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91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 4 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 5/13/2008
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 4 Live Part 2

91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 4 Live Coverage Part 2
115 kilometers into the wind and a ten minute gap - Cofidis' Rik Verbrugghe is on a mission of revanche

1607 CEST - The chase apparently started for real, and the "distance-gap" fell under 8,000 metres. Rik Verbrugghe winds through Badolato Marina, the finishing line is still 55 kiometres away.

1607 CEST - The chase apparently started for real, and the "distance-gap" fell under 8,000 metres. Rik Verbrugghe winds through Badolato Marina, the finishing line is still 55 kilometres away.

1618 CEST - As the going got rainy at Soverato town, Rik Verbrugghe can still count on a nine-minute advantage with about 45 kilometre to go.

Danilo Di Luca was amongst those interviewed before the stage got underway: "Unfortunately transfers have always been part of the game, especially in the first week, and we should get on with that. The Maglia Rosa? I will think about that in the Pescostanzo stage. I know that other guys like Riccò have eyed that stage too, but he has got one victory already, so it's my turn now" the reigning champion said with a smile. In the meantime he kept himself trained by beating Davide Rebellin in a close tennis table match. "He's good even at playing table tennis" said Rebellin in "awe". :).

1627 CEST- The distance-gap has been cut down to about five kilometres: Rik Verbrugghe just went under the 45k-to-go banner. The bunch did the same, but with 45 kilometers left for them. And that is no small gap. If it wasn't for the Catanzaro ascent, the Belgian would have many more chances to make it.

1631 CEST - Less than 35k to go for Verbrugghe. OVER 40k to go for the field. The chasers are not making as many gains as they need.

1637 CEST -  Bingen Fernández Bustinza, a Basque rider well-known to our hardcore readers, just a had a flat, but thankfully got back in the saddle immediately. His teammate Rik Verbrugghe continues in his solo bid as the road is back to its (slightly) uphill ways. But the peloton is much more serious: the Belgian lost about one minute to the pack in the space of three kilometres.

Rik Verbrugghe of Cofidis soldiers on, in his solo attack.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The next ten kilometres will be challenging and crucial. If Verbrugghe keeps a solid advantage there , his chances to make it will stay solid. But it's gonna be hard for him: 30k to go, the gap dramatically dropped to four minutes. Verbrugghe lost about 2 and a half minutes in 5 kilometres. Milram, Liquigas and even Euskaltel are helping the chase. In the meantime Alex Spezialetti and High Road's André Greipel punctured, but both guys regained the field, the former even being paced by a royal "domestique" like Paolo Savoldelli.

1654 CEST - Things are getting hectic: Quick Step were the next ones conquering the front of the field in this uphill piece. Italy's National RR Champion Visconti drives the peloton charge and poor Verbrugghe, whose advantage has been brought down to about 01'40", is arguably going to be swallowed up soon. No matter how hard he's trying, resistance is gonna be futile today.

1659 CEST - Thomas Fothen was unable to follow the tempo. But his gap to the gruppo is far smaller than Loddo's, the German is likely to regain the field in the final descent to the line. The peloton can finally see Verbrugghe as they approach the top of the Catanzaro climb. The view is veeeeeerrry close ... so close that Verburgghe is about to be chased down.

1701 CEST - It's over! Rik Verbrugghe bravely stayed clear all by himself for 164 kilometres. But the peloton just absorbed him near the summit of the last ascent. Quickstep and LPR are leading the peloton.. maybe a day for the cricket??

1703 CEST - The "Gruppo Maglia Rosa", driven by LPR, is on the fast final descent. Mark Cavendish is nowhere to be seen. Did the Brit get dropped on the Catanzaro ascent? We do think so.  A second group with 80-100 legs (and half as many leg owners) inside follows shortly behind. 

15k to go, And no more uphill riding left. UHHH ... BETTINI ATTACKS!!

The Cricket gave it a go on the descent . He probably knew that he had few chances in a massive sprint. The good news for him is that a few riders are joining him. The bad news is that a bit TOO MANY riders are joining him! In fact the whole peloton covered his move. The sprinters and their teams don't give much to them... they are hungry and want the win!!!

Team LPR regained their status as pace-setters, while the race entered the last 10 kilometres. With chances of anything else but a bunch sprint basically down to zero, the next few miles are supposed to be an all-out battle over the best possible positions. LPR is riding like they have the maglia rosa, or want it.

Team High Road are riding tempo now, whilst Bettini moves back towards the top of the gruppo. And José Rujano (yes, he's riding too) comfortably stays off the back of the field.

1719 CEST -  5 km to go, Mark Cavendish is also part of the field. Needless to say, so is Rockin' Robbie ...

1722 CEST - 4 km to go, The peloton is a bullet on target for the finish.  Speaking of veterans, how could we forget about Fabio Baldato? He's 40 and still kicking. And still leading the Lampre charge with 3 kms left. High Road replaced them at the front. It's up to Rabun and Pinotti at the front.

But jerseys of different teams, different leadout machines are mixing up front. TWO KM. LEFT- The Milram wagons are ready to give Erik Zabel what he needs.

The final straight is a long one. 800M TO GO. Milram lead. McEwen around place 10. Some riders fell taking them out of contention.

Heading to the line Bennati, Cavendish and Forster... Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

HERE'S the sprint... Velo leads Zabel out, But Bennati starts his sprint Cavendish is the one that counters his move ...  comes around the Italian. And WINS!!


And... Young Gun - Cav has it! Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The High Road Brit was good enough at following the cyclamen-clad sprinter, who perhaps started his sprint a bit too early today. Sixth win for the High Road sprinter this season and his first Giro stage to add to his growing palmares.

Nick Nuyens receives medical check after the crash and a broken collarbone will end his dreams of a stage win at the Giro this year. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Nick Nuyens, runner-up at RVV, was seemingly the one that suffered the worst consequences as he hit the tarmac in the final straight. The Belgian fell on his shoulders. Amongst the others that went down was also Danilo Hondo and ... Trussov.  The Tinkoff rider sets a new record: two times down on the final straight in as many stages. Serov was the other Tinkoff who fell. Robbie McEwen took 7th today.

Provisional Results
1. Mark Cavendish
2. Robert Forster
3. Daniele Bennati

4. Assan Bazayev
5. Mirco Lorenzetto
6. Erik Zabel
7. Robbie McEwen
Full results and photos to come...

Daniele Bennati should stay in the Maglia Ciclamino with his third place. And once again as is the case in most sprinters stages no major changes in the G.C. as Franco Pellizotti of Liquigas leads Christian Vandevelde of Slipstream holding at one second followed by Danilo Diluca at 7.

Thanks for joining us for today's live report. Join us tomorrow for Stage 5 a 203 km jaunt from Belvedere Marittimo to Contursi Terme as the Giro goes inland to climb the 783 meter Fortino with the only mountain points on its average gradient of 4.8%, through the hills for a final 3 km uphill finish. A day tailor made for riders like Bettini, Rebellin and other classics sprinters that love the uphill finishes to give it one more try to gain a Giro stage victory.

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Related Articles
91st Giro d'Italia - Team Preview: Cofidis
91st Giro d'Italia - Stage 4 Live Coverage
91st Giro d'Italia - 2008 Giro Index Stage 1 - 11

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