Spilak claims Romandie stage, letdown for Sagan
Chatel: Simon Spilak gave Slovenia a first ever stage win on the Tour de Romandie on Saturday but Slovak Peter Sagan was left with egg on his face in the pouring rain after mistakenly thinking he had won.
Lampre rider Spilak attacked twice in the finale of the hilly 157.9-kms 4th stage from Vevey, on the banks of Lake Geneva, to finish 13 seconds ahead of Sagan, the first stage winner, who raised his arms in joy thinking he had made it two in this edition.
The heavy rain, which poured from start to finish, made for a hard, lively ride and can explain why Sagan did not see Spilak scoot clear.
Yellow jersey holder Michael Rogers was more attentive. The Australian reacted when closest rival Alejandro Valverde of Spain went chasing for bonus time in the last intermediate sprint of the day.
Valverde took one second off Rogers, but the Columbia team leader salvaged his yellow jersey by the narrowest margin. Spilak is now third overall, five second adrift.
"It's a great joy as it's my first victory of the year. I'm tired and I'll see how the others feel tomorrow to decide whether I can go for victory," said Spilak.
With Russia's Vladimir Karpets fourth, only seven seconds adrift, the race is extremely close ahead of the final 121.8-kms mountain stage around Sion.
Saturday's fourth stage started without Briton Mark Cavendish, who was withdrawn by his Columbia team for his two finger salute at the end of the second stage in Fribourg.