Albasini Takes Stage 4 of Paris-Nice 2013
Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) has won Stage 4 of Paris-Nice. The Australian surged into the lead in the last 500 m to win the rugged, 199.5-km ride from Brioude to Saint Vallier in 4:55:41.
Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) outsprinted Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) for second. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) finished sixth to keep the overall lead.
The racing began early. At eight km, Johann Tschopp (IAM Cycling), Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) sallied off of the front. Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), and Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) joined the trio, and the break of the day had formed. The escapees' lead maxed out at about four minutes.
Garmin-Sharp rode tempo in support of Talansky. On the day's penultimate climb, the Category 2 Cote de Talancieux, BMC joined Garmin-Sharp at the front. The pace went up, and the leaders' advantage went down. Voeckler attacked his companions, and Dupont joined him. Tschopp and Meersman joined the pair on the descent. BMC's pursuit, however, reeled in the gang of four with 14 km remaining.
Maxime Monfort (RadioShack-Leopard) attacked out of the peloton, which was down to about 40 riders, on the day's last climb, the Category 2 Cote de la Sizeranne. He was caught, but Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), Richie Porte (Sky), Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Leopard), and Talansky joined him. That move was snuffed out in turn, but the attacks kept coming. No team controlled the race.
Robert Gesink (Blanco) burst into the lead, but Iglinsky overtook him with 500 m left. Albasini charged up to the Kazakh rider and passed him for the win.
Albasini's victory and Matthew Goss's stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico made the day a red letter one for Team GreenEdge. Albasini said, "It's even nicer when we also won with Goss at Tirreno. It’s really perfect. It’s important to keep the wins going like we did last year.”
In the overall, Talansky leads Andriy Grivko (Astana) by 0:03 and Velits by 0:04. Stage 5 will be a pivotal one in this year's Paris-Nice. The 176-km ride from Chateauneuf-du-Pape to La Montagne de Lure will feature six categorized climbs, and it will end with a Category 1 ascent to the finish. The climbers and the general classification threats will shine tomorrow. Who will end the day in yellow? Talansky? Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)? Scarponi? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!