Porte Climbs to Second on Tour de Romandie Queen Stage29. April 2017, Leysin (SUI) — Road Team
It was billed as a day for the General Classification contenders, and Tour de Romandie stage 4 didn't disappoint with Richie Porte locked in a two-way battle on the final climb before taking second place on the stage and moving into a podium position on the General Classification.
It was a fast start to the day with several early breakaway attempts trying to go clear. But, it wasn't until after 30km, of the 163.5km course, that eight riders were able to extend an advantage over the bunch.
The gap continued to rise, and as the breakaway reached the first of four categorized climbs, the Col du Jaun, it had started to hover around 4 minutes. However, with gradients of up to 10.5%, the climb quickly saw the peloton cut into the advantage of the race leaders.
With 60km to go, the remaining five leaders were sitting less than three minutes ahead of the peloton. A group of six others attempted to bridge the gap but they were eventually reeled back by the bunch as Michael Schär moved up to the front to help drive the chase.
With 20km to go, the pace began to increase with the General Classification contenders, including Porte and Tejay van Garderen, being drawn out at the front of the bunch as they headed over the summit.
A fast descent soon followed with a group of seven going clear and joining the last remaining breakaway rider, Mikaël Cherel (AG2R La Mondiale), at the front of the race.
They group was sitting just under one minute ahead of the peloton as they began the final 6km ascent to Leysin, which peaked out at 8.5% before leveling off over the final kilometer.
With 4km to go, Porte attacked off the front of the peloton and looked powerful as he made light work of bridging across to the three remaining leaders.
Porte continued to push on at the front of the race with Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) locked onto his wheel as they headed under the flamme rouge and towards the final kick up to the line.
As the finish line came into view, Porte continued to set a hard pace but, with just 50m to go, Yates launched his final sprint, moving around Porte to narrowly take the stage win.
Porte now sits second overall on the General Classification, 19 seconds behind Yates, heading into tomorrow's final time trial.
Behind them, Tejay van Garderen was successfully covering any moves from the bunch before he was also able to distance himself from the group to finish fourth on the line in Leysin.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"At the bottom of the final climb, Danilo Wyss and Nicolas Roche just exploded the race, and then we knew it was time to go. It was a little earlier than expected but in the end, it was the right time. I am happy with today's result. Tejay van Garderen did a great job covering the wheels behind and making sure the other guys didn't chase too hard. It's early season for me, but I am definitely happy with this team and the faith they have shown in me."
"Tomorrow we have a good time trial, and we will see how that goes. We didn't come here to finish second, but we will just have to see what happens. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) is obviously climbing well, but it's also a great time trial for me. It's going to be hard, but I'm ready for that."
Tejay van Garderen:
"The legs were good today. Richie Porte hit out early on the climb so, I was left marking the moves behind. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale - Drapac) went at one point, so did Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) but I didn't have to work with them as we had Richie up the road. Then on the final kick, I was able to attack away from them on my own."
"Even though the climbs weren't too hard today, this was a good stage in terms of my preparation for the Giro d'Italia. It was a fast start and full power all day. Now, it's about seeing what I can do at the TT tomorrow and then resting up."
"I finished the stage to learn that Chad Young from Axeon Hagens Berman died at 21 years old from injuries sustained at Tour of Gila. I wish I had the opportunity to get to know him, as he sounded like an exceptionally genuine young man, and an amazing athlete. It's just devastating and I pray for his family."
Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
"It was a smart move from Yates and hats off to him on a great win but Richie was amazing today. The way he bridged across to the leading group and took around 50 seconds out of most of the GC rivals was incredible. Now, he is 19 seconds behind, and we will see what happens tomorrow, but I have every confidence in him."
"We have seen that Tejay van Garderen is riding well this week and it was a good move from him to anticipate the bunch. It is also a good TT for him so we look to see if he can also move up into the top ten overall."
Tour de Romandie
Stage 4: Domdidier > Leysin, 163.5km
Top 3: 1. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) 2. Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) 3. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Richie Porte 4. Tejay van Garderen 59. Danilo Wyss
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.