Petacchi Wins Stage 4 of Vuelta
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year?s Vuelta.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his second stage of this year?s Vuelta. Petacchi pipped Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) to take the slightly downhill, 167-km run from Soria to Zaragosa in 4:23:01. Benoit Joachim (U.S. Postal Service) remains the overall leader.
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For most of the day, the wind kept the peloton together. Not until about 100 km had been ridden did Inaki Inasi (Euskaltel), Julien Laidoun (Ag2r), Xavier Florencio (Relax), and David Fernandez (Paternina) escape. The four hammered out at 2:50 lead before the wind and the bunch got the better of them with 30 km left. Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r), Antonio Colom (Illes Balears), David Herrero (Paternina), and Bert Roesems (Relax) tried to escape, but their lead maxed out at 0:20 before the quartet was captured with 10 km remaining. The stage came down to a bunch sprint, which Petacchi won.
The stage was crash-marred. Among the victims were Guido Trentin (Cofidis), who suffered a contusion to the left calf; Tyler Hamilton (Phonak), who bruised his behind, right knee, and arm; Alessandro Spezialetti (Saeco), who suffered head and back contusions; and Mikel Artetxe (Euskaltel), who had contusions to his right wrist and elbow and who went to the hospital later for X-rays. Giro d?Italia champion Damiano Cunego (Saeco) hit the deck but was uninjured and rejoined the peloton with teammates? help.
In the overall, Joachim leads teammates Max van Heeswijk and Manuel Beltran by 0:18 and 0:24, respectively. Stage 5 will feature the first categorized climbs of this year?s Vuelta. The riders will breast a Category 2 ascent with 11 km left in the 186.5-km ride from Zaragoza to Morella before taking on the Category 3 finishing climb. Look for an individual or a small group to escape toward the end.
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