Evans Outsprints Contador in Stage 4 of Tour de France 2011
Cadel Evans (BMC) has won Stage 4 of the 2011 Tour de France.
Cadel Evans (BMC) has won Stage 4 of the 2011 Tour de France. The Australian took a sprint from Alberto Contador in a photo finish to win the rolling, 172.5-km ride from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne in 4:11:39. Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) finished third. Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) remains the maillot jaune.
Today was the 2011 Tour's first rainy day, and the riders began the stage with rain jackets on. The precipitation, however, did not dampen the aggression of some riders. At about nine km, Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) attacked, and Blel Kadri (Ag2r), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), and Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) followed. At 25 km, the quintet led the field by nearly five minutes.
BMC and Omega Pharma-Lotto began to ride tempo to peg the lead, which they did at three minutes. For the rest of the stage, Omega Pharma-Lotto did most of the pacemaking. At one point, the peloton split on the wet, twisting roads. Evans had a mechanical problem and needed his chain lubricated. Eventually, the bunch regrouped.
In the last 20 km, Omega Pharma-Lotto upped the tempo. Evans had another mechanical problem and needed a bike change with 15 km left. Fortunately, he had teammates to pace him back to the bunch. With seven km left, the bunch was 0:40 behind the break.
Izagirre attacked and Hoogerland followed. Three km later, Izagirre tried again, but the BMC-led peloton reeled them in.
On the climb, the heads of state eyed each other. With 1.4 km remaining, Contador made his move. Gilbert and Evans followed. With 500 m left, Gilbert attacked, and Contador countered. Evans made his move for the line with 300 m left. The defending champion attempted to come around Evans, but his move was too late. The finish, however, was so close that Contador raised an arm, thinking that he had won.
In the overall, Hushovd leads Evans by 0:01 and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) by 0:04. Stage 5, a rolling, 164.5-km ride from Carhaix to Cap Frehel, is likely to be decided by the sprinters. With the winds coming in off of the ocean, the peloton might break into echelons. Who might be in the lead echelon? Who will be caught out? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and our mobile site www.roadcycling.mobi to find out!
Click here for complete stage 4 results and more photos. More article links below.