Bradley Wiggins (Sky) gained valuable time over rival Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) on stage four of the Tour of California, positioning himself on the right side of a split in the bunch during the day’s finale.
Dennis started the day 24 seconds behind Wiggins, and ended it 28 seconds in arrears – the four second difference may not seem much, but with both the time trial and queen mountain stage of the race done and dusted every second now matters.
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William Routley (Optum) took the stage win from a successful escape group, who rode well together to deny another opportunity for the sprinters to grab a victory. Routley out-paced Gregory Daniel (Bissell) and Kevin De Masmaeker (Novo Nordisk) to give the non-WorldTour teams a slice of podium time.
Breakaway specialist Routley took advantage of being in the escape by going on a points collecting spree, adding more points to his King of the Mountains lead and taking both intermediate sprints and the stage win so that he now usurps Mark Cavendish’s at the top the points classification.
Cavendish led the chase group home at one minute and 17 seconds, a group of 14 riders which also contained Wiggins, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing).
With a slim lead overall, the danger is far from over for Wiggins at the top of the general classification. Friday’s summit-finish stage to Mountain High provides a chance for Dennis to claw back time. Before then, Thursday’s stage is a 173.8km trip from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara. The race concludes on Sunday.
Amgen Tour of California 2014, stage four: Monterey to Cambria, 168.9km
1. William Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in 3-48-37
2. Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development Team
3. Kevin De Masmaeker (Bel) Novo Nordisk
4. Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare
5. Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman
6. Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 15 secs
7. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1-17
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
9. Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing at same time
18. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage four
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky in 13-53-51
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 28 secs
3. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1-09
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1-25
5. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing at 2-28
7. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing at 2-29
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2-31
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 2-33
10. Javier Acevedo (Col) Garmin Sharp at 2-34