McEwen Wins Stage Four of Etoile
Robbie McEwen (Lotto) has won Stage Four of the Etoile de Besseges. The Australian took a bunch sprint from Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) and Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour) to win the 150.5-km ride from Ales to La Grand Combe in 3:42:45. Fabio Baldato (Alessio) remains the overall leader.
The racing began early. At 12 km, Ludo Dierckxsens (Landbouwkrediet), Samuel Dumoulin (Jean Delatour), Maryan Hary (Brioches La Boulangere), Olivier Trastour (Ag2r), Benoit Vaugrenard (La Francaise des Jeux.com), and Jef Peeters, Nico Sijmens, and Frederik Willems (Vlaanderen-T Interim) went off of the front. At 80 km, the octet had built a five-minute lead over the field.
The peloton began to chase, and the escapees stopped cooperating. With 40 km left, Dumoulin attacked and took Dierckxsens, Hary, Peeters, and Willems with him. The five riders stayed in the lead until the peloton engulfed them with 500 meters left. The stage came down to a sprint, which McEwen won.
In the overall, Baldato leads Michael Skelde (EDS-Fakta) by 0:05 and Franck Bouyer (Brioches La Boulangere) by 0:06. Baldato is poised to win the Etoile de Besseges, which will end with tomorrow's Stage 6, a 148-km run from Branoux-les-Taillades to Besseges. Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ to see how the stage goes!