Albasini retains leader's jersey with 8th place on Tour de Romandie stage fourFri 1 May 2015
Double stage winner Michael Albasini has retained his race lead at the Tour de Romandie, finishing eighth on a rain soaked stage four this afternoon.
The 34-year-old finished in a reduced group, 52seconds behind solo winner Stefan Kung (BMC Racing Team) who survived in front from an early break away move.
The stage one and two winner’s overall advantage remains at 20seconds, leading teammates Ivan Santaromita (2nd) and Simon Yates (4th), who are separated by Christopher Froome (Team Sky).
“Today was a little less demanding, the cold and the rain made it demanding, but the terrain was less demanding,” sport director Neil Stephens said. “It was most likely a big bunch sprint and it was a lottery for Michael.”
“It’s been a great run, and if we could try to pull off another stage win that would be fantastic, but the priority was to keep the general classification alive. Anything else was a bonus.
“So it was on the overall teams to chase, which Team Sky did a great job, but the solo winner wasn’t a threat and he had a great ride to stay away.”
Earlier in the day Küng, Lieuwe Westra (Astana Pro Team), Pavel Kochetkov (Team Katusha) and Anton Vorobyev (Team Katusha), Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) formed the initial move.
As it moved into the last hour of racing just four remained in front, before Kung ended up the sole leader with Bakelants and Lindeman trying to get back in touch.
With a little over 10km, the BMC Racing rider still had two minutes advantage to the peloton and looked a good chance to stay away.
Etixx Quick-Step attacked the peloton in pursuit with Tony Martin and Julian Alaphilippe with five kilometres to go. Martin, like the dropped early breakaway members, finished between surviving winner Kung and the peloton that was almost a minute in arrears.
Tomorrow is the penultimate and queen stage of the Tour de Romandie with four category one climbs including one to finish.
“Michael has had a good run not only thanks to himself but thanks to everyone else in the team as well,” Stephens said.
“Tomorrow, even though he has the yellow jersey on his shoulders, he is just another teammate because by the finish he will no doubt lose time.
“Our efforts will go towards Simon Yates and Santaromita, who is in a good position himself, will support him. It’s a really demanding stage but we are ready to give it our best shot.”