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61st Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live
By Staff
Date: 5/5/2007
61st Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live

61st Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live
The Queen Stage unfolds with 3 cat 1 climbs... Mother Nature served up a miserable day for the riders with rain and fog today

Etape 4 - Charmey - Morgins 156 Km
3,405 meters climbing Profile

Welcome to the daily peloton's live coverage of the Queen Stage of the Tour de Romandie. The day greeted the riders with rain and thick fog as they set out for a long day in the saddle.

Going Into the queen stage Paolo Savoldelli still leads the ranking with 4 seconds on Marco Pinotti and 5 seconds on Roman Kreuziger and American Chris Horner. The peloton has been reduced in numbers today an hour into the race and a lot of riders have abandone. But due to the bad weather it will be a hell for all of them

120 km to go to the finish in Morgins. And we have a break. Only rain no fog at this point in the road, luckily. They have already done one climb of the first cat. three climbs of the cat 1 to go.

Astana is leading the pace in the bunch. David Lopez, Giuseppe Guerrini, Gorazd Stangelj, Laurent Brochard, David Moncoutie, Amets Txurruka, Igor Abakoumov, Chris Anker Sörensen and two others are the riders in the break. The escapees have 2.01 on the bunch. Benoit Poilvet, Andreas Dietziker and Andrei Mizourov (not Abakoumov) are in the break too

So the leaders are David Lopez (Caisse D'Epargne), Giuseppe Guerrini (T-Mobile), Gorazd Stangelj (Lampre), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), David Moncoutie (Cofidis), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Chris Anker Sörensen (CSC), Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Andreas Dietziker (LPR) and Andrey Mizourov (Astana)

The 10 leaders are working well together. Guerrini is the best ranked rider in the break at 23 seconds from Savoldelli. Brochard is in the break to secure his KOM jersey today. But he will succeed in that as he won't be the object of the chase and the other riders in the break are less likely to contest the KOM points.

14:43 CET -116 km to go, The gap is being maintained by Astana at 2:10 minutes; with Mizourov at the front setting pace at the moment. It's one miserable day out there for the riders and the combination of the rain, cold and climbs will only make it feel longer. The roads are wet and slippery, so the descents are dangerous. Hopefully there will be no crashes.

Come to think of it with the rain, this may be a long day with the fans with little action until the final climb. We still have a tightly packed General Classification with over 50 riders and all the favorites within one minute of Savoldelli. On a stage like today a minute is nothing to lose or gain on the climbs or if misfortune visits you. Chris Horner in the past has performed well in rainy days.

As Caisse d'Epargne rider Joaquím Rodríguez commented after yesterdays finish,  "Personally I feel well, but it is clear that there I will have to wait till tomorrow to really know how my current condition is. The stage will be a very hard one because it is probably going to rain and that could influence very much the development of the race.

 Until now we have disputed short stages and it is very probable that, tomorrow, the general classification will be completely modified. It will be important to resist during all the day and then to be there in the first positions in the last climb to try to go for the stage win. If we are well and in degree to fight for the general, it will also be necessary to try to drop the time trial specialists. The race should be very open and I believe that we have good possibilities, if not to win the final general classification, at least to win in Morgins."

15:05 CET -  103 km to go the gap is up to 2.52 Robbie McEwen, David Millar, Sergey Honchar, Fabio Sacchi, Andrea Tonti, Davide Vigano, Jaime Castaneda and Julian Dean didn't start. Danilo Napolitano abandoned the race today. It's a surprise that Honchar didn't start he was the GC rider of T-Mobile on paper, perhaps with Marco Pinotti in second the team decided to not risk their rider and his Giro d'Italia preparation in the wet roads.

100 km to go, 3:05 the gap. There isn't much to say about the race, as Astana continues to take the point in leading the peloton through the rain, and the eleven escapees continue to work together in the front. Kai Reus (Rabobank) abandons the race. Reus is still recovering from a illness

The break is now on the Col du Pillon (Cat 1) the first section of the climb is a low gradient but the final 10km pitch up and will start sorting out the eleven. Moncoutie (Cofidis) attacks his breakmates and Stangelj bridged across, the duo get a gap.  But Txrruka and the others mount a chase and pull the two back to the escape.

15:26 CET - The peloton still led by Astana's with no help from the other teams with riders in the break have Steve Morabito and Igor Abakoumov  setting the pace as the gap of them to the break picks up a few seconds and now is 3.28 with 92 km to go

90 km to go, the gap up to 3.50 The weather is still rainy and it looks like it won't change today. The 10 riders in front are still working well together. Giuseppe Guerrini is the best ranked rider at 23 seconds, but we have Poilivet, Montcoutie, Brochard all within 30 seconds of  race leader Paolo Savoldelli. In fact all of the escapees are within 50 seconds of Savoldelli except of Mizourov and Stangelj.

Speaking of Brochard, he led the group over the Col du Pillon and added the  KOM points to his collection; shortly Laurent will have a complete lock on the climbers trophy is he hasn't already. The gap is down to 3.20 with 87 km to go. The leaders are in the descent of the Pillon.

15:42 CET - The lead chase group crossed the summit of the Pillon at 3:10 from the leaders with Astana still in control, not that they can expect help at this point in the stage.

Predictor/Lotto Giro d'Italia
Robbie McEwen for Predictor/Lotto has just announced its squad for the Giro d'Italia: Dario Cioni, Wim van Huffel, Robbie McEwen, Stefano Zanini, Matthew Lloyd, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Mario Aerts, Josep Jufre and Nick Gates.

80 km to go, and the gap down to 3.10 as the riders continue the descent. This is one stage that being in a break may present an advantage on the descents.

Today there was also the GP Industria & Artigianato/Larciano in Italy. This race is won by Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas). In the sprint he was faster than his team mate Franco Pellizotti. So Liquigas took the double there. And with these riders in shape, Danilo Di Luca has 2 in form helpers who will support him during the Giro in the mountain stages. And if Di Luca is not on his best Pellizotti can ride a good GC as well.

Back to the stage in Romandie. With 74 km to go the gap is down to less than 3.00. In 20 km the final of the stage will really start with the next cat 1 climb to Villars to come, but first an intermediate sprint and the feed zone before the lads enjoy the  pleasant Villars climb.

15:59 CET - 70 km to go, the gap to the break sags to 2.51
David Moncoutie crashes, but he is back up and riding trying to regain the break;  he signals for medical assistance and stops his bike. Moncoutie didn't go on, he sits on the deck and holds on to his knee that was injured in the fall. Montcoutie is the next rider to abandon this race.

Today there are a lot of races all over Europe. We told already that Nibali won the GP Industria. But also the 3rd stage in the Asturias and The GP Herning are today. The GP Herning, also called the Paris Roubaix of the north, was won by Kurt Asle Arvesen (CSC).

GP Herning - Result:
1. Kurt Asle Arvesen
2. Rene Joergensen op 6"
3. Matti Brechel op 25"
4. Allan Johansen

As we can see that's a big CSC show. Except of Joergensen they are all from CSC in the top 4. And in the Asturias there is also a mountain stage, But they didn't finish yet. Will let you readers know more about that when the race has finished

Back to Romandie. With 62 km to go the leaders have 3.10 on the bunch. The 9 leaders are David Lopez (Caisse D'Epargne), Giuseppe Guerrini (T-Mobile), Gorazd Stangelj (Lampre), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel), Chris Anker Sörensen (CSC), Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Andreas Dietziker (LPR) and Andrey Mizourov (Astana)

16:10 CET - 60 km to go with the 9 leaders in front, still working well together, and the Astana led peloton controlling the gap to the escapees.

The riders are now in the feeding zone while the cat.1 Col du Villars is about to come; the peloton is still big, so not many riders have been dropped in the previous 100 kms. The climb of the Villars is about 15 km long it may make a selection if the pace ups with attacks.

Gorazd Stangelj (Lampre) attacked, the others didn't follow thus far, up the Villars Stangelj fles as leader on the early parts of the Villars climb. The gap on the bunch is 2.55 while the 8 chasers are struggling between the Slovenian and the peloton.

16:25 CET - The rose colored jerseys of Predictor/Lotto come to the front of the peloton and is the first team to help the gold and Blue jerseys of Astana in the chase.

50 km to go, Stangelj has 46 seconds on the chasers and 3.00 on the bunch. The chasing group of 8 has lost some riders. 2 riders dropped:  Sörensen and Dietziker. Guerrini is forcing the pace in the chase for Stangelj. Behind in the peloton riders are drifting off the rear of the pack as the climb pitches up, some will ride to stay inside the time limit, some will probably not care and may abandon;if they have finished their domestique duties for today's stage.

16:36 CET - Savoldelli with a flat tire, but the wheel was changed quickly and he is already back in the bunch. Strangelj has one minute on his former break companions.

Meanwhile in the Asturias race in Spain under sunny skies, Azevedo and a compatriot are away, and the 30-strong first peloton with all the main suspects about one minute later. They're approaching the penultimate climb of the stage.

47 km to go. The situation: Stangelj in the lead with 52 sec on the chasers and 3.20 on the bunch. Stangelj is still going strong on the climb of the Villars.

Attack Denis Menchov (Rabobank) in the bunch. Andrey Kaschechkin (Astana) bridges across to Menchov, Astana plays it well.

16:53 CET - Gorazd Stangelj in the lea, then the 8 chasers of the former break. Stangelj has 1.47 on these chasers. Then Menchov/Kaschechkin duo, and then the leaders group. But Menchov and Kascheckin are reeled in again. Counter attacks as riders in the bunch are trying to get away now; Hubert Schwab (Quick Step), Rigoberto Uran (Unibet) and Manuel Beltran (Liquigas) are the attackers in the bunch.

16:56 CET - Stangelj has crossed the top of the Villars. Stangelj has on the top an advantage of more than 2.00 on the group chasers with Guerrini in the lead. But the cooperation of the chase group is gone.

Schwab, Beltran and Uran are on the top as well, 2.30 after Stangelj. The two chasing groups have merged now. So the group Guerrini got company of Schwab, Uran and Beltran. In the descent of the Villars now, ready to go to the final climb to Morgins.

The situation is not clear regarding the time gaps but Stangelj is leading, then a chasing group with Guerrini, Sörensen, Lopez, Schwab, Uran, Mizourov, Beltran, Poilvet and Brochard; and then the Peloton and finally the stragglers from the climb up the Villars.

35 km to go, It seems that Txurruka, who crashed a while ago and Dietziker came back with the chasers too. But no real confirmation about that yet.

30 km to go, Stangelj has 2.30 on the chasers but no time gap regarding how far the back the bunch is. With the chase strung out on the descent, the situation in the race will become more clear in the valley; where 12 kilometers of flat terrain precedes the final climb to the summit finish of today's stage.

25 km to go, Strangelj is in the valley, riding strongly and he looks good for the win which would be the 2nd for Lampre after the win by Matteo Bono yesterday. 10 km to the final climb of Col du Morgins will come

17:21 CET - 22 km to go, The chasing group split up. All the chasers are reeled in by the bunch except of Beltran, Schwab and Brochard. Lampre/Fondital rider, Stangelj has 2.20 on these 3 chasers and 2.50 on the bunch. Everything will happen on the final climb in the final selection.

17:26 CET - 20 km to go, The situation is clear now. Stangelj in front with 2.20 on the bunch. The others are caught by the fast moving bunch led by the Astana's. the bunch is coming closer, the gap down to 1.45 with 18 km to go.

Meanwhile in Spain at the Asturias, they are on the final ascent, Alberto Fernández of Saunier broke away solo and drives to the summit. Stangelj has started  the final climb up to Morgins now, but the Astana led group is  coming closer and closer

17:33 CET - The bunch is about 40/50 riders, 3 T-Mobile riders in the gruppo, Marco Pinotti second still there. The gap to Stangelj is 1.19 as the chase grouppo starts the climb of the Mogins.

Vuelta Asturias: Koldo has caught Fernandez, they come to the line together... Fernandez won the stage and Koldo Gil took the overall lead of the race; a double win for Saunier Duval.

Chris Horner on the wheel of Il Falco now, still looking strong. The gap of Stangelj is down to less than 1.00. the gap down to 44 seconds 12 km of climbing to the summit finish.

17:43 CET - Stangelj his gap 24 seconds on the bunch led by Eddy Mazzoleni (Astana). Stangelj is caught now. So we have a bunch of about 40 riders in front and the stage can start over again. Brave effort by the Lampre rider with over 100 km in the break.

10 km to go, Mazzoleni still leading, Horner is in 3rd position of the bunch behind Mazzoleni and Savoldelli. Horner's Predictor/Lotto mate Cadel Evans is still there. Mazzoleni has upped his pace and the bunch is spitting riders out the back.  19 riders in the final selection on the Mogins.

8 km to go, Attack Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) Marchante and Szmyd now in front. Szmyd drops Marchante, while Kaschechkin and Horner are leading the group Savoldelli.

7 km to go, Szmyd has 9 seconds on the group Savoldelli

More on today's Vuelta Asturias stage 3.

6 km to go, Marchante now caught by the gruppo Savoldelli. Counter attack of Igor Anton (Euskaltel) with 5 km to go Anton bridged across to Szmyd. Two leaders now.

2 km to the summit, Anton flies by Szmyd and drops him 3 km plateau to finish. Rabo's T. Dekker setting the pace now. Riders like Evans and Marchante in trouble. Anton has an advantage of 10 seconds.

Horner and three riders go under the flamme rouge with 1km to go. Horner leads the quartet. Igor Anton of Euskaltel stays at the bottom of the group. The Rabobank must be Thomas Dekker. Here comes the four-man sprint. Horner still in first wheel, but Dekker and the basque come around and take the top two spots.

Igor Anton!!!!!!  has won the stage

A very close sprint, Caisse d'Epargne's Joaquin Rodriguez spectacularly slipped and fell while taking the last turn. Thomas Dekker tried to bridged across with Horner and Gadret but didn't succeed Dekker finished second,
Horner 3rd, Gadret 4th, Evans 5th at about 15 seconds, Szmyd 6th,  Looks like Horner takes the Yellow Jersey!

It was a sprint with 4, so they succeed in getting across but Anton was the strongest in the sprint; but it could be that Anton will be DSQ due to an irregular sprint if you ask me.

Chris Horner did take the yellow jersey with the Savoldelli group finishing 15 seconds down.

Tomorrows final stage in Lucerne is a 20 km time trial, it looks to be a tight race tomorrow between Dekker, Horner, and Savoldelli; no doubt there will be some inspired performances to win the Tour de Romandie.
Etape 5 - Lausanne 20 km ITT
320 meters elevation. Profile
Tour de Romandie

Results Stage 4 (Provisional)
Charmey - Morgins 156 Km
1. Igor Anton (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi)
2. Thomas Dekker (Hol - Rabobank)
3. Chris Horner (USA - Predictor-Lotto)

4. John Gadret (Fra - AG2r)
5. Cadel Evans (Aus - Predictor-Lotto)

6. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol - Lampre-Fondital)
7. Andy  Schleck (Lux - Team CSC)
8. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita - Astana)
9. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz - Astana)
10. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa - Caisse d'Epargne)

General Classification
1. Chris Horner (USA - Predictor-Lotto)
2. Igor Anton (Spa - Euskaltel-Euskadi) - at 07"
3. Thomas Dekker (Hol - Rabobank) - at 09"

4. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita - Astana) - at 15"
5. John Gadret (Fra - AG2r)
7 1 EVANS Cadel Predictor-Lotto AUS 00'29"
8 117 SZMYD Sylvester Lampre-Fondital POL 00'31"
9 83 KASHECHKIN Andrey Astana KAZ 00'31"
10 16 SCHLECK Andy Team CSC LUX 00'33"

Full official results to follow. Thanks for joining us today for the live report.

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