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62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live Part 1
By Staff
Date: 5/3/2008
62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live Part 1

62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 4
A break of three have just been caught and attacks at the front we have a break...

Stage 4  Sion - Zinal  127 km
Welcome to our live report of stage four. Some additional info on the stage. The stage was shortened by 15 km due to a stone avalanche. Therefore they had to skip the Col de Saint-Luc. So the roads to the final climb up to Zinal are more or less flat.

Breaking news!! Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) will not start in the Giro d'Italia due to a inflammation of the lungs. He will be replaced by good-old Erik Zabel.

The full Giro team of Milram is:
Igor Astarloa
Markus Eichler
Sergio Ghisalberti
Matej Jurco
Alberto Ongarato
Enrico Poitschke
Fabio Sabatini
Marco Velo
Erik Zabel

Also Gerolsteiner announced they are built their team with around Davide Rebellin. The Giro is really important to them because manager Holczer wants to have a new sponsor within two months as Gerolsteiner ends its sponsorship at the end of the season.
The Giro team of Gerolsteiner is:
Thomas Fothen
Robert Förster
Johannes Fröhlinger
Oscar Gatto
Sven Krauss
Andrea Moletta
Volker Ordowski
Davide Rebellin

More teams have announced there line-ups for the Giro already. So tune in on Dailypeloton the coming week for the annual Giro teams previews!

99 km to go. Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre) and Mario Aerts (Silence-Lotto) are in the lead. The riders have done the first col already. The bunch is not far behind as more and more riders bridge across to Aerts and Tiralongo. The bunch is about 60/70 riders strong; the others dropped off the back on the climb.

The break is caught but immediately new attacks. Astana takes the lead in the bunch now but a Caisse riders attacks. David Lopez (Caisse D'Epargne), Michael Albasini (Liquigas) and Hubert Schwab (Quick Step) in the lead now. Albasini is the leader in the points ranking, The break is getting stronger as more riders joined the front - we have 11 leaders now with 1 rider trying to bridge across. The group Astana is about 40 riders strong. The chaser is Jerome Coppel of La FDJ.

90 km to go, the riders are now on the Saint-Martin. the second climb of the day. In the break we see: Gustov, Lopez, De Bonis, Albasini, Coppel, Schwab, Zubeldia, Gadret, Fofonov, Halgand, Clement and Zampieri, So 12 leaders now. They have 1.14 on the bunch which gets bigger again. Lots of dropped riders came back in the descent.

So recapping the break we have: Volodymyr Gustov (CSC), David Lopez (Caisse D'Epargne), Francesco de Bonis (Gerolsteiner), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Jerome Coppel (La FDJ), Hubert Schwab (Quick Step), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel), John Gadret (Ag2r), Dimitry Fofonov and Patrice Halgand (C. Agricole), stef Clement (Bouygues) and Steve Zampieri (Cofidis)

Lots of riders dropping off the back of the peloton as Astana leads the pace on the Saint-Martin. On the final climb to Zinal we will get a battle between Klöden and Dekker for the overall lead. It's likely we will have quite a battle.

The break has 1.10 on the bunch led by Astana. Still lots of riders struggling due to the pace; it's Sergey Yakovlev forcing the pace at the front of the chase. It is Laurent Mangel (Ag2r) in the break and not Gadret. Mangel dropped off the break already. so 11 leaders left. They are on top of the Saint-Martin now. De Bonis as first ahead of Zubeldia and Zampieri

1431 CEST - The bunch is on top of the Saint-Martin 1.40 down on the break. Albasini is the best ranked rider in the break. 1.11 down on race leader Andreas Klöden so the ranks of the riders in the break are:
16 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas 1.11
23 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom 1.36
25 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 1.41
34 Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Française des Jeux 2.14
37 Francesco De Bonis (Ita) Gerolsteiner
39 Hubert Schwab (Swi) Quick Step 2.44
50 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team CSC 3.19
55 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Crédit Agricole 3.23
66 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole 4.05
73 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 6.09
113 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 16.47
As you can see only Albasini, Clement, Zubeldia and in a smaller way also Coppel, De Bonis and Schwab are threats for Klöden. De Bonis is 2.22 down on Klöden. Albasini is currently the leader on the road.

1440 Cest - 80 km to go and the gap of the 11 leaders is 1.35. Today is a race action day with lots of races: Tour de Romandie, GP Industria & Artigianato- Larciano , Vuelta a Asturias, Ronde van Overijssel, the Gracia Orlova race for women and much more races on other continents. Spring has sprung and the cycling season is rolling out at every level.

Talking about the overall classification. wonder what the tactics of Astana will be. OK at the moment they are controlling the race but it was probably better if a rider like Gusev or Morabito went in the break so Rabobank had to chase. Or have they so much faith in Klöden that he can battle with Thomas Dekker on the climb to Zinal? we will see it's still 70 km to the finish. Abandon of Tom Leezer (Rabobank). One  rider less to help Thomas Dekker. The reason for his abandon is illness.

1456 CEST - The gap is up to almost 2.00 minutes now for the break as they are heading to the next climb. Astana continues to lead the pace at the front of affairs.

Albasini wins the first intermediate sprint in Rechy. Due to the time bonus here he is now 1.08 down in the virtual overall ranking on Klöden. The break is now on the climb of the Vercorin; it is a very tough climb and has a short but technical descent.

60 km to go, The peloton is on the Vercorin climb too, continuing it's pursuit. Steve Zampieri accelerates in the break. He is from Switzerland and wants to show himself. Astana is hard at work leading the bunch but race leader Andreas Klöden has disappeared from the front of the group; is he bluffing? O is he having a bad day?

1508 CEST - Klöden is back at the front again so no worries on his situation. The work of Kloden's mates is working to close the gap they are 1.30 down on the break now.

1513 CEST - Rabobank leads the chase in the bunch now. I don't understand that tactic from Rabobank. I would leave the chase to Astana; at any rate, Laurens ten Dam and Bauke Mollema are setting the pace with Thomas Dekker in their wheels. No sign of Denis Menchov yet.

1518 CEST - The gap is down to 1.13, as Rabobank's efforts are rewarded; the front group continue to work in unison on the climb ahead.

1530 CEST - 54 km to go gap down to 1.11. Not much happening yet, as we are in a lull in the race action as the peloton keeps pace with the break.

Young gun and neo pro Francesco de Bonis (Gerolsteiner) is setting the pace in the break. De Bonis is really showing himself in this years Tour de Romandie. He is not selected for the Giro team as he is still a neo professional. But he is a great prospect for the future. Attack of De Bonis in the break. The bunch is one minute down. De Bonis is as first on top of the Vercorin; the attack was to distance himself to take the mountains points.

1535 CEST - 50 km to go, The gap of the break is up to 1.30 again. One more climb to come before the final climb to the summit finish of the stage. The chase should heat up again on the penultimate climb.

Other news: Toyota main sponsor of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team has announced to that Toyota will not continue its sponsorship when the contract ends on December 1. Team manager Sean Tucker is  confident that the squad will find a new sponsor in 2009. Toyota has done very well during the first three years delivering big stage wins of Ivan Dominguez in Georgia and Dominique Rollin in California.

Crash of Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) in the break. Zampieri is up and back taking his place in the break again after the crash. Again 11 leaders at the front. As Rabobank has pulled off the front and Astana takes over the pace making.

1544 CEST - 40 km to go and the gap 1.38 on the bunch. We will have to wait for the final climbs (hopefully) for more race action. No point in catching the break too soon, the battle of the leaders will be timed most likely on the final climb.

1550 CEST - The break is still working well together. Their gap has gone up to 2.10 with 36 km to go.

So recapping the break we have: Volodymyr Gustov (CSC), David Lopez (Caisse D'Epargne), Francesco de Bonis (Gerolsteiner), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Jerome Coppel (La FDJ), Hubert Schwab (Quick Step), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel), Dimitry Fofonov and Patrice Halgand (C. Agricole), Stef Clement (Bouygues) and Steve Zampieri (Cofidis)

Zubeldia and David Lopez have to be the better climbers in the group. Zubeldia finished in the top 5 of the Tour once in his career. David Lopez won the queens stage in the Tour of Germany in 2007 on top of the tough Rettenbachferner climb.

Michael Albasini is also doing well this season. But, he has too as his goal is the Olympic Games in Beijing. Switzerland can send two riders to the Olympic Games and there is still one spot available next to CSC' Fabian Cancellara. Elmiger, Albasini and Rast are the three riders battling for the final spot.

Breaking news!!! Astana has gotten a last-minute invitation for the Giro D'Italia next week. Astana was refused at first due to accusations of breaking the ethical codes. But now Zomegnan changed his mind and invited them to the race. The team will start with Levi Leipheimer, Alberto Contador and Andreas Klöden. Gusev, Bazayev, Muravyev, Iglinskiy and two others will start. Colom and Yakovlev are the final two riders in the Astana roster. Who is going to beat Astana in the Giro? They will want to do well in Italy to show that they deserve a spot in the Tour too

1600 CEST - Back to Romandie - 30 km to go and the gap holding at 2.00 minutes for the eleven.
Zomegnan his reaction "it's still not official that Astana will start. We will wait until the end of the Tour de Romandie for the final decision" But it seems that the chance is quite good that Astana will start in Italy next week. The breaking news about Astana to the giro came from Astana press officer Philippe Maertens; on TV they called Zomegnan and he said that it was still not official. Is Zomegnan backing up?

Other news: The Team CSC shop has been stocked with a brand new item: Bed Sheets with pictures of the Team CSC riders. The package contains both a cover for the pillow and the duvet in 100 % cotton. Now CSC fans can cuddle up with the lads at night. Team CSC.

1512 CEST - 25 km to go, Back to the race they are now on the next climb to Vissoie. The break is splitting up; Gustov, De Bonis, Schwab, Halgand and Zubeldia are the new leaders. Coppel, Zampieri, Clement and Albasini are the first chasers. They are 12 seconds behind on the five leaders.

We lost Lopez and Fofonov in front, Jerome Coppel has dropped off the back of the chasers too. The lads are going hard now. The bunch is 1.29 down on the leaders. Thomas Dekker having problems, he drops off the back of the bunch. He's having a bad day. Bye bye Dekker. Rabobank now has to count on Menchov. We will have to wait for Dekker's reaction for the on what happened.

1617 CEST - De Bonis and Halgand are now the two new leaders. Then three chasers with Zubeldia, Gustov and Schwab and than Clement trying to bridge up to the three chasers. Dries Devenyns (Silence-Lotto) attacks out of the bunch. Albasini is reeled in by the bunch now.

Abandon Thomas Dekker! The disappointment is too big I think to go on.

22 km to go - Attack of Kreuziger in the bunch. The third in the ranking. Or the second? after the abandon of Dekker. It's not Kreuziger but Beltran in the attack. Klöden has no team mates left with him for support. De Bonis and Halgand gets the company of Gustov in the lead.

Three leaders now. the bunch Klöden is 1.00 down on the three. Pinotti still hanging in there as well with the Klöden group as Gusev seems to be dropped Pinotti is now the virtual number 3 of the GC.

20 km to go-  Klöden has Iglinskiy next to him to do the work in the chase. The group Klöden is about 25 riders strong. 4 leaders now as Zubeldia rejoined De Bonis, Gustov and Halgand. Attack of again De Bonis in the break as the final climb to Zinal is coming closer; the group Klöden is now 40 seconds down on the young Italian; still lots of riders between him and the Klöden grouppo and two climbs to come. The one to Gimmenz and the other, Zinal.

Eddy Ratti has won the GP Industria & Artigianato in Italy here is the top ten:
1 Eddy Ratti (Nippo Endeka)
2 Francesco Ginanni (Diquigiovanni Androni)
3 Luis Felipe Laverde (CSF Group Navigare)
4 Giairo Ermeti (Lpr Ballan)
5 Pasquale Muto (Miche Silver Cross)
6 Dainius Kairelis (Ceraamica Flaminia - Bossini)
7 Luca Paolini (Acqua&Sapone)
8 Ruslan Ivanov (Diquigiovanni Androni)
9 Kjell Carlstrom (Liquigas)
10 Vincenzo Garoffalo (Nippo

1633 CEST - Beltran, Devenyns and Moncoutie who attacked out of the bunch are now reeling in Zubeldia, Gustov and Schwab. Morabito has moved to the front for Klöden next to Iglinskiy. Stef Clement is reeled in by the bunch now after a good effort today.

Our live coverage continues in part two.

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62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 1 Live
62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 2 Live
62nd Tour de Romandie - Stage 4 Live Part 2

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