The Colombian Josè Rodolfo Serpa Perez
(Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni) is the winner of Sunday's fourth and penultimate stage of the Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda, a demanding ride of 152.8 km. around Grumello del Monte town near Bergamo with the Solto Collina (Cat. 2) and Gandosso (Cat. 1) climbs, the latter coming only 3 km. from the finish, to be climbed.
Stage honors came down to a matter of three as Serpa, his teammate Michele Scarponi (who at his turn strenghtened his grip on the overall leader's jersey) and Italy's Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) successfully attacked Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol - Miche) and Luca Zanasca (Ita - CDC-Cavaliere) in the last few miles. Such five-strong front group formed on today's last slopes after the "breakaway of the day" had been chased down.
Jackson Rodriguez (Ven - Androni Giocattoli-Diquigiovanni), Yuri Metlushenko (Ukr - Amore & Vita-Conad), Silvère Ackermann (Swi - Voralberg-Corratec), Luca Corioni (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Vojtech Hacecky (Cze - Atlas Personal), Eugenio Loria (Ita - CDC-Cavaliere), Paolo Bailetti (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia) as well as Boy Van Poppel (Hol - Rabobank CT) broke clear at km. 19 and were joined by Damiano Caruso (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic), Salvatore Commesso (Ita - Meridiana Kamen Team), Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita - ISD-Neri), Paolo Ciavatta (Ita - Acqua & Sapone), Daniele Ratto (Ita - Carmiooro-NGC) and Alan Marangoni (Ita - Colnago-CSF Inox) at km. 30. The guys put up to 03'41" into the field (by the km. 80 check) but got hopeless when the chase became serious, and were eventually reeled in at the foot of the last climb around km. 144, leaving room for the Serpas, Scarponis and Carraras of the peloton.
In fact it was Matteo Carrara who had the quickest legs in the three-man battle for the laurels and crossed the line first, but the Italian was sanctioned by the jury because of irregular sprinting (almost ran Serpa into the barriers) and relegated to third place, such that victory was eventually awarded to the South American. Bad Boy Carrara was also kindly given a thirty-second time penalty in the GC, that kicked him down to spot number four (Niemiec took advantage of that to move into podium places).
Besides capturing the top spot in the Points ranking, Michele Scarponi extended his overall lead over Riccardo Riccò, who finished 15th today, nine seconds behind the winner, to half a minute with just one stage left. But he'd better be very careful in tomorrow's tough ride of 153 km. from Montello to Piazza Matteotti square in downtown Bergamo, with Colle del Gallo, Selvino and Colle Aperto as the last three difficulties of the race.
Stage 4 (Grumello del Monte to Grumello del Monte, 152.8 km)
Top 10 Places
1. Josè R. Serpa Pérez (Col - Androni-Diquigiovanni) - 03h28'33"
2. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Androni-Diquigiovanni) - s.t.
3. Matteo Carrara (Ita - Vacansoleil Pro CT) - s.t.
4. Johann Tschopp (Swi - Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) - at 05"
5. Nicolas Schnyder (Swi - Price-Custom Bikes) - at 05"
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol - Miche) - at 05"
7. Luca Zanasca (Ita - CDC-Cavaliere) - at 05"
8. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol - ISD-Neri) - at 08"
9. Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Miche) - at 08"
10. Emanuele Sella (Ita - Carmiooro-NGC) - at 08"
* Complete stage results HERE (pdf file).
40th Settimana Lombarda - GC after Stage 4: Top 10 Places
1. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Androni-Diquigiovanni) - 13h38'06"
2. Riccardo Riccò (Ita - Ceramica Flaminia) - at 30"
3. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche) - at 35"
4. Matteo Carrara (Ita - Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) - at 42"
5. Luca Zanasca (Ita - CDC–Cavaliere) - at 45"
6. Riccardo Chiarini (Ita - De Rosa-Stac Plastic) - at 01'00"
7. Fortunato Baliani (Ita - Miche) - at 01'01"
8. Johann Tschopp (Swi - Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) - at 01'07"
9. Emanuele Sella (Ita - Carmiooro-NGC) - at 01'09"
10. Josè R. Serpa Pérez (Col - Androni-Diquigiovanni) - at 01'10"
* Full GC after Stage 4 HERE (pdf file).
Points: 1. Michele Scarponi (Ita - Androni-Diquigiovanni)
Mountains: 1. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche)
Young Riders: 1. Tom Jelte Slagter (Hol - Rabobank CT)
Foreign Riders: 1. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol - Miche)
Teams: 1. Androni Giocattoli–Diquigiovanni