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Frenchman sprints hard to enter final crucial corner in first position and narrowly hold off Matthew Goss to take the win in first sprint stage in the Tour de Suisse

Photo: Sirotti








11.06.2013 @ 19:20 Posted by Asser H. Pelle

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) had studied the roadbook closely and sprinted hard to enter the final left-hand bend in first position before accelerated violently in the final 200m of stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse. Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) came fast from behind but the stage was just a little bit too short for the Australian to beat his French rival while Mathias Frank (BMC) finished safely in the bunch to defend the overall lead in his big home tour.


On numerous occasions during his first two seasons as a professional, Arnaud Demare has shown that he is one of the future sprint stars in professional cycling, having taken the Vattenfall Cyclassics as his biggest win to date. Today, he finally took his first stage win in a big WorldTour stage race as he narrowly held off Matthew Goss at the end of the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse.


Everybody knew that the final left-hand corner with just 200m to go would be crucial and that the winner would be one of the first three riders through that bend. As the peloton picked up the last of the day's early escapees Jens Voigt (Radioshack) inside the final 2km of the stage, the battle for position was intense as everybody knew that positioning was more crucial than actual sprinting power.


With Voigt back into the fold, Team Sky took control with Bernhard Eisel and Gabriel Rasch, the British team wanting to set up Ben Swift for the win. Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff) - working for Daniele Bennati - was next in line but moments later, control was taken by the formidable Orica-GreenEdge lead-out train.


Baden Cooke, Daryl Impey and Goss were now perfectly positioned at the front of the peloton while Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) firmly had grabbed the wheel of his Australian rival. However, William Bonnet did a fantastic job to bring Demare into position and he dropped his sprinter off just behind Farrar.


Cooke had now finished his work and Impey sprinted hard to get through the final corner in first position. Just before the bend, Demare opened a sprint to pass the Orica-GreenEdge riders and went head to head with Farrar who had the same plan. The Frenchman came out triumphant, entering the corner ahead of Goss and Farrar and immediately put down the hammer.


While the American was no match to the speed of the Frenchman, Goss produced a strong sprint and for a moment he seemed to have a good chance of passing his younger rival. The stage was, however, a few meters too short for the Australian and he had to settle for 2nd with Farrar rounding out the podium.


Mathias Frank finished safely in the peloton and defended his 23-second lead over Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff). He hopes to defend that position in tomorrow's fifth stage which could be another one for the sprinters despite the presence of numerous category 4 climbs in the final part and a slight 4% incline on the final 500m.


Starting at 16.55 you can follow the action on


Voigt on the attack

The 178,4km fourth stage form Innertkirchen to Buochs had a rather flat profile and appeared to be the first chance for the numerous sprinters in the race to show off their legs. Hence, it was no surprise that very few riders had any desire to join the day's early move.


As a consequence, three riders escaped from the gun and Voigt, Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel) and Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol) were allowed to build up a gap of more than 4 minutes while the BMC team of race leader Frank set a moderate tempo in the peloton.


Sprinters' teams chase

However, the sprinters' teams did not want to risk anything and so they started to chase very early. Michel Koch (Cannondale), Tom Peterson (Argos-Shimano) and Jeremy Roy (FDJ) did much of the early work as they hoped to see their sprinters Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb and Demare take the win, respectively.


They closed the gap down a little but for most of the stage, it was kept constant between the 3 and 4 minute marks. Meanwhile, Vrecer picked up maximum points on the day's first category 2 climb.


Boonen is ambitious

As they approached, the day's second of those ascents inside the final 50km of the race, the three chasers in the peloton upped the pace and the gap came down to just around two minutes. Just before the climb, Omega Pharma-Quick Step team hit the front with Kevin De Weert to make sure that their sprinter Tom Boonen started the ascent in a front position but as soon as the road started to point upwards, the pace slowed considerably down and the gap stabilized for a long time.


Up ahead, Kaisen was unable to keep up with his companions and Vrecer had to dig deep to stay in Voigt's wheel as the veteran German proved his strength on the steep slopes. On the top, Vrecer did find some energy to pass Voigt and move himself into the lead in the mountains classification.


IAM leads down the descent

Marcel Wyss (IAM) moved clear to pick up the remaining points while he joined teammate Martin Elmiger on the front of the peloton on the descent. They picked up Kaisen but when they once again hit flat roads, the peloton slowed down and BMC started to control proceeding.


Cannondale, Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma-Quick Step were, however, not content with status quo and they started to chase hard. Paolo Longo Borghini, Peterson and De Weert took some huge turns while the gap started to come down rapidly. They were later joined by Ted King, Bert Grabsch and Kristof Vandewalle and those six riders were setting the pace for most of the final 25km of the stage.


The gap stabilizes

With 15km to go, the gap was only 1 minute but when it was down to 30 seconds with 7km to go, the front duo stabilized it for some time, and for a brief moment they appeared as having a slim chance of making it all the way to the finish. A train passed a railroad crossing just in time for Voigt and Vrecer to get through and they only had to slow down for a few seconds.


Voigt attacks

With 5km to go, Voigt decided to leave Vrecer behind as the gap had once again started to come down and the German stabilized it at 20 seconds. Argos-Shimano and Cannondale had now run out of firepower and instead it was left to De Weert to close the gap.


Orica-GreenEdge saw the danger and added Stuart O'Grady to the chasing team and as the battle for position intensified, Voigt had to give up. 2nd-placed Kreuziger took a huge turn on the front, catching Voigt in the process before he swung off and left the work to Team Sky.


Moments later Orica-GreenEdge hit the front but the Australian team had to settle for second behind a wily Demare who knew just how crucial the final corner would be.



1. Arnaud Demare 4.08.23

2. Matthew Goss

3. Tyler Farrar

4. John Degenkolb

5. Alexander Kristoff

6. Heinrich Haussler

7. Peter Sagan

8. Jens Debusschere

9. Davide Cimolai

10. Jacopo Guarnieri


General classification:

1. Mathias Frank 11.48.01

2. Roman Kreuziger +0.23

3. Rui Costa +0.35

4. Giovanni Visconti +0.53

5. Thibaut Pinot +0.57

6. Bauke Mollema +1.08

7. Daniel Martin +1.23

8. Tanel Kangert +1.26

9. Jean-Christophe Peraud +1.28

10. Tejan Van Garderen +1.32


Points classification:

1. Arnaud Demare 25

2. Peter Sagan 24

3. Bauke Mollema 23

4. Mathias Frank 22

5. Heinrich Haussler 20


Mountains classification:

1. Robert Vrecer 19

2. Roman Kreuziger 12

3. Jens Voigt 12

4. Olivier Kaisen 10

5. Mathias Frank 8


Sprint classification:

1. Enrique Sanz 13

2. Robert Vrecer 9

3. Jens Voigt 7

4. Hayden Roulston 6

5. Niki Terpstra 6


Teams classification:

1. Astana 35.29.43

2. Movistar +0.30

3. Ag2r +0.32

4. BMC +1.44

5. IAM +3.00



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