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73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 4
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 6/16/2009
73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 4

73rd Tour de Suisse - Stage 4
The Break of Nine Succeeds! Saxo Bank's Matti Breschel takes stage in
Stäfa. Ag2r la Mondiale's Slovenian Tadej Valjavec takes the yellow jersey as the top of the G.C. crumbles like a house of cards...


Stage 4: Biasca - Stäfa   197 km
Saxo Bank's Matti Breschel won the sprint of nine survivor of the stage long break of 27 riders today in Stäfa. Astana's Maxim Iglinskiy and Tadej Valjavec of Ag2r la Mondiale filled out the top steps of the podium in that order. Andy Schleck sent up the road to baby sit the mini peloton that escaped at 8 kilometers finished 4th with Swiss Liquigas rider Olivier Zaugg filling out the top 5.

Matti Breschel takes the win over Maxim Iglinskiy and Tadej Valjavec on the far left.  Milram's Peter Velits and Liquigas' Olivier Zaugg follow in the background. 

The big winner of the day was Ag2r's Slovenian Tadej Valjavec who took the yellow jersey off of Fabian Cancellara when the Saxo Bank and other teams plans back fired sending riders up the road and not participating in the chase until the closing kilometers when the break of 27 split from attacks on the final climb of the Sattelegg, about 40 km from the finish.

Rabobank who had no riders in the group led the chase, as Cancellara and Saxo Bank sat on with their two watchdogs on the front. Later Astana team of favorite German Andreas Klöden would get active in the chase up the Gotthard pass. The two teams led the effort to rein in the 27 fugitives but got no help from the other teams until the final 17 kilometers from the finish when the other teams  realized that the there was a possibility that their positions on the G.C. were in jeopardy...

Too little, too late was the case with the peloton finishing over a minute behind. Katusha's Pippo Pozzato and Milram's Gerald Ciolek led the peloton home at 1:03 in that order to sprint for tenth place; the honor went to the Italian. But not so bad for Milram either, placing three riders in the top 11.

The sprint for tenth place: Yahueni Hutarovich, Fllipo Pozzato, Gerald Ciolek and Davide Viganò.

The finish rewrote the top of the General Classification with the former yellow jersey Cancellara's team mate Andy Schleck in second place at one second and Milram's Peter Velits in third at 11 seconds.

An excellent day for the top French team Ag2r with two riders in the top ten  and the race lead. Milram likewise could be satisfied with two of their "Milkmen" jumping to 3rd and 4th on the G.C. with Austrian Thomas Rohregger 4th, joining Velits at 3rd. Liquigas.Swiss man Olivier Zaugg made the jump to 5th in the rankings at 14 seconds just ahead of fellow countryman Fabian Cancellara.

Garmin's Huub Duyn suffers on the cobbled climb of the Gotthard pass.

Three Milram riders Peter Velits, Thomas Rohregger and Johannes Fröhlinger made the jump to the mini peloton that attacked after 6 kms. Joining them were: Saxo Bank duo Matti Breschel and Andy Schleck, Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam),  2 Astanas, Maim Iglinskiy and Dmitriy Muravyev. Liquigas' Olivier Zaug and Ivan Santaromita, two Ag2r la Mondiale riders: Alexander Efimkin and Tadej Valjavec. Silence/Lotto offered up three to the break matching Milram:Johan Van Summeren, Greg Avermaet, and Fracis De Greef.

 The Singles representatives in the adventurers group were: Garmin's Huub Duyn,  Quick Steps Sylvain Chavanel,  Columbia's Tony Martin (current KOM), Andrey Amador Bipkazacova (Caisse d'Epargne), Katusha's Sergey Klimov, Euskaltel's  Markel Irizar, Lampre's serial attacker -Francesco Gavazzi , FdJeux's  Jérémy Roy, Cofidis' Maryan Hary, Fuji's Robert Kiserlovski, and local Silvère Ackermann  of Austrian teamVorarlberg-Corratec.

Columbia's Tony Martin in the pink jersey of the climbers competition.

The group stayed together over the Gotthardpass where Iglinskiy took the max point followed by KOM leader Tony Martin,  on the Sattlelegg group shattered from the attacks; at the summit with 44 km to go Martin led protecting his lead in the climbers contest followed by Iglinskiy and Valjavec, Zaugg and Schleck. Martin only 41 seconds down on Cancellara was dropped after that and was caught along with the 18 other riders that did not make the selection, on the way to the finish.

The nine at the front worked well together while Rabobank led the chase behind joined by Astana later and crossed over the Sattlegg at almost three minutes down.  The race was on in the final 35 km as Astana took control of the front and started absorbing the dropped riders trying to close the gap.


But the nine had 1:45 as they approached the finish as first Ag2r's Valjavec a furious attack with 5 km to go, it didn't hold and Milram's Rohregger countered making an ill timed effort with 2 km to go. The milkman was caught with 150 meters to go and passed by Saxo Banks Matti Breschel who took the stage win.

New Leader Tadej Valjavec slips into his yellow jersey. 

Wednesday features another difficult stage. The 203 kilometers from Stäfa to Serfaus, Austria has four ranked climbs climbs with a mountain top finish. We can expect all the big dogs to attack on the final climb and attempt to rearrange the general classification... but Tadej Valjavec a strong climber won't go easily and he's team has sworn to defend his yellow jersey with their "whole heart."

Top ten for the day and GC and team comments below. Links to previous reports and photos below that.

 Stage Top Ten Result
1 Matti Breschel (DEN) Team Saxo Bank
2 Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ) Astana
3 Tadej Valjavec (SLO) AG2R La Mondiale

4 Peter Velits (SVK) Team MILRAM
5 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank
6 Olivier Zaugg (SUI) Liquigas
7 Alexander Efimkin (RUS) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Thomas Rohregger (AUT) Team MILRAM
9 Robert Kiserlovsky (CRO) Fuji-Servetto 0:05
10 Filippo Pozzato (ITA) Katusha 1:03
11 Gerald Ciolek (GER) Team MILRAM

General classification After Stage 3
1 Tadej Valjavec (SLO) AG2R La Mondiale
2 Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank + 2
3 Peter Velits (SVK) Team MILRAM + 11

4 Thomas Rohregger (AUT) Team MILRAM + 13
5 Olivier Zaugg (SUI) Liquigas + 14
6 Fabian Cancellara (SUI) Team Saxo Bank + 20
7 Robert Kiserlovsky (CRO) Fuji-Servetto + 29
8 Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ) Astana + 42
9 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas + 42
10 Andreas Klöden (GER) Astana + 45

Team Comments
Ag2r la Mondiale
Tadej Valjavec Leader of the Tour of Switzerland

A breakaway of 26 riders emerged after only 10 km of racing. There were among them the Slovenian Valjavec and his teammate, Alexander Efimkin. Tadej Valjavec attacked in the last kilometers, but in vain, he finally took 3rd place in a stage behind Dane Matti Breschel.

No stage victory for Tadej Valjavec but a beautiful yellow jersey as the team Ag2r la Mondiale will defend to the heart of tomorrow with an arrival at the summit. This performance comes on the day of the launch of the new jersey of the team that will be raised from the Tour de France. A good omen for new colors ...

Saxo Bank
Stage Win for Matti Breschel - Andy Schleck Second Overall

Fabian Cancellara was sitting in the peloton and he had launched his two teammates from Team Saxo Bank, Andy Schleck and Matti Breschel to supervise the events of today's major breakaway of27 riders. The worst threat to the jersey in the group was Tadej Valjavec (Alm). Towards the end of the stage the two Team Saxo Bank riders split the front group several times by keeping a high pace. Andy Schleck even made a pass on the jersey underway by winning the last two bonus sprints before the finish line.

Fabian Cancellara finishes.

With six kilometres to go, the actual fight for the stage win commenced and the riders tried to break lose in turn. At last Matti Breschel put the icing on the cake for Team Saxo Bank and their dominance on the fourth stage of Tour de Suisse by winning in front of Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) and Tadej Valjavec (Alm). Andy Schleck is now second overall where Tadej Valjavec (Alm) is the man in the lead.

First words from the stage winner Matti Breschel, "The perfect scenario would have been Andy and Gustav in the break to have one more in the GC and to save strength in the front group. We stayed away from the wind on the first 150 kilometres and that is one of the benefits of having the yellow jersey in the peloton. In the final I barely managed to pull my self over the last climb. Finally, I was unsure whether I could take the stage when I closed a gap 400 meters to go with a huge series of cramps as a result. 200 meters from the line Iglinskiy, my worst competitor, fortunately opened the sprint and eventually I could squeeze myself by him.”

And sports director, Kim Andersen, was naturally happy to see his plans realized, "It was a good day and we got what we came for. This morning we agreed that we should have Andy and another rider in the long break to have an alibi for not working in front of the peloton and we got what we wanted. It is ok to pass on the jersey now so we are not bound to be working the next few days now that both Matti and Andy have been away throughout the day. Now Andy is well-positioned in the GC where I expect that he will meet particularly severe resistance from Valjavec when we are moving uphill again.”

Team Milram just missed a win in the fourth stage, but made up ground on the overall rankings. Peter Velits finished fourth and Thomas Rohregger eighth. They are now third and fourth overall, behind the new leader, Slovenaian Tadej Valjavec (AG2r). The stage win, which included one mountain of the Hors Categorie on the Sankt Gotthard as well as another climb in Sattelegg, went to Dane Matti Breschel of Team Saxo Bank. He won the sprint of an eight-man group ahead of Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) and Tadej Valjavec (AG2r).

"That was a very strong performance from Thomas Rohregger. He went full out and risked it all again in the finale,“ said Christian Henn, Team MILRAM's Directeur Sportif in Switzerland. "Unfortunately it didn't work out for either the stage win or the yellow jersey. We will continue to fight and attack in the coming days."

Blue & Fucsia rider Francesco Gavazzi, another aggressive day.

Francesco Gavazzi seems to like the Swiss streets road just fine getting away with the break today; but on the Sattelegg climb some riders along with Gavazzi too lost contact with 9 riders who would decide the race. Gavazzi finished the bunch (51st at 1'04"), while Tiralongo was the best for Lampre-NGC (29th).

"What a pity for Gavazzi, who was having good feelings but suffered on the last climb, losing his high chances of victory - Lampre-NGC's sport director Brent Copeland said - I saw a calm Cunego, who will test his fitness in tomorrow stage, and a good Ballan, who is riding better and better".

Cervélo TestTeam
"Early in the race we had a breakaway of 27 riders including Heinrich Haussler," said Sports Director Marcello Albasini. "After the Gothard Pass, they had a 3 minute gap and Rabobank started the chase in the peloton because they missed the breakaway. Then, on the last climb of the day with 50 km to go, the breakaway split in two parts and Heinrich was unfortunately in the second group. In the front group were 9 riders who managed to stay away to the finish where Breschel from Saxo Bank took the stage victory. Because of the split in the break, we decided to help Rabobank to try to bring the peloton closer to the breakaway groups, but ultimately, there was a large time gap at the finish. It was not the best day and we lost some time with our GC riders. We thought that we were in a good position with Heinrich in the breakaway, but unfortunately he didn't make it today."

73rd Tour de Suisse - 2009 Stages
June 13 - 21
Stage 1:Mauern  - Rugell (Lichtenstein) ITT 7.8 km
Stage 2: Davos - Davos   150 km
Stage 3 Davos - Lumino  195 km
Stage 4: Biasca - Stäfa   197 km
Stage 5: Stäfa - Serfaus (AUT)  202 km ^^^
Stage 6: Oberriet - Bad Zurzach, 178 km
Stage 7: Bad Zurzach - Vallorbe Juraparc  204 km
Stage 8: Le Sentier - Crans Montana   182 km^^^
Stage 9: Bern - Bern  ITT  39 km
Total length: 1,355 kilometres
Race Website  
 72nd Tour de Suisse - 2008 Tour of Switzerland
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