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Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4: Double for Degenkolb in Mâcon

German neo-pro takes second stage win in three days, Wiggins remains in overall lead

First year pro John Degenkolb of HTC-Highroad this afternoon won his second stage of this year's Criterium du Dauphiné, the 22-year-old German edging out Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen to win a hard-fought bunch sprint in Mâcon with Saxo Bank-SunGard's JJ Haedo third. Bradley Wiggins came home safely in the bunch and retains the overall lead.

Garmin-Cervelo had done much of the work today in towing the peloton along in pursuit of two escapees, Jeremy Roy of FDJ and the Lampre-ISD rider, Adriano Malori, as they looked to set up Tyler Farrar for the only opportunity of a bunch sprint in this year’s race.

The last time the American led the peloton home was during the Giro d’Italia as he accompanied the Leopard Trek team over the line in Livorno to pay tribute to his close friend Wouter Weylandt, killed 24 hours earlier – and exactly a month ago today – in a crash on Stage 3 of that race.

First Garmin-Cervelo’s Johan Van Summeren, winner of Paris-Roubaix, then Britain’s Dan Lloyd, followed by David Zabriskie, took turns on the front to keep the pace high and slowly reel in the break.

Behind them, Team Sky were keeping yellow jersey Wiggins safely out of trouble while also ensuring that Boasson Hagen, marked out by his yellow shoes, maintained his position ahead of the anticipated sprint finish.

Roy, winner of a stage in Paris-Nice two years ago, had attacked just 4km into today’s 173.5km stage from La Motte-Servolex. Malori, perhaps best remembered as lanterne rouge in last year’s Tour de Franec, joined him shortly afterwards.

At one point, the pair had established a lead of more than four minutes over the peloton, but that had been halved by the time the race entered the closing 20km and the catch was made with 2km still to race after teams including Astana and HTC-Highroad had taken up pace-setting duties at the front of the bunch.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas led the peloton going under the flamme rouge as he sought to position Boasson Hagen for the sprint, and the Norwegian appeared to have timed his run for the line perfectly until Degenkolb, winner of Tuesday's Stage 2 in Lyon, again showed his strength and powered past in the closing metres.

Farrar himself had still been well positioned near the front of the bunch as the race entered the finale, but was unable to impose himself when it came to the sprint and finished in sixth position.

The British team’s defence of Wiggins’ overall lead now starts in earnest as the race heads up into the mountains for the concluding three stages which all feature summit finishes. The first of those comes tomorrow at Les Gets following a 210km stage that starts in Parc des Oiseaux - Villars-les-Dombes.

Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Result 
1  DEGENKOLB John          HTC - HIGHROAD             4h 15' 41"
2  HAGEN Edvald Boasson    SKY PROCYCLING          All at same time
3  HAEDO Juan Jose         SAXO BANK SUNGARD
4  VAITKUS Tomas           ASTANA
5  BONNET William          FDJ
6  FARRAR Tyler            GARMIN - CERVELO
7  BANDIERA Marco          QUICK STEP
8  DUMOULIN Samuel         COFIDIS
10 DE HAES Kenny           OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO
11 CHAVANEL Sébastien      EUROPCAR
12 BOLE Grega              LAMPRE - ISD
13 RUIJGH Rob              VACANSOLEIL-DCM
14 MURPHY John             BMC RACING
15 WEGMANN Fabian          LEOPARD-TREK
16 LEMOINE Cyril           SAUR-SOJASUN
17 HINAULT Sébastien       AG2R LA MONDIALE
19 DUQUE Leonardo          COFIDIS

Criterium du Dauphiné Overall Standings after Stage 4    
1  WIGGINS Bradley         SKY PROCYCLING           12h 57' 18"
2  EVANS Cadel             BMC RACING                 + 01' 11"
3  BRAJKOVIC Janez         RADIOSHACK                 + 01' 21"
4  VINOKOUROV Alexandre    ASTANA                     + 01' 56"
5  COSTA Rui               MOVISTAR                   + 02' 12"
6  THOMAS Geraint          SKY PROCYCLING             + 02' 25"
7  VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen   OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO       + 02' 28"
8  RIBLON Christophe       AG2R LA MONDIALE           + 02' 45"
9  HERMANS Ben             RADIOSHACK	              + 02' 46"
10 COPPEL Jérôme	   SAUR-SOJASUN	              + 02' 52"

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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