American David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervelo) won the Tour de Romandie time trial stage on Saturday, as Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) moved into the overall lead.
Zabriskie won the stage just two seconds ahead of Australian Richie Porte (Saxo Bank-Sungard), and 16 seconds in front of third-placed Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) on the lumpy 20.1km route from Aubonne to Signal-de-Bougy. It’s Zabriskie’s first victory since winning stage three of the Tour of California last year.
Later starters appeared to be affected by a change in wind direction, which favoured the riders with early start times.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins (Sky) placed fourth on the stage, 18 seconds adrift of Zabriskie. Compatriot David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) came home in 18th.
Evans started the time trial in fourth spot overall, behind leader Pavel Brutt (Katusha), stage three winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) in second and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) in third.
Cunego – not known for his time trialling prowess – cancelled himself out of the running, coming home in 73rd spot two minutes and three seconds behind stage winner Zabriskie. Vinokourov fared better, but could still only manage 22nd.
Brutt’s reign in yellow ended with an 84th position on the stage, and he slipped to eighth overall.
Crucially, Evans finished the stage in eighth spot, easily making up the time decifit over Vinokourov in the overall classification to earn the yellow jersey.
Evans now leads German Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) by 18 seconds in the overall classification, with stage three winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) slipping to third at 19 seconds.
“I’m very satisfied,” Evans said after the stage. “Two weeks ago, I didn’t do the classics races because of that training ride crash, so coming back here I didn’t know where I was. But I worked hard with some good people around me and came back at a good level.”
Millar’s ride moved him up to 10th overall, showing that he is solidly regaining his form after an illness-plagued early season, just in time for the Giro d’Italia on May 7. Chris Froome (Sky) also moves up in the GC, to 15th.
The 2011 Tour de Romandie concludes on Sunday with a flat stage to Geneva.
Tour de Romandie 2011, stage four: Aubonne to Signal-de-Bougy, 20.1km individual time trial
1. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Cervelo in 27-57-00
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 2 secs
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 14 secs
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 18 secs
5. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 27 secs
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 42 secs
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank at 43 secs
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 45 secs
9. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 48 secs
10. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek at 54 secs
18. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-07
50. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1-49
99. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 2-42
102. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 2-44
DNS Adam Blythe (GB) Omega Pharma-Lotto
Overall classification after stage four
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing in 13-00-58
2. Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 18 secs
3. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana at 19 secs
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad at 31 secs
5. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team at 41 secs
6. Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank at 51 secs
7. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Radioshack at 52 secs
8. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha at 58 secs
9. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 59 secs
10. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-00
15. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1-18
62. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 6-41
73. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 8-40
94. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 14-46
American Taylor Phinney crashed hard, shredding his skinsuit and finishing 97th
Bradley Wiggins on his way to fourth place
David Millar moves up to 10th overall
Stage winner David Zabriskie
Third on stage, Lieuwe Westra
Second placed Richie Porte
Cadel Evans made up the time on his overall rivals to move into the race lead
Cadel Evans takes the overall lead
Vinokourov wins Tour de Romandie stage three
Tour de Romandie stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Cunego wins Tour de Romandie stage two
Brutt escapes to win Romandie stage one
Tour de Romandie 2011: Stage one photo gallery
Tour de Romandie prologue: Castroviejo wins opener