France’s Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis won the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in a sprint finish, while Australian rider Rohan Dennis of BMC Racing retained the overall lead on Wednesday.
Bouhanni finished ahead of Belgian rider Jonas van Genechten of IAM Cycling and Slovenian rider Luka Mezgec of Team Giant-Alpecin after five-and-a-half hours in the saddle.
Early into the moderately hilly stage, a 228km trek from Anneyron-Porte de DromArdeche to Sisteron in southeastern France and the race’s longest, Dutch rider Martijn Keizer of Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Belgian Tosh van der Sande of Lotto-Soudal forged ahead.
With 50km remaining, their lead was trimmed down to five minutes. Van der Sande dropped off, leaving Keizer alone in front, but he was overtaken by Belgian rider Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal, who was caught by the chasing peloton with just 2.5km remaining.
“It was very difficult at the end, because of the attacks in the last climb,” Bouhanni said.
“Without [Cofidis teammate] Julien Simon, it would have been impossible for me to win,” he said. “I’m happy because I’ve had five or six second places since the beginning of the season.”
Dennis was leading overall from BMC Racing teammate Tejay van Garderen, while Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali was just behind them.
The race, which finishes in Modane Valfrejus, France, on Sunday, is a warm-up for the three-week Tour de France which starts on July 4.
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