Tour de Romandie (st. 4)
Albasini (OGE) catches bunch unprepared in harder-than-expected circuit in Fribourg. Intxausti (6th), Herrada (8th, Young riders’ leader), Izagirre (9th) keep their places before decisive TT
Two errors led Michael Albasini (OGE), Thomas Voeckler (EUC) and Jan Bakelants (OPQ) to contest a three-up final sprint on stage four of the 2014 Tour de Romandie, held over five laps (173km) of a circuit in and around Fribourg, with rain and two small, yet steep climbs stringing out the peloton to a mere seventy riders over the finish.
The first one occured during the first loop, where the escape had to be neutralized for one-and-a-half minutes after missing a turn and going past one of those two climbs, later ammassing a gap over six minutes. The second one derived from a miscalculation of the bunch’s own force, against three experienced allrounders who dropped their two companions, Marino (CAN) and Vuillermoz (ALM) into the last of the ascents. Despite insistence from Sky, Lampre, Katusha or Giant, the trio came across the line with a 9-second gap, enough for Albasini to raise his arms victorious.
The Movistar boys, still in the lead of the teams’ classification and commanded over the finish by Spanish champion Jesús Herrada (13th), had a day with no major incidents. Beñat Intxausti keeps his 6th place overall, 11″ behind the 3rd place by Rui Costa (LAM); Herrada keeps his white jersey as the leader of the Young riders’s competition, still in 8th; and Ion Izagirre conserves his respective 9th spot in the eve of the decisive, demanding TT in Neuchâtel: just 18.5km, yet with a steep ascent: Frochaux (above 8% over its 2,300 meters).
TT START TIMES: 11.56h Visconti; 12.52h Szmyd; 13.16h Castroviejo; 14.16h Izagirre; 14.18h Herrada; 14.22h Intxausti.