2024 Tour de Suisse Stage Four – Race Report

How the race finished

Demi Vollering (SD Worx Protime) claimed the final stage and the overall General Classification win in an aggressive final day in the Tour de Suisse. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek) finished in second place on the stage, but it wasn’t enough to edge third place finisher Neve Bradbury (Canyon//Sram Racing) out of second spot on the General Classification.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Not unlike the preceding stages, the final stage of the Tour de Suisse started with a 10km long climb up the Col des Etroits. With the teams identifying how difficult it was for SD Worx Protime to control things yesterday, and small time gaps between the first five riders on GC, there was a lot of motivation in the teams to shake things up.

Before the first climb Nina Kessler (EF Education Cannondale) and Eline Jansen (Volkerwessels) clipped off the front. Kessler had the potential to provide valuable support up the road for 5th placed Kim Cadzow, so the peloton seemed wary of letting them go. At 115km to go, Lidl-Trek came to the front and increased the pace, bringing Kessler and Jansen back.

By 106km to go, approaching the top of the climb, the peloton had been whittled down to around 30 riders. The high pace along with the hard days earlier in the week were taking their toll. At the top of the climb, Gaia Realini (Lidl Trek) took the maximum QOM points, ahead of Antonia Neidermeier (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek). QOM classification leader Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) had already done enough to win the overall jersey, provided she finished the stage.

At 92km to go Urska Zigart (Liv AlUla Jayco) attacked, establishing a solo gap before being joined by Nienke Vinke (dsm firmenich PostNL). Behind the duo the peloton eased up, allowing the gap to balloon out to 2:20. By 84km to go the slow pace began to inspire some attacks in the peloton. Niedermeier went clear with Rosita Reijnhout (Visma Lease a Bike). The pair were soon followed by Niamh Fisher Black (SD Worx Protime), Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez), Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek) and Steffi Häberlin (Swiss National Team). As the group began to extend their lead and track down the duo out front, Juliette Labous (dsm firmenich PostNL) also bridged across, and the larger group caught the leading duo.

By 66km to the gap back to the peloton had extended out to 4 minutes, and sitting in the second group, Labous was the virtual leader on the road. In the peloton the pace was still slow, as the group waited for domestiques who had been dropped on the early climb to find their way back on. Once SD Worx Protime regrouped and began riding the gap began to come down quickly. 

In the group up front, with dsm firmenich PostNL driving the pace to try to keep Labous clear, other riders began to skip turns. As they hit the final major climb of the day, at 50km to go, Niedermeier immediately attacked, drawing out a select group. Niedermeier tried again further up the climb, with her move being countered by Labous, and only Fisher Black, Muzic and Zigart able to follow the pair. 

Behind, SD Worx Protime delivered their leader into the base of the climb, where Lidl Trek took over setting a hard pace with Spratt and Realini. Elisa Longo-Borghini attacked over the top, with only Vollering, Bradbury and Niewiadoma about to follow. Cadzow was caught out, but had the strength to TT across the gap even as Longo-Borghini continued to push on. As the GC group of five riders crossed the top of the climb, the remnants of the breakaway, Reijnhout and Vinke, were able to latch on for the descent.

Chapman, who had been up front, dropped back to aid teammate Longo Borghini in the chase, and by 36km to go the gap between the groups was down to 1 minute. Chapman did a last strong pull and had to let go of the group. 

The lead group, which Häberlin had found her way back to, continued on to a second, fast and technical descent, where Niedermeier again tried to use her skill to go clear. Zigart dropped back to the GC group, where Cadzow crashed on one of the corners. After the descent Chapman worked her way back to Longo Borghini’s group and once again began setting the pace, this time quickly eating in to the advantage. 

At 12km to go, almost entirely under the power of the Lidl-Trek rider, the catch was made, and Niewiadoma immediately attacked over the top. Vollering was quick to mark her move, and then, despite riding hard for the previous twenty minutes, Chapman counter attacked. A few kilometres later Niewiadoma launched again, this time drawing out Vollering, Longo Borghini and Bradbury. 

With the quartet clear, the final ten kilometres saw attack after attack for the Canyon//Sram Racing riders and Vollering, with Longo Borghini forced again and again to chase the moved and defend her podium position. 

At 1.7km to go, with the attacks going nowhere, the group came almost to a full halt, staring one another down. Once again, it was Niewiadoma who kicked into action again, attacking and, once caught, holding on on the front to lead out. Longo Borghini appeared to have the perfect position, riding in second wheel through the final corners, but Vollering had the power and the pace to fly through and take the stage win. Longo Borghini took second ahead of Bradbury, who did just enough to hold on to second place overall by two seconds, and also claim the young riders jersey.

Stage Four – Results

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Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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