97th Tour de France - Stage 4
Lampre's Ale Jet Petacchi stamps the sprint finish with authority to take his
second victory in the tour de France.
Jersey Leaders Stage 4
Fabian Cancellara Saxo Bank
Maillot Vert: Thor Hushovd Cervello TestTeam
Pineau Quick Step
Geraint Thomas Team SKY
Team: Saxo Bank
the Daily Peloton
Wednesday 7th July
Stage 4; Cambrai - Reims 153.5 km
Alessandro 'Ale Jet' Petacchi started his sprint with 300 meters to go
performing like the supersonic aircraft he was nicknamed for years ago to
take his second victory in this years tour de France.
Petacchi proved to have the fastest legs, dominating his fellow sprinters in
the mass finish in Reims today besting: Garmin's Julian Dean, Edvald Boasson
Hagen (Team SKY), Robbie McEwen (Katusha) and Robert Hunter (Garmin) who filled
out the top 5. Mark
Alessandro Petacchi celebrates his win... (Left to right) Robert Hunter,
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Julian Dean, Robbie McEwen and Thor Hushovd in the green
jersey. Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
This is the blue & Fuscia rider's 165th career win and 7th victory this year
- showing his back wheel to the tour's fast men. The Lampre team led by Gavazzi
dueled with HTC/Columbia and Garmin transition teams taking control in the final
kilometer to launch Petacchi, who flew up the right side of the road as
Dean, Robbie McEwen tried to close in at the line but could get no closer to the
Italian than his rear wheel as he crossed the line with a clear advantage and
celebrated by raising his arms to the sky.
For the 36 year old Italian, "Gentleman Sprinter" he was a happy man,
thanking his team, in particular Francesco Gavazzi for the perfect lead out and
commenting that one needs a strong team, which he has, to win at the tour.
Petacchi should be taking special pleasure out of the win today, having said
Cavendish could be beaten and having accomplished what some believe an
impossible task, twice this tour. Cavendish, once again came up short in 12th
place on the stage after what appeared to be a perfect lead out from his team.
Green jersey Thor Hushovd led out the early part of the sprint but became
boxed in as the line closed in. Thor holds on to the sprinters jersey with
Ale Jet moving to only ten points off the Norwegian champions point count of 80.
153.5km - 3h34:55
1 Alessandro Petacchi Lampre/Farnes Vini
2 Julian Dean Garmin/Transitions
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen Team SKY
4 Robbie McEwen Katusha
5 Robbie Hunter Garmin/Transitions
6 Sebastien Turgot Bbox Bouygues Telecom
7 Jose Rojas Caisse d'Epargne
8 Daniel Oss Liquigas/Doimo
9 Thor Hushovd Cervélo TestTeam
10 Oscar Freire Rabobank
After 799 kilometers of racing and four stages the overall classification
changed not a tittle after the shakeup yesterday on the cobble -rific stage with Fabian Cancellara still in the maillot jaune arriving
in the body of the peloton escorted by team mate Stuart O'Grady.
The day was animated by an escape of five riders who left the comfort of the
group only one kilometer after the start with high hope to defy the sprinters
their day of glory on a perfect sunny day for racing...
Stage 4; Cambrai - Reims 153.5 km
An attack by Ag2r la Mondiale's Dimitri Champion starting shortly after Bernard
Hinault dropped the flag was joined by Euskaltel's Inaki Isasi,
Footon/Servetto's Iban Mayoz, Nicolas Vogondy (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Omega
Pharma/Lotto's Francis De Greef; as if on cue the quintet quickly opened a gap
of of over a minute in the following kilometers on the Saxo Bank led peloton to
raise the curtain on the drama of stage 4.
After 3 tough days of racing, unsurprisingly the peloton was looking for an
easy day as they rode under clear and sunny conditions as our fab five continued
to move up the road intent on increasing the gap in the opening hour.
Graphic © 2010
Tour de France
Through the first points sprint in Walincourt-Selvigny after 12.5 kilometers
Iban Mayoz (Footon/Servetto) took the max points followed by Ag2r's Dimiti
Champion and Belgian Francis De Greef (Omega Pharma/Lotto) having opened the gap
to over 1:30. The five continued to work well together; Euskaltel's Inaki Isasi
was the best placed rider at 3:46 behind Cancellara and no real threat to the
Swiss riders jersey. On a day the sprinters teams could be counted on to work
for or an group arrival for a mass sprint Saxo Bank led the chase knowing their
time at the front would be limited before the sprinters teams got active.
After 17 km the French, Spanish and Belgian alliance opened to the gap to 3
minutes... by 25 kilometers Isasi became the virtual leader on the road as
the gap grew to 3:50 as the riders approached the lone climb on today's stage
the category 4 Cote de Vadencourt at the 40.5 km mark.
Behind the HTC-Columbia team. took control of the front to control the
gap to avoid any surprises with the gap going beyond what they could easily take
back. Kanstantsin Sivtsov took the point on the front, settled in for the long
haul. The 27 year old rider from Gomel, Belarus a talented time trialist and
climber had no trouble dragging the gap down to 2:30 over the next 20 km Isasi hardly had time to
enjoy his virtual leader honors... as Sivtsov the former U23 world road champion
(2004) and 2008 winner of the Tour of Georgia continued alone at the front
setting the pace.
Over the summit the 3 climbing points were claimed by Footon's Iban Mayoz
followed by Francis De Greef (2pts) and Inaki Isasi (EUS) (1pt); at
the moment the climbing points would have no impact on Jerome Pineau's KOM lead.
Behind, Isasi's Euskaltel teammate Amets Txurruka didn't fare as well,
taking a tumble and losing some skin... a quick bike change and a visit to the
tour doctor and the Basque climber managed to rejoin the peloton.
Through the second points sprint in with 104 km to go the it was the Belgian
Francis De Greef taking the points in Flavigny, Iban Mayoz and
Bbox's Nicolas Vogondy followed...
The peloton continued to shadow the five riders on the front keeping them
close with teams rotating riders to the front all but Saxo Bank that is...
and all credit to Kanstantsin Sivtsov who was the most persistent on the front
leading the chase.
With 55 km to go the peloton led by a Lampre and HTC/Columbia rider with the
Lance Armstrong escorted by his RadioShack squad leading the peloton
keeping our escapees on a short leash of 1:19 as Saxo Bank continued to enjoy
easy day for yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara and team leader Andy Schleck.
41 km to go our five continued to fight with 1:01, recharged with optimism by
the 37 km to go marker they took back another ten seconds on the chase led
by Lampre and a lone HTC rider. RadioShack with Armstrong and Liquigas with
Basso in escort followed on the front. Traveling through farm country the riders
passed a modern concrete silo complex that looked oddly out of place in
comparison to the small villages the tour went through earlier. The scene with
the silo might have been as much at home in the farm country of Kansas or
Head optimist in the break, Bbox's Nicolas Vogondy took a long pull on the
front taking the cheers of his compatriots pusing the gap to 1:35. With 30 km to
go Cervélo moved to the front to close the gap as the race was about to meet its
business end in Reims - the gap fell to 40 seconds as the peloton followed our
five optimists through he sprint banner.
De Greef led Vogondy and Isasi through the final hot sprint in the gap
quickly fell under Cervelo's lead to 30 seconds with Thor Hushovd in tow and
Robbie McEwen moving up on Thor's wheel. Behind Cunego and two mates fought to
regain the peloton after flatting.
With 20 km to go the fab five lingered off the front with 30 seconds as
HTC/Columbia joined the Cervélo men in white with Lampre/Farnese with Petacchi
still in attendance on the front - each team taking a position to take control
of the front in Reims.
The pace picked up but Vogondy and Champion persisted, doubling their effort
on the front matching the chase with 15 km to go hanging on to 30 seconds -
optimists five showed no sign of giving up hope though it was clear they
couldn't possibly last much longer as they came into view of the chase on the
straighter sections of the road.
The gap was down to 18 seconds as our five continued to bravely fight
to stay away in spite of their lowering odds against the fresher legs of
teams:Lampre, Cervélo and HTC who dominated the chase.
Amazingly with 9 km to go, our leaders had 15 seconds - they refused to quit
and taunted the chase... behind it was Lampre who controll;ed the front as BMC
moved up with Ballan leading Hincapie and Evans. 6 km 13 seconds... HTC
lead the front with Martin the five continued bravely on hoping against the
inevitable praying for glory.
5 km to go the five fight for their survival as the the go through the first
of the roundabouts in Reims, De Greef is dropped as four continue their
battle for the line... but with Lampre on the front the three were finally
reeled in with Inaki Isasi the last to give up his tenuous gap on the chase with
3.5 km to go after 150 kilometers on the attack.
A hectic closing in the next 3 kilometers through a few roundabouts followed
as HTC Columbia, Cervélo, Lampre and Liquigas jostled for control of the front
HTC's Tony Martin led with 2 km to go; but through the final piece of road
furniture it was Lampre leading under the 1 km banner.
With 500 meters Hushovd, Gavazzi and Petacchi,Cavendish Hagan and Garmin
sprinters Dean and Hunter in the rush for the line spread out across the road.
Ale Jet Petacchi makes his move with 300 meters to go...
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
With 300 meters to go Petacchi launched his sprint up the right side of the
road opening a gap with McEwen on his wheel trying to come around.
Dean and Hagan passed McEwen to take second and third with McEwenm holding on
for fourth with Hunter nipping Bouygues' Turgot and Caisse d'Eparne's Rojas for
the Daily Peloton
Tour de France
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Report: Part 1,
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