Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) outkicked a select group of climbers to win stage four of the Tour de Romandie.
The Colombian was almost beaten by his team mate Alaksandr Vlasov on the line, but held on to secure his fourth win of the season.
Jumbo Visma dominated the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie and their leader Rohan Dennis will take a 15 second lead into the final stage tomorrow.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The queen stage of the Tour de Romandie packed a whopping 4100 metres of elevation into a 180km route which had five out of six of its climbs in the second half of the race.
It took a while for the breakaway to form as a combination of flat valley roads and a tailwind allowed the peloton to set a ferocious average speed of 51kph over the first hour.
14 riders eventually escaped but the challenging parcours created a lead group made up of Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Harm Vanhouke (Lotto Soudal), Nils Bruns (Tudor Pro Cycling Team), Óscar Rodríguez (Movistar), Toms Skujinš (Trek – Segafredo) and James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) the latter two in search of mountain points.
None of the riders were in a threatening position on GC apart from Quintan Hermans (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) who started the day 37 seconds down, but he was stuck between the peloton and the break.
For the first half of the stage the yellow and black jerseys of Jumbo Visma hogged the front of the peloton as it snaked its way through the pine trees of the Swiss Alps.
Jumbo held the break at around three minutes but the gap began to fall once they hit the climb of Les Pontis for the second time in the rain.
With race radio reporting sleet at the finish, some of the break riders went back to their team cars for coats, perhaps because they could see the peloton closing in several hairpins below.
Ion Izagirre drove the pace in the break dropping Toms Skujinš and Harm Vanhouke in quick succession.
However, Ineos Grandiers, Groupama-FDJ and Bahrain Victorius threw riders to the front of the peloton as they knew this was perhaps their last chance to unseat race leader Rohan Dennis (Jumbo Visma).
The breakaway's gap stood at 1min40secs over the summit of Les Pontis, leaving just the category one climb of the Grimentz, and an uncategorised 4.5km climb, between them and the finish.
Having already secured the mountains jersey, James Knox was dropped leaving just Ion Izagirre and Óscar Rodríguez up the road.
Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citrëon Team), Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) and Sep Kuss (Jumbo Visma) splintered the peloton with powerful turns on the front, bringing the gap down to 26secs with 10km to go.
Just one kilometre later the break was caught. Einer Rubio (Movistar) launched an attack which whittled the peloton down to a select group of 23 riders, without Geraint Thomas (Ineos Granadiers).
No one had the strength to attack off Steven Kruijswijk's (Jumbo Visma) pace as he held Rubio at around 12secs.
Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) tried two attacks, but was hampered by a headwind and ended up dragging the bunch across to Rubio's wheel 300 metres from the line.
Sergio Higuita, who had been quiet all day, launched a huge attack on the right of the road to go clear.
His team mate Aleksandr Vlasov couldn't quite pip him on the line, raising his arms in celebration of the one-two instead.
It was a good day for Jumbo Visma who consolidated their leader Rohan Dennis' grip on the race. With only a 15km time trial left to complete, Dennis will surely be fancied to take the overall win.
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 5-58-52
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, all same time
3. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates
4. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroen Team
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama FDJ
6. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Premier Tech
7. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorius
8. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama FDJ
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
10. Carlos Verona (Esp) Movistar
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FOUR
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo Visma, 17-27-01
2. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 15secs
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 18secs
4. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroen Team, at 25secs
5. Lucas Plapp (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 30secs
6. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorius, at 32secs
7. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama FDJ, at 37secs
8. Neilson Powless (Usa) EF Education-EasyPost, at 41secs
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis, at 42secs
10. Steff Cras (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 45secs
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