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62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 9/4/2007
62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Live Part 2

62nd Vuelta a España - Stage 4 Live Part 2
The break of 35 riders approach the Lagos de Covadonga...

Lagos de Covadonga. © Unipublic

Stage 4 04/09 Langreo - Lagos de Covadonga - 182km

1628 CET - 20 km left. Only 7 km to the final climb. The gap is down to 2' 43". The riders in the break have only about 4 km left to go to the climb. They will reach that climb with a lead, so this is really going to be an interesting conclusion today. 35 riders in the break looking very determined to make their mark today on the final steeps.

One guy in great position today: Brajkovic of Discovery Channel. He is a great little climber, and with his strong teammate Devolder up the road, he just has to sit on and follow the counter-attacks. If they catch Devolder, look for Brajkovic to launch. 

We'll see what Sastre of CSC and Pereiro of Caisse d'Epargne have under the hood today too. They could be sitting on great form, but we haven't seen it yet. Keep in mind that the Gold Jersey is also at stake today. With most of the peloton in there with the same time, the guy who wins this stage will be the guy who takes the jersey.

1633 CET - 12.6 km to go... and all up hill! The break is on the final climb! Jurgen Van Goolen drives the pace up this Above Category monster. Now that they are on the climb, guys are getting dropped left and right. It will be hard to follow who is getting dropped... they only have enough cameras to follow who is attacking and doing well. Chavanel attacks!

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) has attacked the break! Fernandez set him up, and now the French rider is trying to drive it home. The peloton has hit the climb and exploded. Moorenhout of Rabobank leads the peloton to launch Menchov. 

1640 CET - Guys are off the back in groups of five and greater. They are on a gradient of 12%. The domestiques who have done their jobs now fall toward the back of the group; its in their leaders and support climbers hands now. CSC is leading things in the peloton. Beltran is right near the front for Liquigas. He won't chase with Pellizotti up the road. Freire in his Gold Jersey has dropped anchor. He's going backwards fast. That's to be expected from a sprinter. Bettini is off the back too. 

The CSC led peloton has Cuesta turning the screws right now. They have started passing guys who were in the break. No shots of leaders in a while. Efimkin of Caisse d'Epargne is trying to work his way up to Chavanel. The way they are giving shots of Efimkin, he might have passed Chavanel already. Cuesta has reduced the peloton a great deal. There aren't a lot of guys left in the peloton at this point. 

1646 CET - 9 km to go. Efimkin is alone off the front, from what we can see. Many of the guys from that break have already been passed by the CSC led peloton. 

No idea where Garate, Pellizotti, or Devolder are. They were the climbers in the break to be feared most. But it's Efimkin alone at the front of the race, and the Cuesta leads the peloton with Evans, Menchov, Karpets, Sastre, and about fifteen other guys left on his wheel. 

Piepoli of Saunier Duval is at the back of this CSC led "peloton." Sastre has attacked. Now Sastre is putting the hurt on his rivals. Pereiro is responding, and Menchov and Evans are there too. Beltran struggles up. This is very early for an attack like that! but hey, it's working. He got rid of a lot of baggage. Oh, Pereiro has bonked! He can't keep up with Sastre!Vandevelde is about to be caught by his team leader Sastre. Vandevelde will give Sastre another springboard.

1652 CET - Efimkin still is solo off the front of the race, but only 2' 04" back is Sastre and a few others. Sastre has Menchov and Gomez on his wheel. That's it. Everybody else from the peloton has been dropped. Vandevelde sets the pace for Sastre, and Piepoli is the guy on Sastre's wheel (not Gomez). 

A bunch of guys are scrambling behind, trying hard to climb back up near Sastre. But only Menchov and Piepoli have had the legs to keep up with Sastre, who is resting behind Vandevelde for the moment. Efimkin is hurting on the 13% gradient of the climb. He's rocking and rolling. Horner is being caught by Vandevelde and Sastre. Fernandez is with Horner. 

1655 CET - 6 km to go. Gomez and Beltran are getting close to the Sastre group. 6 km left for Efimkin. Evans has regained Sastre's wheel. Horner working with Evans now. So Vandevelde has been dropped. Sastre takes control himself again. He has Menchov, Piepoli, Evans, and Horner with him for now. 

Menchov attacks! Evans counters! Sastre is in trouble for a moment. Now he comes back. That just caught him by surprise, but once he saw it he had the legs to bridge pretty effortlessly. This little group of GC favorites catches Pellizotti. No sign of Devolder yet. 

1700 CET - Efimkin has a 1' 40" lead. He has some very excited fans cheering him along. Now Niki Sorensen, the CSC rider who was also in the break, has joined up with Sastre to set the pace again! CSC has played this perfectly today. Gomez of Saunier Duval, Pereiro, and Beltran catch Pellizotti. Barredo of Quick Step is about to be caught by the Sastre group. 

So Efimkin still in the lead by 1' 30" over the Sastre group. Unknown leftovers from the break are between Efimkin and the Sastre group. Then Gomez, Pereiro, and Beltran chase 34" behind Sastre. Behind them the mountain is doing its worst as riders are scattered down the climb.

1702 CET - 4 km left. Efimkin rides up into the really crazed fans and the mist-shrouded rocks near the top of the climb. That change in temperature, from hot to cold, will likely not be noticed by the riders as they exert themselves to the maximum. Sorenson leads Sastre, Piepoli, Menchov, and Evans in the pursuit of Efimkin. They will catch Chavanel soon. 

The battle behind Efimkin... Menchov, Sastre and Piepoli. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

2.5 km left. Efimkin on an 11% part of the climb, climbing through the clouds toward the summit. Ouch. But he looks strong. They will have a hard time catching him. If he can hold on, he gets the stage and the Gold Jersey. He looks down the hill and sees a ways back Sorenson, Sastre, Menchov, Evans, Piepoli, and about four other riders such as Chavanel who were in the original break. You know, I still haven't seen the Sastre group pass Devolder. He might still be in there chasing Efimkin ahead of the Sastre group. Either that or he was shelled so hard early that we missed it.

2 km left. Menchov attacks again! Sastre and Piepoli respond. They've dropped Evans and the rest from that group. If Evans can just ride steady here, he won't lose much time. Unlike Pereiro, Gomez, and Beltran, who are 1' behind Sastre and Menchov at this point. 

Final kilometer. Efimkin rides through clouds that get thicker and thicker. They won't catch him, as he has a 1' 13" lead. Menchov, Sastre, and Piepoli are about to catch some more leftovers from that original break. 

300 meters for Efimkin... Efimkin pumps his arm as he crosses the line!

Vladymir Efimkin wins the stage and the Gold Jersey!!!!!!

Vladimir Efimkin celebrates his second career victory on the summit.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Devolder appears following Efimkin... a minute down.  Devolder was just caught by the Menchov/Sastre group. He's holding on to their wheels! This is a great ride for the Discovery rider. Here comes a five man uphill sprint for 2nd. Piepoli gets it, then Devolder. Menchov and Sastre were just behind them. Evans crosses only about 20" behind the Sastre group, and that's not bad at all for Evans. 

Pereiro and Beltran only lost about 45" on the Menchov/Sastre group. Sanchez of Euskaltel crosses at 2' 30" behind Efimkin, which means he lost about 1' 20" to the Sastre group. Chris Horner comes in for 30th.  Despite Pereiro's struggles, it is a great stage for Caisse d'Epargne. With Efimkin they get the stage and the Gold Jersey. Can they defend it tomorrow? 

The surprise of the day has to be Devolder, who is right there with the elite climbers but who will smoke them all in the time trials. We'll see if Devolder can keep up in the mountains to come. Riders come across in ones and twos, looking haggard from this beast of a climb. 

So the provisional stage 4 results:
1. Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne)
2. Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) @ 1' 06"
3. Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel) @ 1' 06" "

4. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) @ 1' 06"
5. Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) @ 1' 06" "
6. Carlos Sastre (CSC) @ 1' 06"
7. Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) @ 1' 28"
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) @ 1' 33"
9. Ezequiel Mosquera (Karpin Galacia) @ 1' 36"
10. Leonardo Bertagnolli (Liquigas) @ 1' 49"
11. Chris Sorensen (CSC) @ 1' 50"
12. Stephane Goubert (AG2r) @ 1' 54" "
13. Manuel Beltran (Liquigas) @ 1' 57"
14. Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) @ 1' 57"

A happy man with his elfin hat and kisses from the Vuelta's podium misses.
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Efimkin pulls on the Gold Jersey and one of those Spanish hats that are very Keebler-esque. 

General Classification
1. Efimkin,
2. Menchov @ 1' 06"
3. Sastre @ 1' 06"
4. Monfort @ 1' 06"
5. Devolder @ 1' 06"
6. Piepoli @ 1' 06"
7. Evans @ 1' 28"

Thanks for joining us today for the live coverage. Be sure to check back at the DP later for full results and photos from today's exciting stage!

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