Joey Rosskopf rode a savvy, opportunistic race during stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse to finish third at the end of an epic day.
The team started the stage with no designs on being in the break for a third successive day, but as the day unfolded the “plans changed on the road”, as Rosskopf explained later.
It was a furious fight to get into the escape and it took until over halfway before the final move of four riders broke clear, with Rosskopf alongside Benjamin Thomas (Groupama FDJ), Stefan Bissegger (EF Education Nippo), and Joel Suter (Swiss National Team).
The foursome made great headway and built a gap of six minutes, and when the peloton decided to stop chasing the move with 25km still to go, all of a sudden there was plenty more on the table than a few mountains points.
“It’s always a success when you can get the breakaway to go to the line,” said Rosskopf. “By the end, it was just the three of us, which is not ideal, but I was pretty happy to go to the line with that.”
A tortuous final five kilometers saw plenty of attacks as Rosskopf tried to shed the other two riders remaining from the move, but in the end, it came down to the sprint.
“I tried everything to get away from those guys, but they’re just a couple of strong dudes. They were on the wheel right away every time anyone tried to jump.”
Bissegger proved the fastest in the sprint, with Thomas taking second.
Rosskopf summarized the finale.
“There wasn’t much else I could do, I don’t think I was getting around them either way. It’s always fun to do it on a day that no-one expects – I tried to make the most of it! Nice to be up there in the front, being represented. You never know when it’s going to be the day that stuff goes crazy!”
Stage 4 results
1 BISSEGGER Stefan (EF Education Nippo) 3:46:21
2 THOMAS Benjamin (Groupama FDJ) ST
3 ROSSKOPF Joey (Rally Cycling) ST
4 SUTER Joel (Swiss National Team) +23
5 THEUNS Edvard (Trek Segafredo). +5’16
6 MOLANO Juan Sebastian (UAE Team Emirates) ST
7 FRAILE Omar (Astana PremierTech) ST
8 TEUNNISSEN Mike (Jumbo-Visma) ST
9 WRIGHT Fred (Bahrain Victorious) ST
10 MATTHEWS Michael (Team BikeExchange) ST
1 ZUKOWSKY Nickolas (Rally Cycling) 10pts
2 BOHLI Tom (Cofidis) 10pts
3 SCHACHMANN Max (Bora Hansgrohe) 6pts
5 DAL-CIN Matteo (Rally Cycling) 6pts
6 KING Benjamin (Rally Cycling) 5pts