Mountain Stage 4 of Tour de Suisse showed that Jan Hirt hasn’t recovered fully after very successful Giro d’Italia and was not able to contest the final climb.
Info: Stage 4, June 13th, Bern – Villars-sur-Ollon, 143,2km
Course: mountain stage, mountain top finish (Col des Mosses –13.7km long, avg. 4%, cat.1; Villars-sur-Ollon – 11,1km, 7.6%, HC)
How it unfolded
After very fast opening of the stage, four riders were able to go clear – Lars Boom (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), Lawrence Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) and Nick Van der Lijcke (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij). They were adding to their advantage until 82km into the stage, when the gap was at 8 minutes.
On cat. 1 climb to Col des Mosses, Boom got dropped and the bunch reduced the differential to 5 minutes. In the descent the pace in the bunch was very high, since some teams of GC contenders wanted to position their leaders for the decisive ascent, Villars-sur-Ollon (cat.HC).
At the bottom of the climb the escapees had 4 minutes in hand, but that lead was shrinking with every stroke of the pedal. Also the leading group was getting shattered and in the end it was Warbasse who left everyone behind. American was able to hold off the chasers and exhausted reached the finish line 40 seconds ahead of 2nd Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing), who is the new yellow jersey wearer, and 3rd Steven Kruijsvijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).
Jan Hirt took on the HC ascent with the race favorites, but eventually he had to let go with 5km to go. He lost contact with the pack around 5km from the top, alongside Giro d’Italia winner, Tom Dumoulin. Czech was 37th on the stage, 6:27 back.