After a rain soaked day of racing and another hectic bunch sprint on Binck Bank Tour stage 4, Stefan Küng crossed the line safely in Lanaken to secure a third day in the green leader’s jersey.
It was a battle to make the breakaway on stage 4 with a flurry of early attempts, including a strong move with Küng and Greg Van Avermaet, pulled back before, after 50km of racing, three riders were able to escape the peloton’s grasp and begin to build up an advantage.
The leaders’ advantage grew quickly and eventually settled at around 2’20” heading into the second half of the 154.2km course, with the main bunch, led by BMC Racing Team, happy to allow the breakaway to sit out in front before starting the final chase with 40km to go.
The gap began to fall quickly and just 10km later, with the sprinters’ teams moving up to help set the pace, the leading trio had been pulled to within 20 seconds before the race hit the reset button and the peloton swept up the final rider with 25km remaining.
A fierce pace was soon being set as BMC Racing Team, keeping Küng well-positioned, continued to push hard at the front of the bunch, forcing the rest of the field to be strung out along the road behind them.
Two riders tried their luck with 13km to go however it wasn’t meant to be and, with a potential bunch sprint on the horizon, the sprinters’ teams forced a reaction from the peloton and pulled the duo back before the stage was set for a fast and furious 4km run into the finish line.
Almost immediately, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) went on the attack, but Küng was quick to react and drove the initial chase before the solo leader was caught inside the last 100m.
At the same moment, the final sprint was launched and, after a chaotic lead-up, it was Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo) who took the day’s honors ahead of Marko Kump (UAE Team Emirates) and Tim Merlier (Vérandas Willems-Crelan).
After another strong display of teamwork from BMC Racing Team over the course of the stage, Küng stayed safe in a hectic finale and crossed the line safely in the main bunch to secure another day in the green leader’s jersey.
Miles Scotson was involved in a crash in the latter part of the stage, but after a quick bike change the Australian national road race champion was able to finish the race and continues to sit ninth on the General Classification.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“Wearing the green jersey is starting to become a habit which is a good thing, but from tomorrow the racing will be difficult. However, I think it will also suit me more than the sprinters’ stages. Today we said we weren’t going to work because we pulled yesterday and, in the end, we were doing the work for Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) and if he had won today, I wouldn’t be in this position. We gave the responsibility to the others, and they took it up, and in the end, it was really hectic. I tried to be up there and in a good position, and it worked out quite well.”
“I haven’t had a proper look at tomorrow’s stage, but I know the area. I have raced a lot there, and I have even won the Volta Limburg Classic there so, I have a lot of good memories, and I will take them with me into the race.”
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“Today we discussed that we would let the race go slightly and not control it like we did yesterday but the race was so fast, and we raced 48km in the first hour. We didn’t want to work for Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) like we did yesterday, so we gave the responsibility to his team. It was a good final for us, and Stefan Küng kept the jersey, and everyone is still in the same position. We only had a little bit of bad luck with Miles Scotson as he crashed but he was able to finish the stage.”