Peter Sagan stays on top of the GC and points contest with sprint third on Tour de Suisse stage 4
The terrain getting progressively harder as the race goes on, the profile for stage 4 was a much more jagged affair. The second category climb that summited just past the halfway point of the 163.9km stage was the more obvious one, with its slopes hitting nearly 10% on the way up, but it was the second climb – the third category Hochwald – that could see the day decided. Close enough to the finish for a late attack, a bold breakaway could steal the stage from the sprinters, who would be fighting to have their fun on the flat finish in Arlesheim. The BORA-hansgrohe riders had the added responsibility today of protecting the yellow jersey holder, Peter Sagan, after his win on yesterday’s stage, but with a long day ahead of them, they were happy to let the break go out, a quartet building up a lead of more than three minutes. With the bigger climb out of the way, the entire BORA-hansgrohe squad took to the front to drive down the gap in preparation for the finale, and as the number of kilometres remaining dropped, so too did the break’s advantage. With 25km to go, it was down to 1:25 and falling, and the desperation in the break was clear as they began attacking each other to try and stay out in front, but it was no use – with Daniel Oss, Marcus Burghardt and the rest of the BORA-hansgrohe squad on the front, it was all back together with 11km to go. From here the speeds ramped up, with the sprint teams responding to last-ditch attempts to break away. Staying on the front, Peter’s yellow jersey was easy to spot, four riders back and being careful not to sprint too early. Leaving the rest of the bunch behind, there were only three riders in contention, but while he gave it his all, Peter just didn’t have enough in the tank, taking third on the line. While disappointed not to take the win, this podium result helped the Slovak National Champion maintain his lead in the overall standings and keep hold of the black points jersey, while a strong finish from Patrick Konrad saw the Austrian rider move into the GC top ten.
01 E. Viviani 3:46:02
02 M. Matthews +0:00
03 P. Sagan +0:00
From the Finish Line
"I wanted to win this stage but it wasn't the day. The team did a perfect job, they pulled in the front almost all day and the stage was decided, as expected, in a fast bunch sprint. I did my best but today Viviani was the fastest. I feel well, my form is where it should be right now but it wasn't my day. Thanks to my third place and the sprint bonus, I keep the yellow and black jerseys." – Peter Sagan
"We had three goals today, take a shot at winning the stage and keep the two jerseys. We achieved two of these goals, Peter is still leading the GC and the points classification. The guys once again put in a tremendous effort from the start and made it a tough stage. Everybody really gave all they had to control the race, catch the breakaway and position Peter for the sprint. He also pushed hard but in this kind of finishes, Viviani can be hard to beat. Peter took third and I think we can be satisfied with our performance today." – Jan Valach, Sports Director