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Settimana Coppi & Bartali - Stage 4 & Photos
By Fabio
Date: 3/27/2009
Settimana Coppi & Bartali - Stage 4 & Photos

Settimana Coppi & Bartali - Stage 4 & Photos
It's Damiano didn't win today, neither did Cadel. Line honors went to ... Roberto Gaggioli (as team manager) and Yuri Metlushenko (as rider).

The big news of the day on Coppi & Bartali Week roads was that .... Damiano Cunego gave room to someone else! But if you cast a glance at the altimetry below, you'll realize that this wasn't much of surprise: with some uphill/downhill times coming just in the first half, and countless (well, in fact "just" nine) laps of the pan flat circuit around Finale Emilia in the second, this was blatantly one for the sprinters. And the fastest wheels around did deliver.

Nevertheless, just like in most "average" sprinter's stages, their teams had to resort to their chasing abilities in order to bring back the "average" lesser-known riders aiming for some exposure - and something more if possible, but that wasn't the case - in the "breakaway of the day", that consisted of four men today. The Italians Sergio Laganà (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini), Alessandro Fantini (Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) and Luca Fioretti (Centri della Calzatura Marche), plus Martin Hebik (Psk Whirpool-Author) of the Czech Republic, went clear a couple miles after the gun.

The four escapees on the final circuits in Emilia with the Rai TV moto cameraman hanging out to get a closeup.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The four biketeers put over five minutes into the gruppo and were allowed to stay away for over 145 kilometres, which is no small accomplishment, but got chased down by the Katusha-driven peloton (with Amore Vita helpimg them) at the right time, straight before the beginning of the final lap of the finale (and ... Finale) circuit.

Metlushenko leads to the line -  Henderson on the inside, Rossi, Napolitano and Chicchi attempting to close in, but can only vie for the podium.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Nothing worthy of mention occurred in the last eight kilometres, a pile-up involving about half a dozen athletes aside, until the final straight came and Team Katusha's Danilo Napolitano just couldn't finish off the job done by his lieutenants - who left him with no leadoutman around there so he could add a new jewel to the stage victory he got three days ago.

Yuriy Metlushenko celebrates!  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Today was Yuriy Metlushenko's glory day: the Amore & Vita-McDonald's Ukrainian, coached by former professional cyclist Roberto Gaggioli, outsprinted the Siclian and the rest of the peloton - Francesco Chicchi captured the other top three spot and kiwi Greg Henderson sprinted to a solid fourth place finish - to claim a prestigious win. Metlushenko took advantage of being the only fastman with a teammate still alongside him in the final straight, and got a deserved victory that he dedicated to the memory of Valentino Fois, the Italian rider who passed away one year ago.

Amore & Vita-McDonald's Christian Fanini and Roberto Gaggioli  are obviously pleased by Metlushenko's victory. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Damiano Cunego didn't steal the show at the finishing line, but (almost) effortlessly retained the overall leader's jersey and his 28-second advantage over Cadel Evans, with Massimo Giunti a further four seconds back.

The main overall contenders basically saved their legs for tomorrow's final clash, running from Scandiano to Sassuolo over 162.8 km, with a circuit of 30 kilometres - that encompasses the Monte Evangelo wall (distance: 2,400 metres; gradients up to 8-10 percent) - in the first half and more climbing duties on the Montegibbio ascent (distance: 2 km.; gradients up to 16-18 percent) in the final circuit of 23.8 kilometres.

One more celebration awaited today's victor, Yuriy Metlushenko on the podium where he could display his Amore & Vita jersey with the "golden arches" of co-sponsor McDonalds. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Christian Fanini congratulates Yuri after the finale.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Stage 4 (Massa Finalese to Finale Emilia, 162.8 km): Top 10 Places
1. Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr - Amore & Vita-McDonald's) - 03h38'29" (10")
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita - Team Katusha) - s.t. (06")
3. Francesco Chicchi (Ita - Liquigas) - s.t. (04")
4. Greg Henderson (Nzl - Team Columbia-High Road) - s.t.
5. Francisco Ventoso (Spa - Carmiooro-A-Style) - s.t.
6. Enrico Rossi (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce) - s.t.
7. Luca Paolini (Ita - Acqua & Sapone-Caffé Mokambo) - s.t.
8. Krzysztof Szczawinski (Pol - Miche-Selle Italia) - s.t.
9. Michele Merlo (Ita - Barloworld) - s.t.
10. Alberto Loddo (Ita - Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) - s.t.
* Complete stage results HERE (pdf file).

Jersey leaders after stage 4, Robert Kiserlovski, Damiano Cunego and Dmitri Nikandrov  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

GC after Stage 4: Top 10 Places
1. Damiano Cunego (Ita - Lampre-NGC) - 14h28'35"
2. Cadel Evans (Aus - Silence-Lotto) - at 28"
3. Massimo Giunti (Ita - Miche-Silver Cross) - at 32"
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro - Amica Chips-Knauf) - at 34"
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita - ISD) - at 59"
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita - CSF Group-Navigare) - at 01'02"
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol - Miche-Silver Cross) - at 01'04"
8. Morris Possoni (Ita - Team Columbia-High Road) - at 01'05"
9. Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col - Barloworld) - at 01'07"
10. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita - Flaminia-Bossini Docce) - at 01'28"
* Full overall standings HERE (pdf file).

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