Cavendish Wins Stage 4 of Tour de Suisse and Martin Keeps Overall Lead
Team Omega Pharma - QuickStep's Mark Cavendish timed his sprint right and used an advantageous position to perfection in a hard fought, long distance sprint, which concluded the 160 kilometer stage 4 of this year's Tour de Suisse.
Teammate Tony Martin of Germany managed to hold on to his overall race lead.
Joining other sprinter teams, such as Cannondale and Giant-Shimano, the Omega Pharma - QuickStep team worked at the front of the main peloton for most of the stage, in an effort to reel in the breakaway group at just the right moment. The breakaway group was caught with 10 kilometers to go, following which the team escorted Cavendish to the front with a kilometer left of the stage.
Several top sprinters were in good position for the sprint and with 1 kilometer to go, commentators thought Omega Pharma - QuickStep had lost control of the stage as Team Giant-Shimano dominated the front in a build-up for their sprinter. Giant-Shimano's Luka Mezgec was at the front, setting a maximum pace, but when he pulled out to leave the scene open for John Degenkolb, he discovered that Degenkolb wasn't where he was supposed to be.
Instead Cavendish's teammate Mark Renshaw took advantage of Mezgec's work and delivered Cavendish, who knew the right moment to launch. Cavendish passed his competitors who went early on an uphill sprint into the wind, utilizing a second kick that no other rider could match. Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar - Canyon Bikes) finished second and Team Cannondale's Peter Sagan third. Obviously Sagan's form isn't yet where it's supposed to be for this year's Tour de France.
Tony Martin will have a 5th stage in yellow after staying near the front to protect his general classification leadership. Wednesday's stage 5 also leaves the possibility of a bunch sprint for the sprinters and hopes of keeping the race leader jersey for Martin.
"It was a headwind finish, and very chaotic in the peloton," stage winner Cavendish explained after being celebrated on the podium. "A lot of teams were trying to get it right. My team worked really hard to chase down the breakaway and stay in the front the entire day to protect me, they were really committed. Then, I followed Mark Renshaw in the final and Mark was incredible. He led me through the peloton, and put me in the position to lead it out."
"It was a headwind and uphill finish, so it was really about timing your sprint perfectly. I knew I had to go between 200 meters and 150 meters to go. So, I waited, and even though the others jumped before I still went at the right time. I was able to hold on until the finish."
"My main competitors of the 2014 Tour de France aren't here with the exception of Sagan, who will go for the green jersey, but maybe isn't a pure sprinter. But still, a win like this gives me confidence. I also have to thank my teammates today for taking care of me and then guiding me to the front at the right moment in the end. I'm proud of the guys and am happy to finish off their effort. We also kept the jersey with Tony so it’s a perfect day for the team."
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