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Roche sits tight in fifth as rain persists

Posted 12 June 2012

Persistent rain made for another testing day for Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) on stage four of the Tour de Suisse where he did well to protect his fifth place in the race GC.

Roche reached the finish in Trimbach/Olten in the first group of 57 riders, placing 23rd behind Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannodale) who romped to his third stage win in four days.
The stage was dominated by a nine-man breakaway who were 2’40” up over the first category climb of Scheltenpass after 80 kilometres of racing.
The danger man among the group was Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma Quickstep) who started the day just 1’15” down on race leader Rui Costa (Movistar).
Their lead had all but evaporated by the time the peloton closed in on the second category climb of Salhohe with little over 18 kilometres to the finish forcing Cataldo to go it alone.
He was soon caught as passed by Lars Peter Nordhaug (Sky) who led by a handful of seconds over the summit ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale).
The two chasers bridged to Nordhaug with six kilometres to go but their combined firepower did little to hold off the sprinters who shut them down within three kilometres.
Roche had ridden well on the two finishing climbs and on the treacherous descents to secure his place in the front group and he stayed clear of trouble as the fast men jockeyed for positions up front.
Sagan risked all once again and had the edge over Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) and Michael Albasini (Orica GreenEdge) on the finishing straight.
The GC remains unchanged. Costa maintains his eight seconds lead over Frank Schleck (RadioShack Nissan) while Roche sits tight in fifth place with 21 seconds deficit.
He will look to preserve that at the least on stage five from Olten/Trimbach to Gansingen where no less than six category three climbs are set to wear down the peloton before the uphill finish.
Tour de Suisse
Stage 4: Aarberg – Trimbach/Olten, 189 kilometres
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:36:55
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
3. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda
5.  Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana
6.  Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team
7.  Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8.  Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
9.  Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
10. Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team
23. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale – same time
General classification after stage 4:
1.  Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 15:43:52
2.  Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:08
3.  Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:15
4.  Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:19
5.  Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:21
6.  Thomas Löfkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
7.  Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
8.  John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
9.  Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:26
10. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda 0:00:29
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 21 seconds

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