Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) bounced back after finishing a frustrating second in Murten yesterday and captured his maiden win at the Tour de Suisse, which he is racing for the first time since 2012.
“This victory is a real confidence booster, especially for the next couple of weeks! It’s always important to win a World Tour race and you can see that all my 2019 successes came in such races, which speaks a lot about my season, despite not matching the number of wins I had last year”, a happy Viviani said at the press conference in Arlensheim.
On paper, stage 4 was one for the peloton’s fast men, but a 3km-climb inside the last 20 kilometres and a fast descent threatened to derail the expected bunch gallop. Surrounded by a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step squad, Viviani made it over the Hochwald ascent and remained well-positioned in the group, from where several riders tried to slip away, only to be overhauled.
The last two kilometres were extremely technical, peppered by tricky corners and even cobbles, but the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders stayed to the head of the field and protected the Italian, as they continued to stretch out the bunch.
After best young rider Kasper Asgreen peeled off the front, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert upped the tempo as they passed under the flamme rouge, before Michael Mørkøv pulled Viviani into position for the sprint. The Italian Champion swung around the Dane and kicked out 200 metres from the line, unleashing an astonishing burst of sprint (71km/h maximum speed, according to Velon’s data) and holding off the charges of Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), who rounded out the podium.
“We were hoping it will come down to a bunch sprint and were keen on trying again after finishing second yesterday. The guys were absolutely perfect, helping me get over the final climbs, and I was confident in them, because I know we have the best lead-out in the world. We took the responsibility in the last kilometres and made sure we were near the front going into the descent, because this was very important, Michael put me in a perfect position and I could finish off the job. Today’s victory means a lot to me and makes me extremely happy”, Viviani said.