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After a big battle between MTN-Qhubeka and Tinkoff-Saxo in the finale, Breschel held off Boasson Hagen in the uphill sprint on the morning stages of the Tour of Denmark; Bak defended the overall lead

Photo: Thomas Sjørup

EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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MAGNUS CORT

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MATTI BRESCHEL

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POSTNORD DANMARK RUNDT

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07.08.2015 @ 14:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Matti Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo) continued his impressive run of success when he made it two in a row at the Tour of Denmark by winning the uphill sprint on the morning stage of the fourth day. After a big battle between the MTN-Qhubeka and Tinkoff-Saxo trains, he held off Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) and Magnus Cort (Denmark) while Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal) finished safely in the bunch to defend his overall lead.

                                                                 

Matti Breschel is the most successful rider in the Tour of Denmark history. For some reason, the former Danish champion has a formidable ability to come out flying in the month of August and this has made his home race a happy hunting ground for him.

 

Yesterday Breschel continued his run of success in the Danish race when he won the queen stage in Vejle for the fourth time in his career. Today he confirmed his excellent condition when he won the uphill sprint on the morning stage

 

With 10km to go of the short 116km stage, the break had almost caught a 6-rider break that has escaped late in a very fast and hectic stage. The six escapees were just 10 seconds ahead and it was the Bardiani team that was chasing hard to set up Nicola Ruffoni for a sprint win

 

When the escapees were caught at the start of the penultimate lap of the 4km finishing circuit, it was Rasmus Mygind (Riwal) who escaped from the break and managed to build an advantage of 7-10 seconds. However, Bardiani kept him firmly under control, never allowing the gap to go out o more than 10 seconds.

 

With 2km to go, Tinkoff-Saxo took over and quickly brought Mygind back. Bardiani and Lotto Soudal also fought hard for position but it was the Russian team that came out on top.

 

Just before the flamme rouge, MTN-Qhubeka took over and Tinkoff-Saxo had to slot into second position behind the South African team. Edvald Boasson Hagen launched his usual long sprint but Breschel was in the perfect position and managed to come around the Norwegian while Magnus Cort completed the podium.

 

Lars Bak finished safely in the bunch and so defended his overall lead. The Lotto Soudal captain still has an advantage of 3 seconds over Marco Marcato (Wanty) who finished fourth and narrowly missed out on bonus seconds.

 

He takes that lead into the stage that is probably going to be decisive for the GC. In the evening, the riders will tackle a short, flat 13.6km time trial in Helsingør where Bak, Marcato and Christopher Juul (Tinkoff-Saxo) are likely to decide the podium spots in the Danish race.

 

A short stage

After yesterday’s queen stage, the terrain was significantly flatter in stage 4 which brought the riders over 115km from Slagelse to Frederiksværk. There were two small climbs on the mostly flat course and the stage ended with 3 laps of a 4.2km finishing circuit that included a 300m climb of 7% that led to the finish line.

 

It was a great sunny day in Denmark when the riders gathered for the start in Slagelse. All rider who finished yesterday’s stage were present and they got it off to a fast start.

 

Boom attacks

Right from the gun, Lars Boom (Astana) launched a first attack but he was quickly brought back. Instead 6 riders briefly managed to get clear but they had no success either. Meanwhile Luca Sterbini (Bardiani) abandoned.

 

Jacques van Rensbrug (MTN-Qhubeka) hit the deck and even though he managed to get back on his bike, he would later have to abandon. Meanwhile, the attacking continued until four riders managed to get clear.

 

13 riders get clear

Ruslan Tleubayev (Astana), Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka(), Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18) and Jonas Aaen (Riwal) laid the foundations for what would be the early break of the day when they got an advantage of 15 seconds at the 20km mark. Michael Valgren (Tinkoff-Saxo), Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka) and Søren Kragh Andersen (Trefor) bridged the gap to make it a seven-rider group with an advantage of 1.10.

 

More riders managed to join the move as Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Nathan Earle (Sky), Julien Morice (Europcar), Kenny De Ketele (Topsport), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18) and Mads Pedersen (Cult) also made it across to make it 13 riders. When Aaen beat Kragh, Tleubayev and Thwaites in the first KOM sprint, the gap was 1.20.

 

Bardiani take control

Aaen tried to escape from the front group but had no success and instead the escapees cooperated while Lotto controlled the peloton. Moments later, Aaen won the second KOM sprint aheasd of Tleubayev, Earle and Bos.

 

At this point the gap was still 1.30 but now Bardiani came to the fore. The Italian team accelerated hard and at the 55km mark, they had reduced the gap to just 50 seconds.

 

Tleubayev takes off

Roompot briefly took over from Bardiani before the Italians again took over. As the gap was down to 35 seconds just before the intermediate sprint, Tleubayev attacked and managed to take maximum points. Valgren was second and Kragh third.

 

The rest of the break decided to sit up while Tleubayev worked hard to maintain a 30-second advantage. He even managed to extend it to 40 seconds but it seemed to mission impossible. Meanwhile, Simon Bigum (Almeborg) crashed and he had to abandon the race.

 

A new break

At the 80km mark, Tleubayev was brought back but this didn’t stop Astana. Laurens De Vreese launched and immediate attack and he was joined by Brian Van Goethem (Roompot) and Rasmus Mygind (Riwal) to form a strong trio that had a 15-seconds advantage at the 83km mark. De Ketele, Martin Mortensen (Cult) and Michael Olsson (Trefor) joined them and those six riders extended their advantage to 30 seconds after 90km of racing.

 

The gap stayed around the 30-second mark for a while but Bardiani didn’t give them much leeway. When they hit the finishing circuit, Mortensen tried to attack but he was brought back shortly after the passage of the top.

 

Mortensen worked hard in the front group but the gap was down to 10 seconds with 11km to go. Bardiani were still chasing hard and while Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) left the race, it all came back together for the expected bunch sprint.

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