Photos: Tour de Hongrie
Sebastian Schönberger proved himself ever the breakaway expert by securing the climber’s jersey on stage 4 of the Tour de Hongrie, adding the Hungarian title to the O Gran Camino KOM jersey in his 2023 haul.
Brit Paul Double also had a strong day in the saddle. Having recovered from an upset stomach the day before, the 26-year-old climbed brilliantly on the final climb to Dobogókő, finishing tenth.
“I’m really happy with the performance and the shape is really good,” Schönberger said afterward. I got sick at the Tour of the Alps and I was a little bit down mentally but I trained really hard for two weeks and I gave everything to come back so it’s nice that the power is back again.”
Having scored points in stage 3, Schönberger made sure he would capture the jersey by joining the breakaway and scoring maximum points over the Két-bükkfa-nyereg climb and the first ascent of the Pilisszántó.
The Austrian looked the strongest of the break before – to the outside eye – he had a curious exchange with fellow breakaway compatriot Dries de Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck).
Cycling is certainly a unique sport and one of the more interesting points is breakaway politics between riders on different teams. To stay away, these riders have to race as if they are teammates, to share the workload and prevent themselves from being caught. De Bondt negotiated with Schönberger, asking him to drop back to the peloton at the point he had virtually secured the KOM standings so that the peloton would not chase so hard.
“The point was that I was going well in the GC,” he explained. “The guys from UAE Team Emirates [the team of the race leader] were looking at me so I decided to concentrate on the KOM jersey. I spoke to him and they said they would let me get the KOM points. If we had more than four minutes we could continue but we only had two so I decided to go back to help Paul.”
Certainly not a new idea in cycling, tactics like these are all part of the game of stage racing, they just aren’t often caught on television.
“Sometimes you have to think in the other direction,” he said. “The jersey was the big goal of the day and the guys did a good job to put me in the breakaway. It was quite tough but we had a really good group and I had the legs to finish it up.”
Double also recapped the queen stage where he finished within the favorites group, beating 2019 Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) in the process.
“I’m super relieved,” he said at the finish. “Although I messed up the sprint, I needed that result after the shaky start to the season with injury and then an unfortunate incident with my stomach yesterday. Not meeting my own expectations was getting to me, especially with the team and staff being so fantastic.”
With no KOM points on offer in tomorrow’s final stage – a flat circuit in Budapest – Schönberger just needs to get around the capital to make him the official winner. Human Powered Health Cycling will still have its eyes on the stage though as they hope to set it up in a sprint finish for Sasha Weemaes.
The Tour de Hongrie concludes tomorrow on GCN+/Eurosport, live from 12:40 pm CET / 5:40 am CT.
Tour de Hongrie KOM standings after stage 4
1 SCHÖNBERGER Sebastian – Human Powered Health 38 points
2 RIDOLFO Filippo – Team Novo Nordisk 28
3 LAMPAERT Yves – Soudal – Quick Step 22
4 DE BUYST Jasper – Lotto Dstny 22
5 DE BONDT – Alpecin-Deceuninck 18
6 HIRSCHI Marc – UAE Team Emirates 16
7 VOISARD Yannis – Tudor Pro Cycling Team 15
8 DRIZNERS Jarrad – Lotto Dstny 15
9 MARTIN ROMERO David – EOLO-Kometa 12
10 ŠTOCEK Matús – ATT Investments 11
Tour de Hongrie stage 4 result
1 VOISARD Yannis – Tudor Pro Cycling Team 5:04:14
2 NYS Thibau – Trek – Segafredo 0:10
3 MONIQUET Sylvain – Lotto Dstny ”
4 HIRSCHI Marc – UAE Team Emirates ”
5 TULETT Ben – INEOS Grenadiers ”
6 POOLE Max – Team DSM ”
7 FABBRO Matteo – BORA – hansgrohe ”
8 ONLEY Oscar – Team DSM ”
9 PIGANZOLI Davide – EOLO-Kometa ”
10 DOUBLE Paul – Human Powered Health ”