The French cyclist, Pascal Hervé, has taken the overall lead in the Tour de Suisse, after winning the gruelling fourth stage. The riders ascended 700 metres during the final 10km stretch into Verbier.
The 35-year-old Hervé completed the 156km stage from Fribourg to the mountain resort of Verbier, in three hours, 46 minutes and 51 seconds.
He jumped into the lead some eight kilometres from the finish, eventually finishing 39 seconds ahead of Switzerland's Oscar Camerzind, who takes third place overall. The Swiss rider, Laurent Dufaux, was fourth.
Germany's Jan Ullrich - a former Tour de France winner - also appeared in good form for the first time, completing the 156km stage in sixth place.
But Michael Boogerd, who won the leader's jersey on Thursday, lost five and a half minutes and fell to 30th in the standings.
The 30km fifth stage takes place on Saturday in the Alpine town of Sierre, but it is not expected to have much effect on the overall rankings.
The really gruelling leg will be the Alpine stage in Ulrichen on Sunday. The riders will climb three peaks during the 103km journey, beginning with a formidable 1.1km ascent over just 15km up the Nufenen Pass.
The Nufenen descent is the fastest stretch of the entire race and the riders reach speeds in excess of 100km/h.
swissinfo with agencies