Simon Spilak edged defending champion Chris Froome to win the hilly fourth stage of the Tour de Romandie on Friday and take the overall lead by 1 second.
Spilak, the 2010 champion from Slovakia, beat Britain’s Froome by a wheel’s length after more than five hours of racing.
Froome, last year’s Tour de France winner, broke clear on the final climb and was joined by Spilak with less than 25km remaining.
The 180.5km trek included four major climbs and looped around the International Cycling Union’s headquarters in Aigle.
“Today’s stage was very tough,” Spilak told Swiss broadcaster RTS. “After the speed of the first climb I was thinking: ‘This is unbelievable.’”
Froome is still the favorite to win the six-day race, with today’s time trial likely to be decisive.
“I’m happy at the end of the day,” said Froome, who has had a chest infection. “I’m feeling better and better each day, and my form is improving.”
World champion Rui Costa of Portugal finished third, leading a small group which trailed 57 seconds back.
Costa was also third overall, trailing Spilak by 62 seconds.
Yesterday’s stage favoring sprinters was scheduled to be a 173km ride starting and finishing in Fribourg.