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Mattias Skjelmose (Trek-Segafredo) took victory on stage 4 of the Etoile de Bessèges on the summit end at Mont Bouquet, taking the general race lead within the course of.
The Dane beat Neilson Powless (EF Schooling-EasyPost) in a two-up dash to take the victory. Additional again, at 13 seconds and 19 seconds, Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) trailed house in third and fourth locations, with no different rider ending inside a minute of the winner.
Earlier chief Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Dstny) could have overcome a hilly finale on stage 3 in Bessèges to take his second win of the race and third of the season, however the steep inclines of Mont Bouquet would show an excessive amount of for the younger Belgian. The sprinter fought admirably to complete in eighth on the stage and now lies fifth total, 1:19 down on Skjelmose.
The day, with its 5km-long summit end, would show among the many extra decisive of the five-day race, which had beforehand featured two flatter days and the neutralised second stage.
A quick begin noticed a small group briefly break free earlier than getting caught again, however with a menace of crosswinds the peloton sped alongside via the opening 50km of the 147.5km stage.
On the 40km mark, the winds blew exhausting, and the peloton broke up in consequence. A powerful lead group – together with Skjelmose, Powless, Latour, De Lie, Sivakov, and several other extra notable riders reminiscent of Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) – acquired up the street with a bonus of 40 seconds on the peloton.
It was this group which might go on to contest the ultimate, rising their lead as every kilometre handed as much as 1:30 on the halfway mark.
French squads Cofidis, Arkéa-Samsic, and Groupama-FDJ had been among the many groups main the chase again within the peloton, however their efforts wouldn’t be sufficient to deliver the leaders again earlier than Mont Bouquet, the place the hole was nonetheless over a minute on the base.
The climb noticed the top of the street for most of the sprinters and Classics males serving to pull the group alongside, together with Pedersen, who would win the combativity award for his efforts.
On the 9% slopes rearing as much as the end, it was Powless who struck first, scaling down the group as Skjelmose responded first. The pair had been joined within the lead by fellow climbers Sivakov and Latour, and, maybe extra surprisingly, De Lie.
Powless stored going, attacking as soon as extra, finally resulting in De Lie dropping away from the elite group 3km from the summit.
The US rider created a niche to his rivals, eking out round 10 seconds earlier than Skjelmose responded behind and leaving Latour and Sivakov behind. Except for Skjelmose and Powless on the entrance within the ultimate 2km, it was man vs man out on the mountain.
On the entrance, the pair rode collectively into the ultimate kilometre, content material to go away it to the ultimate metres and the dash to the road. In the long run it was Skjelmose who had the extra highly effective burst, passing Powless within the ultimate metres to take a transparent win, the third of his profession.
The 22-year-old now leads Powless by 4 second on the high of the overall classification heading into the ten.7km ultimate stage time trial in Alès. Latour lies third total at 22 seconds with Sivakov in fourth at a minute.
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