Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the rest of the peloton in Tour de Suisse were in for a tough day in the saddle on the mountainous stage 4 of the race. On the final climb, Merhawi Kudus did well to take 17th place, which saw him move into Top20 overall.
After a fast start to the day with multiple breakaway attempts, four riders ultimately managed to distance the peloton and create a significant gap. Halfway through the stage, the quartet had built up a gap of over seven minutes on the pack, who didn’t seem too concerned about breakaway. The distance started to shorten on the penultimate climb but at the top, the gap was still over five minutes. On the following descent and run-in towards the final climb, the high pace in the peloton cut off another minute of the gap. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did well to position Kudus near the front as the group of favorites took on the challenging ascent towards the finishing line.
At the front of the race, the breakaway quickly came down to just one lone rider; Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport). The pre-stage favorites set a furious pace in the chase group but they never managed to catch Warbasse who ended up soloing to victory. Kudus fought hard on the steep gradients to stay within contention and at the end, he crossed the line in 17th place, which is also his spot in the general classification. Damiano Caruso (BMC) finished second on the stage and moved into the overall lead.
Unfortunately, during the course of the stage our African Team lost Reinardt Janse van Rensburg to illness. Our South African Champion was up all night last night with stomach cramps and while he started today’s stage, it was not possible to finish.
Bingen Fernández – Sports director:
“Today, we tried to put Nic [Dougall] in the breakaway. It didn’t happen and at the end, four guys managed to get away and we started to focus on protecting our climbers instead. The guys placed them in a good position at the foot of the final climb and Merhawi [Kudus] did well to take 17th place”.