John Degenkolb took his second stage of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné in Macon this afternoon, as race leader Bradley Wiggins enjoyed a trouble-free day in the saddle.
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Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) used his explosive sprint to take Tuesday’s stage into Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, and once again he showed an impressive turn of pace to come from a long way back to beat Wiggins’ Sky team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Wiggins’ 1-11 second advantage over Cadel Evans remained intact; last year’s Dauphiné winner Janez Brajkovic is a further ten seconds adrift in third with three stages remaining.
Comfortable day for Wiggins
Jérémy Roy instigated the stage’s sole breakaway, attacking just 4km outside of the day’s start town of La Motte-Servolex.
The FDJ rider was soon joined by Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD), and the duo were allowed a comfortable gap, but one that never swelled over the five minute mark.
The peloton timed their chase to perfection, catching them just 2km from the finish.
Wiggins in the maillot jaune
Sky seek stage success
Wiggins looked comfortable throughout, with the only drama coming in the form of a mid-stage puncture.
He took a backseat as his colleagues began working hard for Boasson Hagen, but Garmin-Cervélo looked impressive as they looked to set Tyler Farrar up for his first victory since March.
Boasson Hagen initially looked like he was going to take the victory, but Degenkolb left everyone in his wake as he used his fast, but unsightly, acceleration to cross the line first.
Third went to Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank Sungard); Farrar was also beaten by Astana’s Tomas Vaitkus FDJ’s William Bonnet as he limped home in a lowly seventh place.
Tougher challenges ahead
After today’s uncomplicated stage, tomorrow’s finish on the second category Les Gets climb will give us a further indication of the Brit’s form.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011, stage four: La Motte Servolex-Macon, 173.5km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
3. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank Sungard
4. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana
5. William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
6. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo
7. Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quick Step
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
9. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Overall classification after stage four
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky in 12-57-18
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 1-11
3. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) RadioShack at 1-21
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 1-56
5. Rui Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 2-12
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 2-25
7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-28
8. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2-45
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack at 2-46
10. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 2-52
John Degenkolb out-paces Edvald Boasson Hagen (left) for the win
Bradley Wiggins on the podium
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Related links
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Stage reports
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Photo galleries
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three ITT photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson