Lithuanian sprinter Saulius Ruskys (Agritubel) has won the fourth stage of the Circuit de Lorraine (2.1), outsprinting fellow fast man Andy Flickinger from a small breakaway which clipped off the front and then split up in the streets of St Mihiel under a series of attacks. Though Slovenian Mitja Mahoric never stood a chance against the two sprinters, he took third nonetheless, and with almost forty seconds gained on the peloton, he squeezed into sixth overall, while Murillo Fischer also made it into the top ten courtesy of the breakaway. Ex-Landbouwkrediet man Timochine, who was the best ranked U23 rider in the world three years ago, took fourth; hes now riding back home with Russian squad Omnibike-Dinamo Moscow.
The peloton finished forty seconds down, led in by Steven Caethoven, with leader Nauduzs comfortably tucked in the middle of the bunch to preserve his lead on what was certainly a good day for the Eastern Europeans: two riders in the top three, and a Latvian in the lead with just one stage to go. Things certainly looks good right now for Naturino-Sapore di Mare, who have three men in the top eight including Nauduzs.
Saulius Ruskys - Courtesy Agritubel
Almost three months after his second place behind behind Tom Steels at Fumades in the Etoile de Besseges, Saulius Ruskys has flirted again with victory. But this time, our Lithuanian changed something and won. This afternoon in the streets of St Mihiel, Saulius finished in front from an escape, in beating the piss-take Grenobler Andy Flickinger (Ag2r Prevoyance) and the Slovenian Mitja Mahorica (Perutnina Ptuj). This bouquet for the fourth stage of the Circuit de Lorraine is like a delivery for Saulius who has known a bit since the start of the season. Waiting for results after an illness (it made him abandon the Tour of Normandy, notably), Ruskys knew that he just had to be patient. At 31 years of age, he took his sixteenth career victory (the last one being at the Tour of Limousin in 2004) and the sixth for Agritubel since the magnificent triple in the Monts du Luberon at the start of March. Tomorrow, the last stage between Thionville and Hayange (158km) certainly holds more chances.
Stage 3 - Joeuf - Saint-Mihiel, 156km - Top 10
1. Saulius Ruskys (Agritubel-Loudun, Lit) 3h 46m 42s
2. Andy Flickinger (Ag2r Prevoyance, Fra) at same time
3. Mitja Mahoric (Perutnina Ptuj, Slo) at 002
4. Mikhail Timochine (Omnibike Dinamo Moscow, Rus) at 012
5. Yannick Talabardon (Credit Agricole, Fra) at 015
6. Carlos Dacruz (Francaise des Jeux, Fra) at 016
7. Murilo Fischer (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Bra) s.t
8. Aitor Galdos (Ceramicha Panaria, Spa) s.t
9. Mathieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom, Fra) s.t
10. Maxime Mederel (Auber 93, Fra) s.t
13. Steven Caethoven (Chocolade Jacques-T Interim) at 040
45. Andris Nauduzs (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) s.t
General Classification after Stage 4
1. Andris Nauduzs (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Lit) 10h 29m 39s
2. Koji Fukushima (Team Bridgestone-Anchor, Jap) at 049
3. Sven Renders (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Bel) at 051
4. Bradley Wiggins (Credit Agricole, Gbr) at 145
5. Massimiliano Mori (Naturino-Sapore di Mare, Ita) at 155
6. Mitja Mahorica (Perutnina Ptuj) at 158
7. Brett Lancaster (Ceramicha Panaria, Aus) at 159
8. Murilo Fischer (Naturino-Sapore di Mare) s.t
9. Jose Antonio Martinez (Agritubel-Loudun, Spa) at 201
10. Sergiy Matveyev (Ceramicha Panaria, Ukr) at 202
Agritubel report to come.