McEwen Crosses Finish Line First Legally
Robbie McEwen (Lotto), who was relegated after crossing the finish line first at the end of Stage 2, has won a victory that he can keep.
Robbie McEwen (Lotto), who was relegated after crossing the finish line first at the end of Stage 2, has won a victory that he can keep. The Australian powered past Alessandr Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) to win the flattish 170-km Stage 4 from Terme Luigiane to Vibo Valentia in 4:00:25. Bernhard Eisel (La Francaise des Jeux.com) finished third, and Petacchi remains the maglia rosa.
An attack was launched in the first km. Elio Aggiano (Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave) rolled off of the front, and Martin Hvastija (Tenax) and Usano Martinez (Kelme) joined him. At 100 km, the trio led by 3:00, but the peloton, led by Landbouwkrediet, Lampre, and Domina Vacanze, caught them by about 120 km.
Selle Italia paced the field up the Cresta. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme) attacked up the climb. Ignacio Gutierrez (Kelme), Marcel Strauss (Gerolsteiner), Volodymyr Bileka (Landbouwkrediet), Carlos Da Cruz (Domina Vacanze), and Fortunato Baliani (Formaggio Pinzolo Fiave) joined him. The fugitives ran up a 0:25 lead on the peloton.
With 25 km remaining, McEwen punctured, but he rejoined the field quickly. The break led the bunch by 0:15 with 20 km left. During the day's final climb, Garcia Quesada, Gutierrez, and Strauss dropped their companions and led by 0:20 with 10 km left.
Fassa Bortolo led the pursuit. With seven km left, the bunch caught the break. With 500 m left, Stage 1 winner Fabio Baldato (Alessio) began the sprint. Petacchi came around him with 250 m left. McEwen surged and threw his bike in the last 30 m to win.
In the overall, Petacchi leads Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) by 0:29 and Francesco Casagrande (Lampre) by 0:39. Stage 5 should not change this state of affairs. The stage is flattish and should end in a bunch finish. Will McEwen win again? Will Petacchi? Will Cipollini finally score? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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