Scarponi Takes Stage, Seizes Overall Lead at 2010 Tirreno-Adriatico
Defending Tirreno-Adriatico champion holds 18 second edge with three stages to go.
Defending champion Michele Scarponi broke away late to win the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race on Saturday and seize the overall lead.
The Italian Androni Giocattoli rider, banned in 2007 for his involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal, crossed the line on the cobbled streets of Chieti 14 seconds ahead of Benoit Vaugrenard.
The Frenchman wrongly thought he had won, but will be comforted by moving up to second in the standings, 18 seconds behind Scarponi, and Italy's Leonardo Bertagnolli was third in the stage to go third overall.
Daniele Bennati, Friday's race leader, finished well back but world champion Cadel Evans was handily-placed in sixth overall after the Australian BMC rider came eighth in the stage.
The 243 kilometer winding route from San Gemini to Chieti in central Italy, the longest stage of the first big Italian race of the season, was characterized by several tough climbs and occasional patches of snow on the ground.
Organizers have been forced to change the route for Sunday's stage because of more snow further up the Apennine mountains.
The race, which started on Italy's western Tyrrhenian coast, concludes on the Adriatic east coast at San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday.
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