Image 1 of 7
Milan Vader (Jumbo-Visma) swept up his first professional road victory in spectacular style on stage 4 of the Tour of Guangxi, climbing away from a rapidly thinning lead group in the final few hundred metres of the Queen stage.
Rémy Rochas (Cofidis) came second behind the Dutch mountain biker, who last year made the switch to the road, while Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) took third on the 161.4km stage with the only summit finish of the race.
While the attacks came even before the peloton hit the first steep ramp of the 3.2km category 1 finishing climb to Nongla, it was ultimately an attritional battle right through to well inside the final kilometre. With just a few hundred metres left Vader got up out of the saddle and wound up the pace on a hairpin bend, took a solid gap and just kept on rolling. Rochas was the only rider in sight as he headed into the final 100m but the 27-year-old held off the closing Frenchman to claim the stage and overall race lead.
Too exhausted to celebrate as he crossed the line with a look of disbelief on his face, Vader threw himself on the ground, legs totally spent, having to take a moment to recover before he was pulled to his feet by teammate Steven Kruijswijk.
The victory also gave Vader a six second lead on Rochas in the overall while Carthy slotted into third place 14 seconds back. Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), who had moved into the overall lead on stage 3 as result of his judicious accumulation of bonus seconds, slid down into 34th spot overall, with the climb proving to big an obstacle for the Belgian rider who finished 1:40 after Vader.
How it unfolded
The first three stages were for the sprinters, but as the WorldTour race hit day 4 the terrain and type of rider that it would suit took a significant turn. The race started in…