Di Luca Wins Stage 4 of Giro, Reclaims Maglia Rosa
Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has won Stage 4 of the Giro d?Italia. Di Luca, who won the stage that finished on Montevergine in 2001, repeated the feat today, outsprinting Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) to win the 153-km ride from
The stage began in
The skies began to darken, and after 80 km, rain began to fall. With about 70 km left, a crash occurred in San Antonio Abate that involved most of the field. Among the more prominent victims were maglia rosa Enrico Gasparotto (Liquigas), maglia ciclamino and Stage 3 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), and world road race champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step). Bettini landed on his left rib cage, which he landed on during a crash in Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
The bunch slowed to allow crash victims to rejoin it. Eventually, everyone except Ian McLeod (Francaise des Jeux) did so. (Eventually, McLeod abandoned with a broken right clavicle.) With 60 km left, the leading trio led the peloton by 5:50, and the escapees? lead maxed out at 6:40 at 92 km.
Saunier Duval began to accelerate. Within 15 km, the peloton had taken 2:00 out of the fugitives. When the break reached the base of the Category 1 finishing climb, its lead was 2:00.
Saunier Duval and CSC led the field to the base of the climb, and then Liquigas took over at the front. Gasparotto slid out of the back. Ahead, Brutt attacked his companions with 15 km left, but they pulled the Russian back.
With nine km remaining, Francisco Rabon (T-Mobile) attacked. Julio Perez (Panaria) countered and caught the break within two km. Behind the Mexican, Steve Zampieri (Cofidis) attacked from the lead group, and Dario Cioni (Predictor) bridged up to him, along with Marco Marzano (Lampre), Emanuele Sella (Panaria), Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step), and Aitor Perez Arrieta (Caisse d?Epargne). This group was absorbed by the lead group. With five km remaining, Perez led the lead group by 0:20.
For a time, it appeared that Perez might hold on for the win. With two km left, the Mexican led the 20-strong chase group by 0:20. Liquigas, however, pursued furiously and caught Perez in the last km. Liquigas men Vincenzo Nibali and Franco Pellizotti led Di Luca into the last 200 m, and Di Luca came around Pellizotti for the win.
In the overall, Di Luca leads teammates Pellizotti by 0:26 and Andrea Noe by 0:35. Stage 5 should not change this state of affairs. The rolling, 173-km run from Teano to Frascati has one climb of note, a Category 3 ascent with 18 km remaining. A small group could escape, but a bunch sprint is more likely. Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!