Gorka Izagirre takes care of Ion into late splits at bunch kick on stage four; both Basques from Movistar Team remain fully in contention before Carì's hilltop finish on Wednesday. Richeze leads Etixx's one-two
Stage four of the Tour de Suisse -193km between Rheinfelden and Champagne- ended up on the hands of Etixx-QuickStep as their duo Richeze-Gaviria took the day's leading two places into the sprint against GC leader Peter Sagan (TNK). A dangerous corner right with 150m to go meant Gorka Izagirre had to use full energy until the very finish line, so as to avoid a split between Rui Costa (LAM) and him meaning a brief loss for both him and team-mate Ion into the GC, just before the big mountains start on Wednesday with two demanding climbs -Furkapass (HC), Gothard (Cat-1) and the HC Carì at the finish.
It took 20km before a slippery, four-man break including Brammeier (DDD), Maison (FDJ), Jaun (ROT) and Van der Lijke (ROP) held a significant gap. Peter Sagan's Tinkoff squad kept the peloton well organized and always under four minutes' gap behind the leading group, and the 100+ kilometers between the cols of Breithöhe (Cat-2; 8km at 4.4% average) and Orges (Cat-3), combined with good weather finally joining the race -an extra release of difficulty for the Jaimerena/Laguía-directed squad, which faced headwinds all day long-, all guaranteed a group sprint that leaves Ion and Gorka in fifth and seventh overall before the hellish second half of the Helvetic stagerace.