Daryl Impey takes victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse

The South African won his first race since the 2019 Tour de France

Tour de Suisse
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech) took victory on stage four of the Tour de Suisse, after launching a long sprint to hold off his closest rivals to the line. 

Representing Impey's first win since the 2019 Tour de France, he managed to maintain just enough power as Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) tried his best to steal the victory from Impey. The Australian rider had to settle for second, though, as he finished just half a wheel behind the South African. 

Ineos Grenadiers had Geraint Thomas leading Tom Pidcock out into the final kilometre, with the British pair positioning themselves smartly as Pidcock looked to launch his sprint. However, Pidcock didn't quite have the legs to propel himself off of Impey's wheel, and Matthews soon boxed him out as he settled for fifth. 

Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) came in third, overtaking Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) towards the line. 

After initially dropping from the peloton on the final climb of the race, Stevie Williams (Bahrain-Victorious) managed to get back into the bunch for the finale of the race, meaning he will once again wear the yellow jersey for stage five tomorrow.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Stage four started outside Grenchen Velodrome, close to where a buoyant Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) got back to winning ways on the third stage. Stevie Williams (Bahrain-Victorious) entered the day wearing the leader's jersey, his lead just six seconds in the general classification. 

The stage started with some fast opening kilometres and plenty of attacks, with some riders suffering punctures amid the mayhem. This soon settled down after 15km, though, when Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Markus Hoelgaard (Trek-Segafredo) and Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix) finally managed to break away.

The trio rapidly built up a gap over a minute over the next few kilometres, with the bunch comfortable in letting them ride freely up the road. After 30km of racing, atop the summit of the Kappelen climb, the leaders had built up over five minutes on the peloton. Holmes crossed the sprint line first to take maximum KOM points in the process.

During the descent of the categorised climb, their lead dropped to four minutes as Movistar, Bahrain-Victorious, Ineos Grenadiers and EF Education-EasyPost worked together at the front of the main group to close the gap. In the Swiss countryside and blistering heat, this margin continued to reduce as the three out front seemingly struggled to maintain the tempo. 

With 100km remaining, the gap had dropped to 2-45. This continued to gradually come down and down, and at the 70km to go mark there was just 1-45 between them. During this period, riders from Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange-Jayco crashed in the bunch, but all seemed able to get back on their bikes relatively unscathed. 

Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) did have to abandon the race, although for different reasons. Suffering from dehydration in the hot temperatures having completed the Giro d'Italia just a couple of weeks ago, the Dutchman withdrew so he didn't do further damage. 

After the peloton came within 1-20 of the leaders, the gap slowly rose again to the two minute mark with 50km remaining. Holmes took the Vitznau sprint at this point, too, before once again taking the Oberarth sprint.

Following the intermediate sprint, the peloton started to quickly close in on the trio out front. The time gap fell below a minute with 24km to go, as Movistar, Cofidis and Bahrain-Victorious notably started bringing the bunch towards the front of the race. The distance between them dramatically dropped over the next 3km, and, with 19km remaining at the foot of the Sattel climb, the time gap was down to just 20 seconds. They were eventually caught just a kilometre later, after Ineos Grenadiers considerably upped the already quick tempo. 

Sattel is just 3km long, but has an average gradient of 8.5%, and during the climb Stevie Williams struggled to hold on in the peloton. However, a spirited ride from the Welshman saw him gain ground on the front group. He soon got back onto the peloton's wheel, helped by his Bahrain-Victorious teammates. 

Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) attacked near the summit of the climb, but the peloton quickly swallowed him up. Marc Hirshi (UAE Team Emirates) then saw his opportunity to steal a march on his rivals, but Jakob Fuglsang (Israel-Premier Tech) stopped the Swiss rider from opening up any kind of gap. 

A sharp descent followed after the Sattel climb, which Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) attempted to take full advantage of the hill by creating a gap, though he couldn't get out of the peloton's sight. He was soon caught with 9km to go, as a result. 

EF Education-EasyPost led the bunch down the quick descent on the way to the line, with Hugh Carthy and Rigoberto Urán looking to get Alberto Bettiol in prime position into the final kilometre. A tight, technical turn ensured the group spread out at this point, leaving some riders with plenty of work to do. 

Navigating the final turn, EF riders continued to lead, but it was Daryl Impey (Israel-Premier Tech) who came from behind, launching a long range sprint for the race win. The South African just had the power to hang onto the lead as well, with Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) motoring behind him. However, the Australian finished half a wheel behind - unfortunately for him, he didn't start his sprint early enough. 

After a scare up the Sattel climb, Stevie Williams retains the lead on GC, with Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) still just six seconds behind him ahead of the more difficult upcoming stages. 

RESULTS

TOUR DE SUISSE, STAGE FOUR: GRENCHEN TO BRUNNEN (190.8KM)

1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Israel-Premier Tech, in 4-14-09
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco, at same time
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Nor) Team DSM
4. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
5. Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Alex Aranburu () Movistar
7. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Stefan Küng(Swi) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FOUR

1. Stephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain Victorious, in 17-46-28
2. Andreas Kron (Nor) Lotto Soudal, at 6s
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 7s
4. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) Team DSM, at same time
5. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama FDJ, at 10s
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo Visma
7. Marc Hirschi (Sui) UAE Team Emirates
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Israel-Premier Tech
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Adam Yates (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, all at same time

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Hi, I'm a Trainee News Writer at Cycling Weekly. 


I have worked for Future across its various sports titles since December 2020, writing news for Cycling Weekly, FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture. I am currently studying for a NCTJ qualification alongside my role as Trainee News Writer at the company. 


Prior to joining Future I attended Cardiff University, earning a degree in Journalism & Communications.