Richie Porte (BMC) stated his ambitions for the Critérium du Dauphiné overall win as he put time into his rivals and won stage four by 11 seconds while Thomas de Gendt held onto the leader’s jersey for the third straight day.
Porte kept the tension high as he registered only a two second deficit to Tony Martin at the mid-stage time check.
However, showing the full extent of his time trial capabilities as the Australian ate into the German’s time and came out 11 seconds quicker.
World time trial champion Martin thought he had captured victory on stage four of the Critérium du Dauphiné seeing off Chad Haga (Subweb) by 20 seconds.
Unfortunately the slightly lumpy ride and some poor cornering before the flamme rouge forced Martin to settle for second.
Chris Froome’s (Team Sky) GC ambitions were dealt a small blow as he finished 37 seconds behind his former colleague in the 23.5km time trial but took solace as he moved up the GC rankings from 12th to sixth, trailing race leader de Gendt by 1-04.
Froome will hope to use the next few stages to launch his bid for a fourth Dauphiné title in five years.
Fellow Dauphiné and Tour de France rival, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), showed promise for his own overall ambitions with a solid time that saw the Spaniard only 35 seconds behind Porte on the day and 1-02 behind the yellow jersey.
Not known for his time trialling, the Trek-Segafredo rider held a steady pace as he navigated the winding roads from La Tour-du-Pin to Bourgion-Jaileu to move into the top five of the overall lead.
Another GC hopeful, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), once again struggled with the discipline as he lost a severe amount of time finishing outside the top-20, a whole 1-51 down on Porte and 2-20 down on de Gendt, all but ending his chances for a Dauphiné victory.
The Critérium du Dauphiné continues on Thursday with another sprint stage, with a 175.5km route on the cards.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2017, stage four: La Tour-du-Pin to Bourgion-Jaileu (23.5km ITT)
1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team, in 28-07
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 12s
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 24s
4 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, at 28s
5 Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb, at 32s
6 Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar, st
7 Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 35s
8 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 37s
9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 42s
10 Brent Brookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team, at 45s
Overall classification after stage four
1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at 13-05-53
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team, at 27s
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 51s
4 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo, at 55s
5 Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 1:02
6 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 1:04
7 Brent Brookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team, at 1:12
8 Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar, at 1:15
9 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 1:17
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 1:22