Alessandro Petacchi Powers to Stage 4 Win in 2010 Tour de France
Fabian Cancellara maintains overall Tour lead.
Alessandro Petacchi of Team Lampre won the fourth stage of the 2010 Tour de France in a mass sprint Wednesday, with the main contenders for the yellow jersey finishing safely in the main pack.
The Lampre rider collected his second stage win this Tour in the 153.5-kilometer ride from Cambrai to the champagne capital Reims -- a mostly flat trek that appeared tailor-made for sprinters.
Petacchi, competing in his first Tour since 2005, veered out wide left to get a jump on three lead riders with a few meters left, and pedaled furiously to hold them off at the finish.
He edged Julian Dean of New Zealand into second, and Edval Boasson Hagen of Norway was third. The pack had the same time as Petacchi: 3 hours, 34 minutes, 55 seconds.
"I'm really happy ... I had nothing to lose, and I wanted to try my chances," said Petacchi, who also won four stages in the 2004 Tour. "At this stage in my career, winning two Tour stages is really important."
Defending champion Alberto Contador was 32nd, last year's runner-up Andy Schleck placed 58th, and seven-time champion Lance Armstrong crossed 36th.
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland retained the yellow jersey, having recovered it during Tuesday's ride over cobblestones -- where Armstrong sustained a punctured tire and lost precious seconds.
The other top standings didn't change.
Among the overall contenders, two-time Tour runner-up Cadel Evans is third, 39 seconds back, Schleck is sixth, 1:09 back, Contador is ninth, 1:40 back, and Armstrong is 18th, 2:30 back.
Before the stage, Armstrong said he would need to be "opportunistic" in a bid to make up ground in the race, that ends July 25 in Paris. The next big challenges loom in the Alps in Sunday's Stage 8.
The 2010 Tour de France ends in Paris on July 25. Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for more Tour de France coverage. Please spread the word, subscribe to our RSS feed and support our advertisers - they make our 2010 Tour de France coverage possible.
Click here for stage 4 results.