour de France team, where, together with Oliver Naesen, he could play a key role in guiding Romain Bardet through the fraught opening week and, in particular, stage 9 over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Dillier, of course, placed a fine second at Paris-Roubaix in April, out-sprinted only by Peter Sagan, who bridged up to him with 53km to go. "With Peter, I would say he's like an angel and a devil in the same person," Dillier said that evening. "An angel because he worked with me very well; a devil, because if you go with him in a man-to-man sprint for the finish line, he's hard to beat."

 

It remains to be seen how many of the fast men will survive the one remaining climb, the category 2 Saanenmöser, which goes up for 7.2km at an average gradient of 4.6%. The summit is a little under 10km from the finish.

 

50km remaining from 189km

A reminder of the situation with 50km remaining: Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton – Scott), Silvan Dillier, Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Nathan Brown (EF-Drapac), Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) and Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie) have a lead of 4:15 over the peloton, where BMC, Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe and Dimension Data all seem increasingly eager to peg the move back.

 

44km remaining from 189km

The break makes its way through the majestic Simmental valley, which is shrouded in low cloud. Their advantage is gently deflating, and now stands at 3:45.

 

42km remaining from 189km

Maciej Bodnar put in a fine shift to help peg back the break yesterday, and the Bora-Hansgrohe rider is performing a similar task this afternoon at the head of the bunch.

 

38km remaining from 189km

The escapees remain committed to the cause, but the bunch is steadily chipping away at their advantage, which has now dropped to 3:34.

 

34km remaining from 189km

The break is a little over 17km from the base of the category 2 haul of Saanenmöserstrasse, where we can expect fireworks from the front of the main peloton.

 

A crash at the rear of the peloton sees a number of riders come down. The bunch was crossing a level crossing, and the rain-soaked rail track appears to have triggered the crash.

 

31km remaining from 189km

Peters puts in a long turn on the front of the break, which retains a lead of 3 minutes over the peloton.

 

30km remaining from 189km

Juraj Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) comes to the front of the peloton and joins Bodnar in his chase effort.

 

28km remaining from 189km

The break approaches Boltigen with their lead dropping all the while. 2:44 the gap as Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe hold the reins behind.

 

25km remaining from 189km

Yellow jersey Stefan Kung is well placed amid a phalanx of BMC jerseys towards the front of the peloton, which is now 2:22 behind the break. Dillier remains the virtual leader, but the gap is gradually yawning shut.

 

22km remaining from 189km

Iljo Keisse sits on the front for Quick-Step and slices another few seconds off the break's lead. 2:07 the gap.

 

A delegation from Sunweb is also moving up in the peloton, with the aim of keeping Wilco Kelderman out of trouble - and keeping Michael Matthews in contention for the stage win this afternoon.

 

20km remaining from 189km

Into the final 20km for the six leaders, whose advantage over the bunch has dropped inside two minutes for the first time.

 

17km remaining from 189km

Christian leads the break through the second intermediate sprint at Zweisimmen with a lead of 1:33 over the peloton. They are about to begin the ascent of the Saanenmöser (7.2km at 4,6%).

 

16km remaining from 189km

The peloton hits the lower slopes of the climb with a  deficit of 1:17 to the six escapees.

 

15km remaining from 189km

Nathan Brown (EF-Drapac) attacks from the break and the group immediately splinters. The AG2R La Mondiale duo of Peters and Dillier give chase.

 

Dillier and Peters bridge up to Brown at the head of the race. Juul-Jensen and Christian are trying to get back on terms.

 

14km remaining from 189km

Five riders remain at the front of the race: Brown, Dillier, Peters, Juul-Jensen and Ourselin. They have 1:04 on the peloton.

 

13km remaining from 189km

Peters attacks and Juul-Jensen tracks the move. Ourselin, Dillier and Brown follow at a distance.

 

13km remaining from 189km

Back in the main peloton, Soren Kragh Andersen hits the front for Sunweb and strings things out in support of Michael Matthews.

 

Juul-Jensen and Peters have established a gap over Brown, Ourselin and Dillier at the front of the race. This leading duo are collaborating well. They have 50 seconds in hand on the peloton.

 

12km remaining from 189km

Sunweb lay down the terms and conditions in the peloton, and some riders are paying a price for this pace at the rear, including Fabien Grellier, the most aggressive rider on yesterday's stage.

 

12km remaining from 189km

Correction, it is Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) who is with Brown and Dillier in the second group on the road, 15 seconds behind Peters and Juul-Jensen. The peloton is at 39 seconds.

 

11km remaining from 189km

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), Simon Gerrans (BMC) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) are among the riders who have been dropped from the peloton on this climb.

 

11km remaining from 189km

Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) and Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott_) have 18 seconds on Dillier, Brown and Christian, and 33 seconds on the bunch.

 

10km remaining from 189km

Lilian Calmejane tries to escape from the peloton, but the speed is too high and he can't open a gap. Enrico Gasparotto takes over at the front for Bahrain-Merida.

 

10km remaining from 189km

Peters attacks near the top of the climb in a bid to rid himself of Juul-Jensen. He leads over the summit, but the Dane is almost on his wheel - and the reduced peloton is almost upon them...

 

9km remaining from 189km

Dillier, Christian and Brown are caught by the bunch atop the Saanenmöser. They are 20 seconds behind the lone leader Peters, with Juul-Jensen caught in between.

 

8km remaining from 189km

Peters is putting up fierce resistance, but this looks set to be a reduced bunch finish. Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews are among the fast men near the front of this peloton, which is 17 seconds behind Peters.

 

7km remaining from 189km

Peters is making light work of this rain-soaked descent, and he maintains a lead of 17 seconds. The yellow jersey Kung takes over at the front of the peloton.

 

6km remaining from 189km

Peters retains a lead of 16 seconds over the bunch, while Juul-Jensen is drawing ever closer to him on this descent.

 

5km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen within touching distance of Peters on this descent. The strung-out peloton is still 17 seconds down.

 

4km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen catches Peters, and immediately contributes at the front. They are still 14 seconds clear of the bunch...

 

3km remaining from 189km

Bahrain-Merida are trying to shut down Juul-Jensen and Peters on behalf of Sonny Colbrelli.

 

3km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen has now opened a small gap over Peters. The Dane seems more at ease on this rain-soaked descent. He has 19 seconds in hand on the bunch...

 

2km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen enters the aerodrome that hosts the finale with 20 seconds in hand on a bunch that is being led by Kung...

 

2km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen is starting to believe he can pull off this win. He has a winning gap if he can keep his gear turning over...

 

1km remaining from 189km

Kung is on the front of the peloton still, but none of the sprinters' teams are taking this up... This is Juul-Jensen's to lose at this point.

 

1km remaining from 189km

Juul-Jensen leads into the final kilometre with 20 seconds in hand on the peloton.

 

Peters remains second on the road. He won't catch Juul-Jensen and will struggle to hold off the bunch.

 

This finishing straight is interminable. Juul-Jensen risks a glance over his shoulder and begins to celebrate...

 

Christopher Juul-Jensen (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse.

 

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) wins the bunch sprint for second place behind the lone winner.

 

 

Result:

 

1 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott 04:35:56
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:08
3 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin

 

Stefan Kung (BMC) retains the yellow jersey of overall leader.

 

General classification after stage 4:

 
1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 13:26:19
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:16
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:17
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:23
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:30
10 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors

 

Christopher Juul-Jensen speaks: "When we had two minutes at the bottom of the climb, then suddenly the break started to believe that it was actually possible, and, yeah, I'm over the moon.

"Coming out of a great Giro with Mitchelton-Scott, I felt that I had good form. When he attacked I just kept him at a relatively close distance, and I could see that he was maybe taking the corners slightly slower than I was, so I was closing the gap, and then I decided to make the most of it before it was too late.

"It was a long 3km on the airfield here, but it was a fantastic feeling, and especially being here in Switzerland with the king of Switerzerland, Michael Albasini, on the team. I'm happy for that good result."

 

 

 

Thanks for following our live coverage of the Tour de Suisse on Cyclingnews this afternoon. We'll be back with more tomorrow. A full report, results and pictures are available here, and all the news and reaction from Gstaad will follow in due course.

 

Result:

 

 

1 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott 04:35:56
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:08
3 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team
7 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin

 

 

General classification after stage 4:

 

1 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 13:26:19
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 00:00:03
3 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:16
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 00:00:17
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:23
8 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:30
10 Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors

 

 

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