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Paris Nice Stage Four: Report and Results
 
By Locutus
Date: 3/13/2003
Paris Nice Stage Four: Report and Results
 

Étape 4 - Source Perrier (Vergèze) - 16.5 km
Individual Time Trial

As expected, Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) took control of the overall in Paris-Nice today in the flat, technical 16.5 km time trial. For a long time, it looked like today's winner would be Tyler "Superball" Hamilton (CSC), who blazed to a time of 19' 20", smoking the then-best time of Mikel Pradera (ONCE) by 29".

Hamilton went long before the leaders due to his poor performance on the Stage 2 climbs. The next big time to come through was Franck Vandenbroucke (Quickstep-Davitamon), who caught his 1' man Oscar Camenzind (Phonak) on the last half of the course. Camenzind raised his pace in defiance, and dualed with Vandenbroucke all the way to the finish where the Belgian eventually passed him. This push seemed to help Vandenbroucke, as he crossed the line only .14" behind Hamilton.

But the leaders of the race were yet to fire. As the top 20 in the GC began to cross the line, it became apparent that today would see a huge shakeup in the standings. Axel Merckx (Lotto-Domo) started the day in 10th, but he lost 1' 38" to Frigo and plummeted from the leaderboard. Race leader David Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) also lost 58" to "Frosty" Frigo, plunging him down to 5th on GC,  46" behind his compatriot.

In the race to impress the Tour organizers for a final wildcard spot, the AG2r team struggled while Milaneza-MSS and Brioches la Boulangere each put two men in the top ten on GC. At the start of the day, Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r) was in 5th at 22"; his time today was 1'48" back of Frigo, however, with Frigo almost catching him out on the course, and he fell out of sight on GC. Meanwhile, Milaneza's Claus Michael Møller took 6th on the stage at 20", climbing to 7th overall at 1' 13". His teammate David Bernabeu also rode well enough to crack the leaderboard, and now stands in 10th at 1' 41".

Frenchmen Didier Rous and Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangere) also turned in inspired rides. Rous hammered to 10th on the stage at 31", and now stands in 8th on GC at 1' 27". Chavanel finished the stage in 7th at 22', and he now stands in 9th on GC at 1' 31". Chavanel also claimed the Blue Jersey for the best young rider. Brioches teammate Jerome Pineau also holds the King of the Mountains Jersey. With the preponderance of French riders on this French team, these results now make them a leading threat for a Tour wildcard.

The other big winners on today were ONCE-Eroski, who had several riders turn in excellent times and ended the day with five men in the top 20. They were led by Mikel Zarrabeitia, who started the day in 4th on GC at 22". Zarrabeitia finished 5th on the stage at 18", and climbed to 3rd on GC at 27" behind Frigo. His teammate Jorg Jaksche smoked the course, coming in 2nd at 8" and climbing to 4th on GC at 32". ONCE seems to have the strongest team in the race, and should give Frigo and Vinokourov fits over the next few stages. For his part, the defending champion Vinokourov (Telekom) had an excellent day as well: he came in 8th in the stage at 24", and now stands in 2nd on GC, only 14" behind Frigo. However, Vinokourov's team is weak, as Daniele Nardello left in Stage 2 with an injury and Mario Aerts has struggled with illness. These two men were supposed to lead him through the mountains, but now it's down to Bobby Julich and Matthias Kessler to help Vinokourov stave off the attacks of the stronger teams on the climbs.

Be sure to tune in with us for live coverage tomorrow as the battle goes to the mountains with a brutal uphill finish on Mont Faron - here is the profile for tomorrow's Stage 5. See you then!

Stage Four Results

1  FRIGO Dario  ITA  FAS  19' 07"
2  JAKSCHE Jorg  GER  ONE  00' 08"
3  HAMILTON Tyler  USA  CSC  00' 13"
4  VANDENBROUCKE Franck  BEL  QSD  00' 14"
5  ZARRABEITIA Mikel  ESP  ONE  00' 18"
6  MOLLER Claus Michael  DEN  MIL  00' 20"
7  CHAVANEL Sylvain  FRA  BLB  00' 22"
8  VINOKOUROV Alexandre  KAZ  TEL  00' 24"
9  PETERSEN Jorgen Bo  DEN  FAK  00' 28"
10  ROUS Didier  FRA  BLB  00' 31"
11  GUSTOV Volodomir  UKR  FAS  00' 38"
12  SERRANO Marcos  ESP  ONE  00' 40"
13  PRADERA Mikel  ESP  ONE  00' 42"
14  GIL PEREZ Koldo  ESP  ONE  00' 45"
15  SCHMIDT Torsten  GER  GST  00' 45"
16  HIEKMANN Torsten  GER  TEL  00' 46"
17  VOIGT Jens  GER  C.A  00' 46"
18  WIGGINS Bradley  GBR  FDJ  00' 47"
19  CANADA David  ESP  QSD  00' 47"
20  PEREIRO SIO Oscar  ESP  PHO  00' 48"
21  KRIVTSOV Yuriy  UKR  DEL  00' 48"
22  BERNABEU David  ESP  MIL  00' 49"
23  CANCELLARA Fabian  SUI  FAS  00' 57"
24  REBELLIN Davide  ITA  GST  00' 59"
25  ARROYO David  ESP  ONE  00' 59"
...
29  JULICH Bobby  USA  TEL  01' 02"
30  O'GRADY Stuart  AUS  C.A  01' 04"
31  CASAR Sandy  FRA  FDJ  01' 05"
42  CAMENZIND Oscar  SUI  PHO  01' 14"
46  PADRNOS Pavel  CZE  USP  01' 16"
47  ASTARLOZA Mikel  ESP  A2R  01' 17"
48  JEKER Fabian  SUI  MIL  01' 17"
49  HONDO Danilo  GER  TEL  01' 17"
50  SIMONI Gilberto  ITA  SAE  01' 19"
55  PETACCHI Alessandro  ITA  FAS  01' 22"
58  MATTAN Nico  BEL  COF  01' 25"
59  ETXEBARRIA Unai  VEN  EUS  01' 27"
60  BROCHARD Laurent  FRA  A2R  01' 27"
74  MERCKX Axel  BEL  LOT  01' 39"
77  VAN HEESWIJK Max  NED  USP  01' 41"
86  BOTCHAROV Alexandre  RUS  A2R  01' 48"
98  VIRENQUE Richard  FRA  QSD  02' 03"
107  COOKE Baden  AUS  FDJ  02' 10"
108  JALABERT Nicolas  FRA  CSC  02' 11"
115  BOONEN Tom  BEL  QSD  02' 19"
148  AERTS Mario  BEL  TEL  03' 50"
150  MC EWEN Robbie  AUS  LOT  03' 59"

General Classfication after Stage 4

1  FRIGO Dario  ITA  FAS  10h 39' 45"
2  VINOKOUROV Alexandre  KAZ  TEL  00' 14"
3  ZARRABEITIA Mikel  ESP  ONE  00' 27"
4  JAKSCHE Jorg  GER  ONE  00' 32"
5  REBELLIN Davide  ITA  GST  00' 46"
6  GUSTOV Volodomir  UKR  FAS  00' 51"
7  MOLLER Claus Michael  DEN  MIL  01' 13"
8  ROUS Didier  FRA  BLB  01' 27"
9  CHAVANEL Sylvain  FRA  BLB  01' 31"
10  BERNABEU David  ESP  MIL  01' 41"
11  LATASA David  ESP  KEL  01' 43"
12  PETERSEN Jorgen Bo  DEN  FAK  01' 44"
13  PEREIRO SIO Oscar  ESP  PHO  01' 46"
14  SERRANO Marcos  ESP  ONE  01' 46"
15  GIL PEREZ Koldo  ESP  ONE  01' 52"
16  ARVESEN Kurt-Asle  NOR  FAK  01' 54"
17  SANCHEZ Samuel  ESP  EUS  01' 55"
18  RODRIGUEZ Joaquim  ESP  ONE  01' 56"
19  KIRCHEN Kim  LUX  FAS  01' 57"
20  BOTCHAROV Alexandre  RUS  A2R  01' 57"
21  VAN DE WOUWER Kurt  BEL  QSD  02' 05"
22  VANDENBROUCKE Franck  BEL  QSD  02' 14"
23  FRAGNIERE Cédric  SUI  C.A  02' 17"
24  MERCKX Axel  BEL  LOT  02' 20"
25  SIMONI Gilberto  ITA  SAE  02' 21"

 
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