• Rúben Silva

Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Preview

Peter Sagan won the third stage of the race, his 17th in the race in his career in a very strong sprint coming from a superb positioning into the final corner. The stage was calm in general, nothing to point out, the fight of the leadouts was heavily disputed and with a short ramp to the finish coming from a corner it was vital the positioning, Sagan placed himself on the wheel of Stuyven who was leading out Degenkolb and in the final sprint he had to trouble in keeping the gap he got in the corner, topping Viviani and Degenkolb in the sprint.

Positive: Sagan hasn't had an easy season so far, but with this win I can affirm he's back to his best, and just in time. He usually thrives in here and has the victory he needed, in convincing fashion. Plenty of good surprises in the Top10, with Cortina and Swift in 4th and 5th, Fabian Lienhard in 8th too.

Negative: Trentin and Kristoff were far from the front, perhaps the leadout really was an issue for them, more than expected, 11th and 12th respectively.

The Route

Stage 4 is another hilly one, this one much better suited for a breakaway. The stage isn't hard enough to dispatch all the sprinters I'd say, only if all the climbs are seriously forced and there's no stopping can it be prevented.

The final climb to Eichenberg is 3Km long at 7.4% which will make for a hard ascent and it will come with 19Km to go, and from there on there's some false flat roads tilting up before a steep descent into Arlesheim for the final 7Km in flatter roads.

The Weather

Quite warm, no wind. There may be a slight chance of some drips of rain towards the end of the stage but it's unlikely, should be a regular day in the pack.

The Favourites

It's another hilly stage that won't be easy to control, but perhaps easier than stage 2. The route doesn't feature such a hard climb repeatedly, there's some heavy climbing but it comes far from the finish, the main dificulty comes in those final 25 kilometers, but Sagan/Trentin/Matthews have been climbing well and surely their teams will have confidence in them, well, at least Bora will. CCC also was active in the chasing some days ago, a team like Bahrain would also be interested in a finish like this with Cortina and Mohoric as good men, so a breakaway I don't see making it to the line unless the main teams are there represented.

Matthews was there in both stages but failed the positioning in both of them. Sunweb is a team that always seems overpressured into delivering for him and they often seem to miss the chasing firepower, they're also having a rough season, Matthews isn't looking as sharp but at this point of the season he's eyeing the Tour more, hence the team will rely more on the others instead of taking the responsability if they're smart. Bora have the numbers to chase throughout the day, there are interests and he can manage it in the final climb as surely the real climbers won't attack, he'll be the man to beat I'd say.

Trentin missed today's finale but he was thirs in stage 2 confirming the legs are there, I'd say he can be there again tomorrow as it's a similar finale. As for Kristoff and Viviani, I think it's much harder, not impossible but only if the race is taken very softly and they find themselves in a big group where other teams can help. Same for Degenkolb, although very good today he doesn't really have the same top end as the others in the finish.

The finish, as Luis Leon Sanchez would agree, is suited for attacking once again, something the organizers really focused on this year. The Spaniard and the Basque Fraile looked very strong and I wouldn't be surprised on a repitition of the scenario, both of them look like they can take a win, as Matej Mohoric who will be attracted by that descent before the finish.

Riders like of course Stefan Kung or Kasper Asgreen, a multi-talent who can do the same or even in a sprint, Greg van Avermaet, Ben Swift are also riders to watch out, bit outsiders in the finale but in a sprint they can take it. Well, the Belgian may need a different scenario, but both are agressive riders who can also escape.

Prediction Time

Sagan, Trentin

Matthews, Asgreen, Cortina

Mohoric, van Avermaet, LL.Sanchez, Swift, Fraile, Viviani

I think a sprint is incoming, but that descent, the confusion that will certainly be set after the climb, there's a lot of terrain where some sneaky attacks may come. Asgreen is such a powerful rider, he is ideal for such a finish, and he also packs a sprint so in that scenario it's not ridiculous to consider.

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