Lutsenko closes in on Postlberger after Astana Blitz Time Trial

Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko led Spaniard Ion Izagirre in an Astana 1-2 in Wednesday's fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, a 16.4km time-trial between Firmigny and Roche-la-Moliere

Lutsenko closes in on Postlberger after Astana Blitz Time Trial

Bora-Hansgrohe's Austrian Lukas Postlberger kept hold of the race leader's yellow jersey, but Lutsenko cut his lead to just one second.

"I rode to my maximum, even if it looks a bit surprising," said the 28-year-old who places himself as a contender with this result.

Ineos Grenadiers' 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas was leading halfway through the course, but slowed down in the second, more demanding half.

The Welshman eventually finished, like Postlberger, 23sec off Lutsenko's winning time. Thomas' teammate Richie Porte is now Ineos' top ranked rider at just 15sec, while the 2020 Giro d'Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart is at 1min 03sec.

Lukas Pöstlberger said afterwards, "This was the TT of my life. Looks like yellow really gives you wings. When I saw the course this morning, I was happy because it had technical parts and uphill sections to push but no real flat part that favored the TT specialists. I took a lot of risk in the downhills to save power for the uphill parts. I also still could push a big gear in the last crosswind part, I think that was key. But in the end, I am really surprised to still keep the jersey. We’ll have to watch out tomorrow about the bonus seconds, but there is a chance to defend yellow one more day."

Former Ineos rider and four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome had another difficult day in the saddle finishing 93rd at 2min and 12sec.

Froome is on an epic bid to regain full fitness after suffering dreadful injuries on this race in 2019, a bid which appears stuck in a low gear for now.

In his prime Froome might have expected to win this kind of stage.

Thursday's fifth stage is a 175.4km ride from Saint-Chamond to Saint-Vallier, featuring a steep climb 12km from the finish that will complicate affairs for the sprinters.

VIDEO: 2021 Criterium Du Dauphine Stage 4 Highlights

2021 Criterium Du Dauphine Stage 4 Top 10

1 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:21:36
2 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:21:44
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:21:44
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:21:48
5 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM 0:21:49
6 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:21:51
7 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:21:53
8 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:21:57
9 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:21:59
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:21:59

2021 Criterium Du Dauphine GC after Stage 4

1 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 12:57:07
2 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:01
3 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:09
4 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:13
6 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM 0:00:14
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:16
8 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:24
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:32
10 Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:00:34

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