Katusha’s Simon Spilak beat Chris Froome (Sky) in a two-man sprint to win stage four’s rainy queen stage of the Tour de Romandie.
The Slovenian’s win was his second of the season, and also saw him move into second in the overall classification, 47 seconds behind Froome, who looks sure to consolidate his victory in tomorrow’s time trial.
The peloton contested a queen stage the route of which was significantly altered. Snowfall meant that the second accent and descent of the Col de la Croix had to be cancelled, as the riders were instead sent on an uphill but easier ride to the finish in Las Diablerets.
On the run-in team Sky were put under pressure from threatening attacks by Tony Martin and later Thibaut Pinot, Robert Kiserlovski, Marcel Wyss and Simon Spilak.
When their last man Richie Porte could put no more in, Froome moved to the front and dropped the rest of the group, joining Spilak who remained up the road. The pair gradually extended their league, and finished one minute and three seconds ahead of the chasing group.
The Movistar duo of Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde sprinted to third and fourth respectively in the chasing group (which did not include a dropped Andrew Talansky), but they will be disappointed to have let Froome put so much time into them.
The group failed to work together as riders refused to work at the front, and by allowing a time-trialist as good as Froome so much time they have surely sacrificed any chance of winning overall.
Tour de Romandie 2013, stage four: Marly – Les Diablerets
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha 188.5km in 5-10-00
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky at st.
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 1min 3secs
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco
6. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R
7. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
10. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi all at st.
Overall classification after stage four
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky in 19-03-10
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 47secs
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 1min 21secs
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 1min 22 secs
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1 min 26secs
6. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at st.
7. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1min 27 secs
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 1 min 28secs
9. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R at st.
10. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1min 43secs
Col des Mosses
Tony Martin goes solo
Chris Froome leads Simon Spilak in the escape
Simon Spilak takes the stage, Chris Froome extends overall lead
Meersman wins again in Romandie (stage three)
Tour de Romandie 2013: stage two photo gallery
Tour de Romandie 2013: stage one photo gallery
Ramunas Navardauskas wins Tour de Romandie stage two
Gianni Meersman wins Tour de Romandie stage one
Tour de Romandie 2013: prologue photo gallery
Chris Froome wins Tour de Romandie prologue
Tour de Romandie 2013: The Big Preview