After Germany on Friday, it was time for another strong team, but not much living up to expectations in earlier stages, to have their "redemption day". Saturday was "Belarus Day" at the Tour of the Regions. Better, it was Andrei Kunitski's day. The young gun from the former Soviet country, aged 20, was the first rider across the finishing line at Cingoli, at the end of a tough journey of 148 km that started at Porto Recanati, as he edged out his breakaway companion, Slovenia's Svab Gasper, in a two-man sprint.
Kunitski and Svab were part of a wider front group, but with about 40k to go the Belarusian attacked and made the gap. The Slovene managed to stay with him, and despite all chasing efforts from the top contenders, the duo held off their closest pursuers, though by a mere nine seconds only. Enough for Kunitski, currently racing for the Belarusian National Team but usually one of Luigi Sestili's teammates at the Palazzago-AB Isolanti squad, to claim the stage.
Speaking of Sestili, the Italian came in with the aforementiond first chasing group, led home by super-combative Spaniard Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez, and containing all main GC threats. So that, even if Sestili, Kreuziger, Peter Velits, Simon Clarke (the Aussie had a good stage, finished 11th and entered the top 10 places overall) etc. lost a few seconds to Kunitski, the gaps between the top three riders on GC stayed the same, with the Italian still wearing the yellow and red mantle, and leading the Czech by 24" and Slovakia's Velits (who didn't make any time gains on his two rivals yesterday - btw) by two more seconds.
Those three riders are gonna be the main stars of tomorrow's final stage from Perugia to the Tuscan town of Sinalunga, over 125 kilometres which are gonna tell us who's going to enter his name below that of 2004 winner Andriy Grivko (now a pro rider with Fassa); whatever name we're going to find tomorrow in the overall winner's list, you can be sure that we're going to hear the names of all top protagonists of this race many a good times in the next seasons.
Stage 4 (Porto Recanati to Cingoli, 148 km.): Top 10 Places & More
1. Andrei Kunitski (Belarus) - 03h43'13"
2. Gasper Svab (Slovenia) - s.t.
3. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez (Spain) - at 09"
4. Peter Velits (Slovakia) - s.t.
5. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) - s.t.
6. Pieter Jacobs (Belgium) - s.t.
7. Luigi Sestili (Italy) - s.t.
8. Michael Muck (Germany) - s.t.
9. Robert Gesink (Holland) - s.t.
10. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) - s.t.
... 11. Simon Clarke (Australia) - s.t.
17. Riccardo Riccò (Italy) - at 47".
46. Christopher Sutton (Australia) - at 01'10"
66. James Meadley (Australia) - at 08'14"
78. Mathew Goss (Australia) - at 11'44"
81. Nicholas Sanderson (Australia) - at 11'44"
30th Giro delle Regioni - GC after Stage 4: Top 10 Places & More
1. Luigi Sestili (Italy) - 18h03'01"
2. Roman Kreuziger (Czech) Republic - at 24"
3. Peter Velits (Slovakia) - at 26"
4. Eduardo Gonzalo Ramírez (Spain) - at 43"
5. Andrei Kunitski (Belarus) - at 44"
6. Robert Gesink (Holland) - at 49"
7. Michael Muck (Germany) - at 54"
8. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) - at 58"
9. Pieter Jacobs (Belgium) - at 01'01"
10. Simon Clarke (Australia) - at 01'30"
... 15. Riccardo Riccò (Italy) - at 02'14"
30. Gasper Svab (Slovenia) - at 10'58"
36. Christopher Sutton (Australia) - at 14'50"
53. Mathew Goss (Australia) - at 33'43"
65. Nicholas Sanderson (Australia) - at 45'11"
68. James Meadley (Australia) - at 47'14"