Wiggins poised for thrilling Romandie finale

Wiggins poised for thrilling Romandie finale


Tour of Romandie
24-29 April 2012
28 April 2012 - Stage 4: Bulle - Sion 184km

Bradley Wiggins is second overall heading into Sunday's concluding time trial at the Tour de Romandie following a second stage victory for Luis Leon Sanchez.

Above: Wiggins had to relinquish yellow following a second stage win in as many days for Rabobank's Luis Leon Sanchez, leaving him just nine seconds adrift heading into the final TT stage. Image: Press Association

The Team Sky rider finished in the front group at the end of the 184km fourth stage from Bulle to Sion as Luis León Sánchez won for the second day in a row to take the leader's yellow jersey from Wiggins.

The Rabobank rider will take a nine seconds advantage into the undulating 16.5km time trial around Crans-Montana, with world TT silver medallist Wiggins his closest challenger and three-time world champion Rogers just a further seven seconds back in third.

It sets up an absorbing finale, with only 28 seconds separating the top 20 riders on the general classification.

Command performance

Team Sky's whole squad had once again produced a strong display to defend Wiggins' yellow jersey on what was the queen stage of the race.

A group of six riders had escaped from the peloton after 25 kilometres on the ascent of the Col des Mosses and, despite a block headwind, Team Sky made sure their advantage never went much above three minutes.

Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas, winner of the opening prologue, did much of the work on the front and with their job done they dropped out of the race before the final 50km which featured two category one climbs.

Their team-mates had to be vigilant throughout that testing finale and they reacted quickly when a dangerous-looking group of four riders broke clear of the main group just as the original escape group was splintering.

That quartet forced Team Sky to really put the hammer down between the 40km and 30km mark, with Danny Pate, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Chris Froome and Rogers combining to reel them in ahead of the final climb up to St-Martin.

The pace meant that only 50 riders or so were left by that point and a succession of attacks off the front were kept under control superbly by Richie Porte who set the perfect tempo at the front of the main group.

Fast finish

Heading down the sweeping descent before the flat run-in to Sion, Wiggins was perfectly positioned in a 12-man selection up front and he was soon joined again by Porte and Rogers who helped keep it all together.

Rabobank were also there in numbers and they were rewarded with the stage win as Sánchez notched a clear-cut triumph in the sprint from Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) and Branislav Samoilav (Movistar).

It's now all about the final 16.5km on Sunday which includes a 4.3km drag up to Aminona which is graded as first category.