Petacchi Wins Stage 4 of Giro
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year's Giro.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year's Giro. The Italian speedster took a crash-marred bunch sprint to win Stage 4, a rolling, 184-km run from Porretta Terme to Civitella In Val Di Chiana, in 4:55:40. Robbie McEwen (Lotto) finished second, and Simone Cadamuro (De Nardi) took third. Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) remains the maglia rosa.
Rain slowed the peloton. The weather and the exertions of Stage 3 put a damper on the riders' enthusiasm. The early pace was pedestrian, and a number of riders, including Petacchi and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet), were given permission to visit family and friends.
At 106 km, the peloton got serious. Rafael Illiano (Colombia-Selle Italia) attacked on the Poggio di Sugame. Alexandre Moos (Phonak) countered, and the resulting shakeup produced a break composed of Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggio Pinzolo), Alessandro Vanotti (De Nardi), Nicola Loda (Tenax), Paolo Lanfranchi (Panaria), Andoni Aranaga (Chocolade Jacques), and Mariano Piccoli (Lampre). The escapees' lead maxed out at 0:55.
Behind, Petacchi had crashed hard. He had difficulty remounting his bike, and the entire Fassa Bortolo team dropped back to tow him back to the bunch. When Petacchi returned to the peloton, four of his teammates led the chase that reeled in the escape with 40 km left.
Fassa Bortolo dominated the closing km, although Lotto, Alessio, and Domina Vacanze challenged them. With 150 m remaining, Petacchi took the lead, and only McEwen could stay with him to the finish.
Behind, Andrus Aug (Domina Vacanze), Mario Cipollini's leadout man, lost track of his captain and drifted into Cipollini's path looking for him. The Lion King might not start Stage 5 - Aug won't.
In the overall, Simoni leads teammate Cunego by 0:13 and Popovych by 0:21. Stage 5 should not change this state of affairs. The 177-km run from Civitella In Val Di Chiana to Spoleto is flat and should end in a bunch sprint. Will Petacchi win again? Will McEwen break through? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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