Jens Voigt Wins Stage; Rodriguez Retains Catalunya Lead

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03/25/2010| 0 comments
by Reuters

Jens Voigt Wins Stage; Rodriguez Retains Catalunya Lead

Team Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez clings to small lead with three stages to go.

Victory in a dramatic uphill sprint duel at the end of Stage 4 of the Tour of Catalunya earned German Jens Voigt his first victory since a serious accident in last year's Tour de France.

Following a 209 kilometre grind across central Catalunya, Voigt outpowered fellow breakaway Rein Taaramae of Estonia in the finish town of Asco.

Opening stage winner Paul Voss of Germany led a bunch of two dozen chasers across the line for third, 34 seconds later.

Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez retained his overall lead for the second successive day, but compatriot Xavier Tondo continues to shadow Rodriguez closely and is just is 10 seconds behind.

After receiving congratulations from race hostesses wearing traditional 'gandella' head-dresses, Voigt told reporters that as a result of his terrible Tour de France crash in July, he had not ridden his bike for two months.

The German badly fractured his cheekbone and was severely concussed in the 80 km/h accident on an Alpine descent, later saying he believed his helmet had saved his life.

"I couldn't do anything to raise my blood pressure, not even go up two steps at a time on a staircase," the 38-year-old Saxo Bank rider said.

"The first bike ride I could do was a 10-minute circuit around a carpark."

The Tour of Catalunya finishes on March 28 in Montmelo.

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