The big news of the day on Coppi & Bartali Week roads was that ....
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 ...
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
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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