By Cillian Kelly,
Dan Martin finished in the front group with all the big favourites on today's queen stage of the Tour de Romandie having endured an aggressive day's racing with constant attacking.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) took the honours at the finish line for the second day running and is now in the race leader's jersey.
With two category one climbs within 50 kilometres of the finish in Sion, the main peloton fell to pieces thanks to a flurry of attacks from some of the biggest names in the race. But Martin (Garmin-Barracuda) kept his cool to finish in 15th place as part of the first group which had been reduced to just 37 riders as they crossed the finish line.
Those riders who were active at the front of the race included many of the riders who are expected to challenge for the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Romain Kreuziger (Astana) were all responsible for igniting the toughest stage of this year's Tour de Romandie.
But as the race regrouped in the run-in to the finish, Sanchez proved, just as he did yesterday, that he was the strongest in the sprint to win his second consecutive stage.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) decided not to contest the sprint and as a result of the 10 second time bonus which Sanchez received for winning the stage, the Spaniard now leads the race by nine seconds over Wiggins. But with a 16.5km test against the clock to come, the British champion will be confident he can regain the leader's jersey and take it to the winner's podium tomorrow evening.
In finishing 15th in the dash to the line, Martin continues to show consistent good form. He now sits in 26th place overall, 32 seconds behind Sanchez with just tomorrow's individual time trial to come.
Matt Brammeier (Omega Pharma Quickstep) was not listed among the day’s finishers.
Tour de Romandie
Stage Four Tour de Romandie - Bulle-Sion (184km)
1. Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) 4:56:13
2. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
3. Branislau Samoilau (Movistar) s.t.
4. Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) s.t.
5. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) s.t.
6. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) s.t.
7. Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan) s.t.
8. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) s.t.
9. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) s.t.
10. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
15. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions) s.t.
General Classification after Stage Four
1. Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) 17:36:35
2. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) at 9 seconds
3. Michael Rogers (Team Sky) at 16 seconds
4. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) at 18 seconds
5. Stef Clement (Rabobank) s.t.
6. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Barracuda) at 20 seconds
7. Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank) s.t.
8. Simon Spilak (Katusha) at 21 seconds
9. Rui Costa (Movistar) at 22 seconds
10. Tiago Machado (RadioShack-Nissan) s.t.
26. Daniel Martin (Irl Garmin-Barracuda at 32 seconds