Chris Froome delivered a commanding performance on the Queen stage of the 2013 Tour de Romandie to extend his lead at the top of the general classification with one stage remaining.
The Team Sky leader finished second at the end of the 188.5km stage from Marly to Les Diablerets after gifting the victory to breakaway companion, Simon Spilak (Katusha).
Froome, winner already this season of the Tour of Oman and the Criterium International, now leads the race by 47 seconds after a stage held in conditions so severe that organisers were forced to change the route.
The Kenyan-born Brit proved offered effusive praise for his team-mates, but when the chips went down on the final climb, he proved more than capable of shaping his own destiny, hauling in a breakaway before riding clear with Spilak.
Froome said: “Everyone did a super job and, for me, it was just to follow Spilak over the last climb. Once we were over the top, I think both of us understood very quickly that my objective was the general classification and his objective was to go for the stage win, so we worked well together and took a good advantage coming into the final [kilometre].”
Spilak, enjoying a fine season after missing out on the podium at the Tour of the Basque Country by a single second, is now second on GC, ahead of Movistar’s Rui Costa, who finished third on the stage and is now third overall. The Portugese later Tweeted about the severity of the stage.
Tomorrow’s closing test will see the riders race against the clock on an 18.6km course on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Tour de Romandie 2013: stage four – result
1) Simon Spilak (SLO) – Katusha – 5.10
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – ST
3) Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar +1.03
4) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar – ST
5) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling
6) Carlos Betancur (COL) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
7) Marcel Wyss (SUI) – IAM Cycling
8) Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
9) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Radioshack-Leopard
10) Igor Anton (ESP) – Euskaltel-Euskadi
1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 19.03.10
2) Simon Spilak (SLO) – Katusha +47″
3) Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar – 1.21
4) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Radioshack-Leopard +1.22
5) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +1.26
6) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar – ST
7) Tom Danielson (USA) – Garmin-Sharp
8) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling – 1.27
9) Carlos Betancur (COL) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – 1.28
10) Marcel Wyss (SUI) – IAM Cycling – 1.43