Thor Hushovd of Garmin-Cervelo has take his first victory in the rainbow jersey, just edging out Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan to win Stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse in Huttwil. The young Slovak, winner of yesterday's Stage 3, made his move off the front of the peloton some 200 metres out, but the Norwegian proved stronger in the finale. Marco Marcato of Vacansoleil-DCM finished third. Damiano Cunego of Lampre-ISD retains the overall lead.
Stage 4 of last year’s race saw the infamous crash involving Mark Cavendish and Heinrich Haussler that ended the latter’s season, but although today and tomorrow feature the two flattest stages of the race, today's finish was unlikely to suit the out-and-out sprinters, and so it proved.
This afternoon’s parcours featured a Category 2 ascent around 60km in, followed by a Category 3 climb negotiated twice on the closing 20km closing loop and a 2 per cent uphill gradient in the last 2 kilometres before the finish.
Three riders were off the front of the peloton heading into the first of two laps of that final loop, Sylvain Chavanel of Quickstep, Cesare Benedetti of Team NetApp, and Lloyd Mondory of AG2R, the latter’s blue sprints jersey contrasting rather uncomfortably with his brown team-issue shorts.
The trio were caught around 18 kilometres out, with Team Sky, who have enjoyed a cracking few weeks’ racing topped by Bradley Wiggins’ overall victory in the Dauphiné last Sunday, working hardest at the front of the peloton to force the pace along.
As the race headed up the Category 3 Ruppiswil for the second time, the pace was ratcheted up as HTC-Highroad and Liquigas-Cannondale moved to the front, but it was the Vacansoleil-DCM Uzbekh rider Sergey Lagutin who launched himself off the front, Daniel Oss of Liquigas-Cannondale and Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Jan Bakelants going with him.
However, the trio were unable to make their attack stick, and several other riders who had also managed to get a small gap over the peloton as they tested its resolve were likewise brought back.
Shortly after the regrouped peloton passed under the 5 kilometres to go banner, the ever popular Jens Voigt of Leopard Trek chanced his arm and managed to establish a gap, but even he was unable to make it last and was brought back at the foot of the final drag up to the finish.
Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Result 1 HUSHOVD Thor GARMIN-CERVELO 4:46:05 2 SAGAN Peter LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE Same time 3 MARCATO Marco VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 2 secs 4 ROJAS Jose Joaquin MOVISTAR 5 FREIRE GOMEZ Oscar RABOBANK 6 GASPAROTTO Enrico ASTANA 7 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC RACING 8 STYBAR Zdenek QUICKSTEP 9 BOONEN Tom QUICKSTEP 10 IMPEY Daryl TEAM NETAPP 11 FERNANDEZ Koldo EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI 12 MOLLEMA Bauke RABOBANK 13 CUNEGO Damiano LAMPRE - ISD 14 MEGIAS LEAL Javier TEAM TYPE 1 - SANOFI AVENTIS 15 PAOLINI Luca KATUSHA 16 HUZARSKI Bartosz TEAM NETAPP 17 MONTAGUTI Matteo AG2R LA MONDIALE 18 BOZIC Borut VACANSOLEIL-DCM 19 DIETZIKER Andreas TEAM NETAPP 20 ROBERTS Luke SAXO BANK SUNGARD Tour de Suisse Overall Standings after Stage 4 1 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre-ISD 12:29:23 2 SOLER Juan Mauricio Movistar +00:54 3 MOLLEMA Bauke Rabobank +01:16 4 TEN DAM Laurens Rabobank +01:19 5 VAN GARDEREN Tejay HTC-Highroad +01:21 6 SCHELCK Frank Leopard Trek +01:25 7 FUGLSANG Jakob Leopard Trek +01:32 8 DI LUCA Danilo Katusha +01:53 9 KRUIJSWIJK Steven Rabobank +02:00 10 LEIPHEIMER Levi RadioShack +02:10
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.