Spilak escapes to Romandie Stage 4 victory as overall battle intensifies
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Spilak escapes to Romandie Stage 4 victory as overall battle intensifies

by Ben Atkins at 11:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie

simon spilakSimon Spilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini) won the fourth stage of the Tour of Romandie after escaping a breakaway group inside the final 10km. Stage 1 winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas) beat UCI World Ranking leader Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto) in the race for second at the end of the 157.9km stage between Vevey and Châtel, over the border in France.

The fine weather of previous days broke and the stage set out under heavy rain. The early breakaway was made up of: Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Martin Elminger (AG2R-La Mondiale), Juan Jose Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Matthew Busche (RadioShack), Maxim Gourov (Astana), Andreas Stauff (Quick Step) and Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank). The seven riders held a lead of 3’25” with 55km to go, but this reduced rapidly under pressure from the Caisse d’Epargne team of second-place overall Alejandro Valverde.

As the breakaway approached the climb of the Col du Corbier, and the gap to the peloton reduced to just a minute, Oroz dropped his six companions and tried to go alone; it was to no avail though as the group was soon caught.

As soon as the peloton hit the climb Denis Menchov (Rabobank) attacked, pursued by a group containing Valverde, Juan Mauricio Soler and race leader Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia). Despite crossing the summit alone the Russian was caught on the dangerous wet descent, which was the cue for Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) to attack.

Brajkovic crossed the intermediate sprint alone with Valverde beating Rogers to the line for second. The Spaniard took two bonus seconds to the Australian’s one, reducing the gap between them in the overall classification to just one second.

With 14km to go the group of leaders caught Brajkovic and Spilak attacked, pursued by Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo), Morris Possoni (Sky) and Soler. Spilak attacked a second time and only Basso could follow, but when he went for the third time nobody was able to follow. The other three breakaways were pulled back but Spilak continued alone. With 4km to go he had a lead of 30 seconds, meaning that with the time bonus on the line he was virtual race leader; by the 2km to go point it was reduced to 20 seconds though, meaning Rogers’ jersey was safe.

In the closing kilometres Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) escaped the rest of the chasing group on the final small climb in Châtel. He was quickly joined by Gilbert and Sagan in pursuit of Spilak, but it was too late and the Slovenian took a solo victory.

Sagan beat Gilbert in the sprint for second but, seemingly unaware that Spilak had finished 13 seconds earlier, the Slovakian crossed the line as though he’d won his second stage of this Tour. Dupont trailed in two seconds behind them and Valverde led the group in 7 seconds behind him.

Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) retains his yellow jersey for the overall classification but his lead over Valverde is reduced to a single second and Spilak has reduced his 35-second deficit to 5.

Result stage 4
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo @ 13s
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) OmegaPharma-Lotto
4. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale @ 15s
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne @ 22s
6. Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo
7. Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha
8. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack
9. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
10. Jeremy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux

Standings after stage 4
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia
2. Alexander Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne @ 1s
3. Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre-Farnese Vini @ 5s
4. Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Team Katusha @ 7s
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobanbk @ 11s


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