Bradley Wiggins maintains Dauphine Libere yellow jersey

Bradley Wiggins in the yellow jersey
Bradley Wiggins is one of two Team Sky riders in the top 10

Briton Bradley Wiggins retained the Dauphine Libere yellow jersey, after Germany's John Degenkolb won stage four on Thursday.

HTC-Highroad rider Degenkolb edged a mass finishing-line sprint just ahead of Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen, as the 173.5km stage from La Motte-Servolex to Macon came to a thrilling climax.

Wiggins finished among the peloton to maintain his 71-second lead ahead of Australian Cadel Evans.

Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas trails Wiggins by two minutes and 25 seconds.

The eight-stage Dauphine is seen as a key warm-up event for the Tour de France, which begins on 2 July.

Thursday's stage provided an explosive finish after FDJ's Jeremy Roy and Lampre's Adriano Malori were reeled in by the peloton two kilometres from the end.

Friday's fifth stage, at 210km and featuring three category-two climbs, is the longest of the race, from Villars-les-Dombes to a summit finish at Les Gets.

"It was a pretty standard day defending the jersey because we knew it was always going to come down to the sprint," Team Sky sporting director Sean Yates said.

"As for tomorrow, it would be great if it was this straightforward again. The finish is not that hard and I don't see any of the GC contenders making any massive moves so we'll be looking to hang on to the jersey again.

"I think this race will come down to a battle up the Montée de la Toussuire on Sunday and if Bradley still has a minute on his rivals he'll be in a good position.

"He has a strong team around him that work brilliantly as a unit, and it'll take a lot to put us under threat."

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