The 163.9-kilometer stage featured two distinctive parts, the first 80 kilometers were flat before the road went uphill in the second half of the race with two categorized climbs and plenty of undulating terrain on the menu.
Multiple breakaway attempts, including one from Patrick Bevin, were brought back before Geschke and three other riders were allowed to go clear.
With Geschke sitting less than 50 seconds behind on the General Classification at the start of the day, race leader Peter Sagan’s Bora-hansgrohe team kept the breakaway on a tight leash with three minutes the maximum advantage throughout the stage.
Good cooperation in the leading quartet allowed the breakaway to maintain a two-minute advantage at the top of the category two Passwang climb before they entered the finishing circuit and crossed the finish line in Arlesheim for the first time.
Geschke and Gian Freisecke (Switzerland) dropped their breakaway companions and forged on ahead with Freisecke going solo in the last 20 kilometers.
Geschke was caught by the bunch with 15 kilometers to go and five kilometers later, when Freisecke was also caught, the stage was set for a bunch sprint.
Multiple riders attacked in the final but the peloton was all together with five kilometers to go and through the technical final kilometers the sprinters’ teams positioned their leaders.
Michael Schär brought Greg Van Avermaet towards the front of the bunch in the finale but it was Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) who was the fastest and Van Avermaet settled for 11th place as CCC Team’s first rider across the line.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was a little bit of luck to get into the breakaway today. The team worked well together to cover all of the moves because we wanted to have someone in there. Then I was the one who was in the right move, but you never really know and in the end, we were only four guys in front. So, it wasn’t ideal. But, we all thought that it could be a chance for the breakaway today so we wanted to try. In the end, it didn’t really work out. All four of us were working well together but the peloton kept us on a really short leash. Two and a half minutes was the average that we had so it wasn’t really enough to get over the last hills. Although, we really tried. After the first climb we went with everything we had, but today it didn’t work. It was nice to be in the breakaway because it’s been a while since I went in the breakaway. It was a good experience and a good test of the legs.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 4 Murten > Arlesheim (163.9km)
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), 2. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), 3. Peter Sagan (Bora-hasngrohe)
CCC Team top 3: 11. Greg Van Avermaet, 20. Michael Schär, 25. Patrick Bevin