Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) collected his third stage win of the Tour de Romandie on Saturday, out-kicking two breakaway companions in the final 300 meters.
Going into the final lap of stage 4, six laps of a 29km circuit in Fribourg, the break — Albasini, Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Jean Marc Marino (Cannondale) — had three minutes over the peloton.
Twelve kilometers from the lone the gap was down to 1:20, and 2km later Bakelants lit it up on a short rise and shed Marino and Vuillermoz.
The remaining trio had just a minute’s advantage as a late crash took down Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), Tony Martin (Omega Pharma), and Danilo Wyss and Peter Velits (BMC Racing Team)
With 3km to go the break had 45 seconds on the chase, a blend of Giant-Shimano and Astana. At the red kite the leaders were still eyeing each other, with Albasini on the front.
Bakelants had a mild dig, shut down straight away by Albasini, who had the front with 500m to go. Inside 300m the Orica rider led it out from the front and easily took his third stage win of the race.
“Before the Tour of Romandie I would have been happy with one stage win so three is a bit crazy,” said the 33-year-old Albasini.
“After this I’m going on holidays so I’m trying to give it my all during the race.”
The two top contenders for the overall victory, race leader Simon Spilak (Katusha) and runner-up Chris Froome (Sky), both finished safely with the peloton.
The Tour de Romandie concludes Sunday with stage 5, an 18.5km individual time trial in Neuchâtel.