photo credits @ Twitter
Peter Sagan finally claimed the win that he was looking, after taking stage 4 of this year’s Tour of California, with a perfectly executed sprint to beat his nemesis Mark Cavendish (Etixx Quick Step) and Wouter Wippert (Drapac).
Sagan’s final acceleration proved to be enough to vanquish the late attacker, Daniel Goss (BMC), and hold off the other sprinters to the line.
Meanwhile, Tom Skujins (Hincapie) finished safely in the peloton, to retain his grip on the overall race lead, while Sagan moved up into second place in the GC at 22 seconds back – followed SmartStop’s Rob Britton in third.
“I’m very happy for this victory, and thanks to my teammates who did a very good job,” Sagan said. “This victory is for Maciej Bodnar who crashed yesterday very badly and went home this morning.”
“I was in the group and my teammate brought me to the front for the last left corner, and as I was going on the front, Mark Cavendish was behind me. Maybe I took the turn better. From the last corner I just sprinted,” Sagan concluded.
Wippert was clearly disappointed for not winning the stage.
“You want to win, but it’s not bad to lose to [Sagan],” he said. “All due respect to him. He did a great job in the last 500 meters. I think we turned in the first corner with 500 to go like 10th and 11th or something. So actually I’m surprised I’m on the podium. I was just one gear too hard, and then your punch is not enough. So it is what it is.”
A small breakaway group of 4 riders containing Gregory Daniel (Axeon Cycling), Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), William Clarke (Drapac) and Jesse Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, eventually made their way clear of the peloton after 25 kilometers of racing.
Shortly thereafter, Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) made his way to the escapees to form a lead group of five.
The breakaway’s advantage of 3:40 over the peloton began to dwindle at the 30 kilometer mark, eventually leaving just Daniel and Clarke out front.
From there, Daniel proceeded to jettison Clarke, subsequently creating a slight gap of 30 seconds over the chase.
However, Daniel was eventually caught by the peloton inside the final 17 kilometers.
With the field back together, Oss commenced a surprise late attack during the final kilometer. However, the peloton was quick to react, with Sagan prevailing throughout the chaos – as teams were vying in earnest for a final lead out.
Stage 4 Results
SVK 1 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO) 4:06:56
NED 2 WIPPERT, Wouter (DRAPAC)
GBR 3 CAVENDISH, Mark (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
ARG 4 HAEDO, Lucas Sebastian (JAMIS – HAGENS BERMAN)
USA 5 FARRAR, Tyler (MTN – QHUBEKA)
BEL 6 STUYVEN, Jasper (TREK FACTORY RACING)
LUX 7 DRUCKER, Jean-Pierre (BMC RACING)
ITA 8 OSS, Daniel (BMC RACING)
SLO 9 KOCJAN, Jure (TEAM SMARTSTOP)
USA 10 MURPHY, John (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)
BEL 11 WAEYTENS, Zico (GIANT – ALPECIN)
CAN 12 BOIVIN, Guillaume (OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES)
BEL 13 VAN ASBROECK, Tom (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
USA 14 OWEN, Logan (AXEON CYCLING TEAM)
AUS 15 BROWN, Graeme (DRAPAC)
USA 16 MCCABE, Travis (TEAM SMARTSTOP)
POR 17 GUERREIRO, Ruben (AXEON CYCLING TEAM)
NED 18 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
BEL 19 HERMANS, Ben (BMC RACING)
USA 20 CARPENTER, Robin (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM)
General Classification after Stage 4
LAT 1 SKUJINS, Toms (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM) 18:10:57
SVK 2 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF – SAXO) + 22
CAN 3 BRITTON, Rob (TEAM SMARTSTOP) + 43
FRA 4 ALAPHILIPPE, Julian (ETIXX – QUICK STEP) + 44
COL 5 JARAMILLO DIEZ, Daniel Alexander (JAMIS – HAGENS BERMAN)
NED 6 GESINK, Robert (LOTTO NL – JUMBO) + 47
BEL 7 HERMANS, Ben (BMC RACING)
NZL 8 SMITH, Dion (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM)
USA 9 CRADDOCK, Lawson (GIANT – ALPECIN)
AUS 10 MCCARTHY, Jay (TINKOFF – SAXO)
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