The 162 km 4th stage of the Tour de Berlin from Sonderhausen to Worbis would prove to be more positive for Team Exel as their riders finished just seconds behind the winning breakaway.
The race was characterised by a 4-man break that went clear just 5 km into the bike race. 18-year-old Enrico Prix (Berlin Cott Potbus) initiated break. The breakaway at one stage held a lead of 11 minutes over the chasing peloton but the Teams of Palazaggo, Amuzzo and contributions from Team Rabobank saw the escapees just holding out to the finish.
The Exel duo of Nolan Hoffmann and Dennis van Niekerk managed to stay with the main contenders right up to the end and lost only 13 seconds to the stage winner. Reece Swartz and Hanco Kachelhoffer were slightly further adrift finishing just 1 min 30 secs behind Hoffmann and van Niekerk
We are really pleased with the way the guys rode today, they showed that they can stay with the top riders and that they are adapting well. The weather was also much better today and that is almost certainly one of the reasons the riders were up there, said Lesch
We had a couple of category 2 and 3 climbs, but we managed to stay with the guys. If we get to race against these guys more often well definitely be able to be more serious contenders. Right now we still have to get some experience but it s been good so far, said Hoffmann.
The dominant Rabobank are still leading the Tour and hold positions 2 and 3 on the podium.
Team Exels General Classification positions are:
Dennis van Niekerk 63
Hanco Kachelhoffer 72
Reece Swartz 78
Nolan Hoffmann 87