Last 2 years’ stage 4 winners, Thomas Voeckler and Gianni Meersman were on the break today, but they couldn’t succeed and consumed by the peloton with 14 kms and the final categorized climb to go. Johann Tschopp of IAM Cycling was the first to pass the first five mountain gates and collected 29 points, which put him on top of the mountains jersey classification.
With the final climb, an elite group formed in the front and similar to Stage 3, lots of riders including Sylvain Chavanel, Nicolas Roche and Robert Gesink tried to escape from the groupetto that formed after the descent. But all those break attempts only increased the pace, and positioning mattered. It was Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Albasini who clinched his first victory of the season with a very long sprint in the final 500 meters. Maxim Iglinskiy from Astana came second while Peter Velits came third.
24-year-old Andrew Talansky defended his yellow jersey in this tricky stage, but the GC race is now even more tight. And we’ll be heading a mountain-top finish on Friday and an up-hill time-trial on Sunday, which will be quite a challenge for the young American. Even if Talansky doesn’t lose time in the mountain stages, he is no better time-trialist than neither Andriy Grivko nor Lieuwe Westra.
GC after Stage 4
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 19:35:17
2. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 3″
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 4″
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5″
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 6″
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 7″
8. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 13″
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol 15″
Stage 4 Results
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge 4:55:41
2. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
3. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team