The Tour Take | Romandie Stage 4

 Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

 

The Steps

1st – Jakob Fuglsang

2nd – Primoz Roglic @ 0:48

3rd – Egan Bernal @ 0:48

 

The Parcours

The Queen stage of this year’s Tour De Romandie with 5 categorised climbs, that was a true mountain test for the 114 that started. The final climb was 14km long, but topping out 30km from the line, meaning there was a rather long descent for a bit of downhill madness to the line.

The Jerseys

Primoz Roglic holds onto Yellow, extending his lead to 8 seconds over Egan Bernal with the time bonus he collected for finishing second. Richie Porte is in third place, 35 seconds back.

 

Bernal does have the Young Riders jersey as consolation, while another day in the break wasn’t without reward for Thomas De Gendt, who added the KOM jersey to the Points jersey he already held

 

 
 
 

The Break

Another day, another Thomas De Gendt break. This one was kept on a shorter leash though, with the gap never getting above 3 minutes. He was joined by Mikel Nieve, Hugh Carthy, Andrey Amador, Hermann Pernsteiner. Pernsteiner was the best placed on GC, starting the day in 20th, 2:10 back from Bernal.

 

On the second last climb to Suen, we saw an attempted raid from Emmanuel Buchmann, Jon Izagirre and Daniel Martinez. They attacked and caught the front at the foot of the final climb, at which point the new super group had a minute’s advantage, and weren’t pulled back until there was 4km to go on the final climb.

 

The Winning Move

Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal came over the top in the lead, but slowed on the descent, allowing Richie Porte, Rui Costa and Jakob Fuglsang back into the front. Still not attacking the descent with any urgency, Fuglsang jumped away on a flat section halfway down, and the other four just let him go. He built up a half minute advantage quickly and that was that.

 

The movers and shakers

Egan Bernal tried everything he could to put Roglic to the sword and find the four seconds he needed to take the GC lead. He attacked 3 times pretty viciously, and each time, Roglic stuck to his wheel while looking unfazed. While Bernal is a talent for the future, Roglic is one for the now, as he’s genuinely become an elite climber and probably wrapped up the GC for this week. Sure, this one mountain TT followed by a single mountain stage is a whole lot different to a grand tour with back to back to back mountain stages, but the man is no joke.

Of the other GC guys, Porte showed his form continues to improve – though he couldn’t match Bernal’s accelerations, he slowly pulled himself back to the front every time they dropped him. Fuglsang was good in the spring classics and climbed well here – obviously winning the stage is good too. He’s putting his case forward as Astana’s GC leader at le Tour from a pretty stacked roster.

 

The Surprise Packets

Rui Costa is back at the pointy end of races – he’s had a bleak few years since a golden patch where he won a World Championship and three Tours De Suisses on the trot. Aside from winning the Abu Dhabi Tour last year, he hasn’t had many good results to speak of in the last few years but came 3rd in Stage 1 here and 5th in the individual TT on Thursday night.

 

The Aussies

5th – Richie Porte @ 0:50 (3rd on GC @ 0:35, 8th on KOM, 10th on Points)

6th – Rohan Dennis @ 2:09 (7th on GC @ 2:49, 8th on Points)

14th – Lucas Hamilton @ 2:12 (28th on GC @ 6:04, 5th on Young Riders)

35th – Rob Power @ 5:31 (32nd on GC @ 7:21, 6th on Young Riders)

47th – Damien Howson @ 10:14 (44th on GC @ 13:26)

66th – Brendan Canty @ 17:22 (74th on GC @ 31:56)

68th – Michael Storer @ 18:30 (79th on GC @ 37:55)

86th – Will Clarke @ 24:59 85th on GC @ 41:35, 9th on Points)

DNS – Chris Hamilton (Hamilton finished up yesterday to prepare for the Giro starting on Friday)

 

 

Tonight

Another rolling stage, it would have been one for the quick men… or it would have been if there were any left (we’ll get to that). Just 3 Category 3 climbs, they all come in the first half of the stage. We likely won’t see any GC action, so

The Pick

QuickStep brought the two best sprinters to this race in Fernando Gaviria and Elia Viviani, but they were both eliminated on the ITT, being outside the time cut thanks to Bernal’s scintillating ride. Omar Fraile retired as well today, while Matthews is gone; if a break doesn’t stay away the stage is Sonny Colbrelli’s to lose.

See you back at the social club, 

Josh.