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In a rainy bunch sprint in Odense, Guardini proved that he is the fastest rider in the Tour of Denmark by holding off Van Asbroeck and Fortin for his second victory; Boaro retained his lead

Photo: Sirotti








09.08.2014 @ 12:32 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Andrea Guardini (Astana) has again proved that he is the fastest rider in the Tour of Denmark by winning the morning stage 4 in a rainy bunch sprint. The Italian took a comfortable victory by holding off Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Filippo Fortin (Bardiani) while Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained his overall lead.


Going into the Tour of Denmark, Andrea Guardini hadn’t won a race in Europe since the 2012 Giro d’Italia but now he seems to finally have left his many disappointments behind. Having already won stage 2, the Italian added the short stage 4 to his tally by taking a dominant sprint win in the rainy city of Odense.


All day he and his Astana teammates hid in the peloton and made sure to stay attentive in the windy conditions while allowing Tinkoff-Saxo, Lotto Belisol and Bardiani to do the work. A strong front duo nearly derailed their plans as they were only brought back inside the final kilometre but it came down to the expected bunch sprint. Here Guardini proved to be in a class of his own and easily beat Tom Van Asbroeck and Filippo Fortin.


The stage was a be a short, intense opener of a tough day that will end in the evening with the decisive time trial and brought the riders over just 100km from Nyborg to Odense. Only a single categorized climb could potentially challenge the riders and the main difficulties were the narrow road and the windy and rainy conditions that greeted the riders right from the start.


One rider didn’t take the start as Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Belisol) had to give up after crashing in stage 1. The remaining 105 riders got off to a pretty calm start as the first attack was the one that stuck.


Christopher Williams (Novo Nordisk) accelerated after 2km of racing and at the 6km mark Mikkel Mortensen (Riwal) and Daniel Foder (TreFor) had joined him. The trio started to build an advantage that reached 2 minutes when Williams won the only intermediate sprint at the 22km mark.


The peloton hit a crosswind section where Cult upped the tempo and this brought the gap down to 1.35. As things calmed down a bit, the escapees extended their advantage to 3.30 while Tinkoff-Saxo took control in the peloton.


Mortensen beat Williams in the only KOM sprint while Alessandro Bazzana (Unitedhealthcare) scored the final two points on offer to protect the lead of his teammate John Murphy. Moments later, the peloton again hit a windy section and the increased pace brought the gap down to 1.45.


A big crash brought down several riders, including sprinter Alex Rasmussen (Riwal), but all riders got back on their bikes. The peloton calmed down a bit and Tinkoff-Saxo again hit the front to keep the gap stable at around 1.30.


With 22km to go, Mortensen got dropped from the front group and now Lotto Belisol had taken over the pace-setting. The Belgian team reduced the advantage and at the first passage of the finish line with 9km to go, the peloton was just 23 seconds behind.


Bardiani now took over the pace-setting and the Italian team responded to the attacks that were launched on the circuit. However, they had a hard time catching the front duo who maintained a 20-second advantage.


Entering the final 3km lap, however, the gap had come down to 5 seconds but the front duo managed to pass the flamme rouge before the peloton brought them back. In the bunch sprint, Guardini took a very comfortable victory, holding off Van Asbroeck and Fortin.


Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) finished safely in the bunch and so retained his 18-second lead over Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Belisol). The Italian is expected to extend his advantage in the evening when he tackles the decisive flat 15km time trial.



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