Sava s Luka Mezgec lived up to the promise inferred by the green jersey on his shoulders, with his second stage win so far in this year s race. Mezgec s victory was even more impressive given it came by way of a Hors Categorie summit which topped out at 3,816 metres elevation.
The stage s average speed of 42kph was as much a by-product of the 50 kilometre downhill run to the finish as it was the insistence of Mezgec s Sava team.The 24 year old Slovenian approached Chaqia with a little less than one-fifth of the entire peloton in his midst; his team had once again worked well to not only haul the big Slovenian over the KOM in a great position, but it had also left sufficient gas in the tank to continue the urgency.
Tabriz Petrochemical Team didn t miss a beat either, ensuring its two lead riders yellow jersey Hossein Alizadeh and 10th-placed Hossein Alizadeh were also in the mix, after a few cold, windy and wet hours in the saddle. After starting the day in 9th place, Champion System s Cameron Wurf also shot up to 3rd, 12 seconds down on Mezgec, thanks to a keen eye for the right move.
Tomorrow s 205 kilometre-long fifth stage, from Tianjun Xihaizhen, is the Tour s longest. The high altitudes have not yet resulted in a high attrition rate, with 139 of the 154 original starters scheduled to start.
Luka Mezgec, (Sava), 1st in stage 4, leader of Points classification, 8th on GC
The weather was difficult; it was cold at the top of the mountain finish and on the downhill. But in the end it was lots of wind, so we (Team Sava) had to pull to stay in front, and the group split; that was a good thing today. The weather is changeable, so every day is different.
Check out the stage four video highlights on QQride.com and more of Mike s images at the Official Tour of Qinghai Lake photo gallery.
Click on image to jump to the stage 4 video highlights at QQride.com
CLASSIFICATION LEADERS AFTER STAGE FOUR Leaders (Yellow) Jersey (??): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) Points (Green) Jersey (??): Luka Mezgec (SAVA) King of the Mountains Jersey (???): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
Best Asian Rider (Blue) Jersey (??): Hossein Alizadeh (Tabriz Petrochemical Team)
STAGE 4 RESULTS
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 4