Brochard Wins Stage 4 of Etoile des Besseges; Takes Race Lead
Former world road race champion Laurent Brochard (Ag2r-Prevoyance) has won Stage 4 of the Etoile des Besseges. Brochard outrode seven breakaway companions to win the 150-km ride from Branoux-les-Taillades to Les Salles du Gardon in 4:01:24. Sylvan Calzati (Oktos-Saint Quentin) finished second, and Juseba Zubeldia (Euskaltel) took third. With one stage remaining, Brochard has taken the overall lead.
At 50 km, the break of the day took place. Jerome Pineau (Brioches La Boulangere), Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), David Etxebarria (Euskaltel), Zubeldia, Pierrick Fedrigo (Credit Agricole), Pieter Mertens (Vlaanderen T Interim), and Calzati attacked. The septet breasted the Col de la Baraque with a one-minute lead. The peloton did not chase and would cross the finish line 10 minutes behind Brochard.
On the descent, Brochard bridged up to the fugitives. With 10 km left, the former world champion was the only member of the break to respond to an attack by Calzati and Zubeldia. The French veteran bested his younger companions in the sprint.
In the overall, Brochard leads Calzati by 0:08 and Zubeldia by 0:10. The fifth and final stage of the Etoile des Besseges will be a 148-km run from Gagnieres to Besseges. Will Brochard hold on for the victory? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!