After leaving room to their rivals from Italy, Czechia, Slovakia, Australia, France, Russia etc. the boys of the mighty German National squad finally found the way to stamp their authority on the Tour of the Regions. Courtesy of Tony Martin (who turned 20 just a week ago) of Erfurt, Thuringia, and his compatriot Michael Muck, who delivered a 1-2 punch to their opponents in the last kilometres of Friday's hilly leg of 139.6 km. from Ortona to Chieti, in Danilo di Luca's Abruzzo region.
Tony Martin, usually racing for TEAG Team Köstritzer, made his winning move as the road was going uphill, with about five kilometres to go. Nobody countered his attack, and the German could solo in for the win with a margin of sevens seconds over teammate/fellow countryman Muck, who attacked the first chasing field, containing all top overall contenders, and powered to an excellent second place finish.
Stage runner-up Michael Muck with the
jersey of his usual team RSG Heilbronn.
Photo courtesy www.michaelmuck.de
Speaking of main GC contenders, Luigi Sestili, Roman Kreuziger and Peter Velits were busy keeping an eye on each other today. Italy’s Sestili didn't lose control of the situation, and held onto the race leader's yellow and red mantle, but Slovakia's Velits gained two seconds on both him and Kreuziger thanks to a very late move, and both Velits and the Czech winner of yesterday's leg are now tied on time, trailing the leader by 24 seconds. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez of Spain made the stage top three and gained two seconds on Sestili too, but his chances for an overall victory are still very slim. Simon Clarke of Australia held onto his twelfth place overall, two spots and six seconds clear of Riccardo Riccó, who had a good stage today, but only after he losit close to all of his GC possibilities in previous legs.
The Giro resumes Saturday with the fifth and penultimate stage, which is set to takeg Sestili, Kreuziger, Velits, Clarke and the rest from Porto Recanati to Cingoli (Macerata province of the Marche region) after a journey of 148 kilometres. And two categorized climbs, the last one just 6 km. from the line.
Stage 4 (Ortona to Chieti, 139.6 km) - Top 10 Places
1. Tony Martin (Germany) - 03h47'02" (37.791 kph)
2. Michael Muck (Germany) - at 07"
3. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) - at 11"
4. Riccardo Riccò (Italy) - s.t.
5. Peter Velits (Slovakia) - s.t.
6. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) - at 13"
7. Luigi Sestili (Italy) - s.t.
8. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez (Spain) - s.t.
9. Robert Gesink (Holland) - s.t.
10. Peter Jacobs (Belgium) - at 14"
30th Giro delle Regioni: GC after Stage 4 - Top 15 Places
1. Luigi Sestili (Italy) - 14h39'00" (38.192 kph)
2. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) - at 24"
3. Peter Velits (Slovakia) - at 24"
4. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez (Spain) - at 43"
5. Robert Gesink (Holland) - at 49"
6. Andrei Kunitski (Belarus) - at 53"
7. Michael Muck (Germany) - at 54"
8. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) - at 58"
9. Markus Eibegger (Austria) - at 59"
10. Peter Jacobs (Belgium) - at 01'01"
11. Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kazakhstan) - at 01'18"
12. Simon Clarke (Australia) - at 01'30"
13. Jean Marc Marino (France) - at 01'31"
14. Riccardo Riccò (Italy) - at 01'36"
15. Anton Sintsov (Russia) - at 01'36"