The 4th stage of the Criterium du Dauphine would provide a thrilling finish that saw a reduced peloton arrive at the finish for a bunch sprint. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) would triumph over Jonas van Genechten (IAM Cycling) and Luka Mezgec (Giant-Alpecin).
The team that had the most prominent presence over the closing kilometers would be our very own African team. With 2 early escapees up the road, the South African Champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg came to the head of the peloton with around 60km to go to start the chase. Jacques was soon joined by Steve Cummings and some of the Cofidis team members.
With 45km to go the 2 rider break still had a 5 minute lead which ensured the peloton really had to work hard to close the gap. After some more sterling work by Jacques, Steve and also Serge Pauwels over the final 25km’s, the original break were caught. With a lumpy and technical finish there were countless riders attacking from the front of the peloton. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was the only rider to get away and pose some sort of threat to the sprint hopefuls, but Serge made sure the race would come back together as MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rode to set up Edvald Boasson Hagen for the sprint.
Under the flamme rouge it was all together and Edvald had the reliable wheel of Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in front of him. Reinie did a super leadout at the head of the peloton while the sprint unfolded behind him. Edvald had to go the long way around Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale) who had jumped early but then veered from the left to the right side of the road. Bouhanni, Genechten and Mezgec who were behind Edvald were able to go left and took the first 3 spots. Edvald had to settle for 4th on the day after a superb team performance. Daniel Teklehaimanot had no trouble retaining his King of the Mountains jersey.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
The team did a really good job today keeping me upfront and leading me into the last climb of the day. All the guys were working really hard. The climb wasn’t so bad for me and it came down to the sprint. Reinie came back to the front after the climb to lead me out and he was great. It was a bit chaotic in the sprint and maybe I didn’t make the right decisions in those final seconds. So it wasn’t the best sprint from me, especially after the team did so well to pull the break back. The team is just getting so much stronger each day though which is a good sign with the tour coming up.
JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
The team did a great job today. Once again we were a team that was deciding what was happening in the race. We took control over the 2nd part of race to make sure there was a sprint. Bouhanni was just a bit faster at the finish but Edvald was riding really well and its a pity he missed out on the win because he is going so well. We can be happy with our performance though, the Dauphine is a high level race with lots of strong guys who are looking at the Tour de France in the next month so to be racing as well as we are certainly means something here. We are still in the mountains jersey as well so it was another good day for us.