Tour de Romandie: Spilak wins weather-altered version of stage four
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tour de Romandie: Spilak wins weather-altered version of stage four

by Kyle Moore at 11:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie
Katusha rider works with Chris Froome to finish a minute ahead of other favourites

Simon SpilakThe long list of bike races altered by inclement weather got a bit longer on Saturday, as stage four of the Tour de Romandie got a small makeover, making the queen stage not quite as difficult topographically, while wet and freezing conditions on the final climbs made it hard enough as it was.

Simon Spilak (Katusha) got away over the top of the Le Sepey climb, the replacement for the second ascent of the Col de la Croix, and rode to the finish with overall leader Chris Froome (Sky Procycling). Spilak took the stage win and the bump in the overall classification, and Froome took second and an impactful consolidation of his overall lead with just tomorrow’s time trial left to race.

Spilak and Froome pulled out 1’03” over a select group in the five kilometres between the top of Le Sepey and the finish in Les Diablerets. The duo seemed to have an agreement heading toward the line, working together well, with Spilak sprinting to the line uncontested by Froome.

Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) had been in second place overall coming into the queen stage, but was dropped earlier on Le Sepey, and eventually finished over two minutes back, dropping out of the top ten overall. Spilak bumps all the way up to second place overall, 47 seconds behind Froome. Rui Costa (Movistar) was third on the stage and sits third overall, 1’21” behind.

Stage four had originally planned to take the riders over Les Mosses, the Col de la Croix and the Pas de Morgins, before a second ascent up the other side of the Col de la Croix and an eight-kilometre descent into Les Diablerets. But bad weather conditions forced organizers to cut out the second ascent up the Col de la Croix, replacing it with the less steep Le Sepey.

But attrition over the 180km day still wore into the peloton, making the less difficult final climb still very decisive. Some riders didn’t take the start, and some abandoned during the stage, including sprinters Mark Cavendish and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Elia Viviani (Cannondale).

Action picked up on the final climb with world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) away on his own, looking to steal some time before Sunday’s race against the clock. Martin had formed a duo with Arthur Vichot (FDJ), but Vichot was eventually dropped.

In the reduced group of select favourites, Robert Kiserlovski (Radioshack-Leopard) made the first move with 13km left to race. Sky Procycling used up David Lopez on the front of the bunch, leaving just Richie Porte to protect Froome, who was riding second wheel and squinting through the cold rain.

Talansky dropped off the back with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) and others, under the pressure of Porte, and Martin was quickly caught and spat out the back of the bunch. Best young rider classification leader Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was the next to get antsy, and he soon bridged up to Kiserlovski, followed eventually by an in-form Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling). Spilak then went forward as Porte was used up, leaving Froome isolated in the final ten kilometres.

Spilak bridged up to Kiserlovski, with Pinot and Wyss struggling, but Froome was strong in pulling the rest of his main bunch up to all the escapees. Nearing the top of the climb, Spilak was the lone rider still dangling off the front, and Froome accelerated up to him, bringing no one on his wheel.

This left Spilak and Froome on their own, and they were soon off and not looking back. A stalemate in the main bunch made Carlos Betancur (Ag2R La Mondiale) impatient, but his attack was quickly reeled in by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp). With the Le Sepey climb finished, and five flat kilometres to race, Froome and Spilak had 18 seconds on about 15 other riders, most of whom sat up and began looking at one another.

Their hesitation played right into the hands of Spilak and Froome, who had 35 seconds in the blink of an eye, inspiring Jean Christophe Peraud (Ag2R La Mondiale) to come forward in support of Betancur. But his pace making was fruitless, and with under 2km to go, Spilak and Froome had pulled out almost a minute. Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) broke away from the bunch briefly, but was covered by Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and then the rest.

The straight-faced Spilak sprinted all the way to the line to grab a quality victory, putting him in solid position to take another podium place in the Tour de Romandie, while Froome seems almost assured of overall victory on Sunday.

Tour de Romandie stage 4 results:

1, Simon Spilak (Katusha)
2, Chris Froome (Sky Procycling)
3, Rui Costa (Movistar) at 1’03”
4, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)
5, Wilco Kelderman (Blanco)
6, Carlos Betancur (Ag2R La Mondiale)
7, Marcel Wyss (IAM)
8, Jean Christophe Peraud (Ag2R La Mondiale)
9, Robert Kiserlovski (Radioshack-Leopard)
10, Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi)

General Classification:

1, Chris Froome (Sky Procycling)
2, Simon Spilak (Katusha) at 47”
3, Rui Costa (Movistar) at 1’21”
4, Robert Kiserlovski (Radioshack-Leopard) at 1’22”
5, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) at 1’26”
6, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at 1’26”
7, Thomas Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) at 1’26”
8, Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) at 1’27”
9, Carlos Betancur (Ag2R La Mondiale) at 1’28”
10, Marcel Wyss (IAM) at 1’43”


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