Greipel Takes Stage 4 of Tour de France
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) has won Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2012.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) has won Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2012. The German sprinter took a bunch gallop to win the 2012 Tour's longest stage, a 214.5-km run from Abbeville to Rouen, in 05:18:32. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) finished second, and Tom Veelers (Argos-Shimano) finished third. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) remains the maillot jaune.
After a crash-marred Stage 3, the riders appeared to want to take it easy in Stage 4. The early pace was slow, and when Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), David Moucoutie (Cofidis), and Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) attacked, the bunch did not respond. The trio ran up an eight-minute lead before the RadioShack-Nissan-led peloton responded. With the American squad doing most of the chasing, the peloton gradually eliminated the break's advantage. Orica-GreenEdge, FDJ-BigMat, Lotto-Belisol, and Katusha completed the job, and break was reeled in with eight km left.
Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) counterattacked, but they did not get far. The peloton caught them with three km remaining.
Then, a crash occurred. Mark Cavendish and Bernard Eisel (both from Sky), as well as Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Sharp) hit the deck. Cancellara, Cadel Evans (BMC), and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) avoided the pileup, which split the peloton and left Argos-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol, and Orica-GreenEdge strong enough to fight out the finish.
Lotto-Belisol took the field into the home stretch, With 200 m remaining, Greipel charged into the lead. Petacchi moved up to challenge the German, but Greipel fought off the Italian veteran.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Wiggins and Chavanel by 0:07. Stage 5 will probably not change this state of affairs. The flat, 196.5-km run from Rouen to Saint-Quentin should end in another bunch gallop. Will everyone stay upright? Who will win the day? For the answers to these questions and more, check in at www.roadcycling.com.
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