Peter Sagan swaps Rainbow Jersey for Tour de Suisse points jersey after taking fourth on stage 4.
Soaked to the skin almost from the drop of the flag, it was a long and draining day in the saddle for the riders at the Tour de Suisse today. While the poor weather could have easily dampened the spirits in the peloton, it was a spirited ride from the breakaway that proved decisive, with a lone rider managing to hold the bunch at bay, where the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, took fourth in the sprint for the remaining places. This fourth position allowed the Slovak rider to swap his Rainbow Jersey for the black jersey of Tour de Suisse points leader.
The profile of today’s stage looked like a long and slow uphill struggle. A third category climb opened the day, summiting 23km into this 189km stage – the longest of this year’s edition of the race – followed by a steady ascent before taking on the second category Saanenmöser. Having started the Tour de Suisse on relatively flat terrain, the race was slowly easing riders into the mountains as it steadily moved south, but while the biggest climb of the day was close to the finish, the day didn’t end at the summit. With a 10km downhill section to the finish line, there was no guarantee a climber would go away with the stage victory today.
The Team Tactics
There was no clear outcome predicted for today’s stage. While the finale was flat, it would come after a long day’s riding, with some tough climbs throughout – particularly the second category ascent summiting 10km from the finish. If the chance was there, the team would take it, but with wet weather conditions bringing with them the potential for crashes, along with the need to save energy for the coming mountain stages, the main aim today would be to stay safe ahead of the pivotal days to come.
While on yesterday’s stage, the rain held off until the end of the day, the riders were racing on wet roads from the drop of the flag today, and conditions only worsened as the day progressed. Clearly not phased by the downpour, six riders made their move early on, managing to put a clear 6:30 between them and the peloton, maintaining this advantage much of the day before dropping steadily in the final 75km. By this point, the weather conditions had worsened, and as the Saanenmöser appeared on the horizon, teams were working harder to reduce the gap, with Maciej Bodnar and Juraj Sagan leading out the peloton. The group of six splintered on the climb, but in spite of the gap falling, two riders were making a concerted effort to push on. With just 2km remaining, the remaining breakaway riders were within touching distance, but that’s where the peloton would remain – a lone rider taking the stage, with the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, taking fourth spot in the sprint for the remaining places. This top five finish meant Peter swapped his drenched Rainbow Jersey for the Tour de Suisse’s black jersey of points leader.
01 C. Juul-Jensen 4h35’56”
02 M.Matthews +0:08
03 Y.Lampaert +0:08
04 P.Sagan +0:08
05 S.Colbrelli +0:08
From the Finish Line
"This stage was already hard by itself and the pouring rain made it even trickier. I felt in good form on the climb and I had strong legs but Juul-Jensen played his cards well and was able to stay in front of the peloton and win. I'd like to thank again all my teammates, they have been doing an amazing job so far and I now have the points jersey thanks to them." – Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion
"It was a day for the breakaway and we have to give credit to Juul-Jensen. We put on, again, a hard effort under today's difficult conditions and the guys worked hard, chasing the escapees. We had expected a faster race but we saw a number of sprinters get dropped on the climb. The slippery roads in the downhill section to Gstaad made the peloton more reluctant, so the breakaway built a gap big enough to take the win. Peter felt well on the climb and was at the front of the reduced bunch for the sprint but it was too late to aim at the stage win. He now wears the points jersey andtomorrow is another day to take our chances."– Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director