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Italy, May 19-June 10, 2001
Stage 4 - May 23: Potenza - Montevergine Di Mercogliano, 169 km
Complete Live Report
Start time: 1219
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia. Today's stage is 169 kilometres, starting in Potenza and finishing atop the climb of Montevergine Di Mercogliano. We pick up the action with approximately 2 hours left to race, but first a short summary of what has happened so far.
178 riders started the fourth stage, with Lotto's Rik Verbrugghe still clinging to the Maglia Rosa by 9 seconds to Fassa Bortolo's Dario Frigo. Verbrugghe has already fallen off today in the first hour(!), but he is ok and back in the pack, which is gruppo compatto at the intergiro sprint, won by Ivan Quaranta (Alexia), from Danilo Hondo (Telekom) and Massimo Strazzer (Mobilvetta).
In the first mountain sprint today Valico del Pietrastretta (840m, km 25.6), Freddy Gonzales (Selle Italia) beat Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio), and current mountains leader Domenico Gualdi (Mobilvetta). There are two more mountain sprints (GPMs) to come: at Celzi (km 138) and the finish at Montevergine (km 169).
1520 CEST - 107 km/62 km to go
The peloton is being led by the Lotto team, as has been the case for the last few days. Rik Verbrugghe is sitting about 6th wheel, probably hoping that he won't fall off again today. The rest of the bunch is taking it easy in the warm sunshine, using this chance to relax before the climbing starts again. The last 20 kilometres of this stage is all uphill.
Nicola Miceli (Tacconi) has abandoned.
1530 CEST - 114 km/55 km to go
There is an attack by two riders: Noan Lelarge (Bonjour) and Ruben Marin (Selle Italia) they have 17 seconds lead on the peloton.
1543 CEST - 124 km/45 km to go
Lotto have picked up the pace, as the race heads towards the next GPM at km 138. The pair of Lelarge and Marin still have 15 seconds.
1553 CEST - 134 km/35 km to go
The pair are recaptured as the road goes uphill again. Telekom's Kai Hundertmarck is leading the bunch, with Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) placed well and very easy to pick out with peroxide blond hair. His team is surrounding him. The pressure is telling at the rear of the peloton, as Zoran Klemenic and Mario Cipollini go off the back.
Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia) attacks with 3 km to the top of the climb, aiming to pick up some more mountain points. He does so with ease. He sits up and waits for the Fassa Bortolo led peloton. Matteo Tosatto and Andrea Peron (Fassa Bortolo) take second and third in the GPM.
Rik Verbrugghe needs some quick service on his headset, but this doesn't take long and he is quickly back on his bike.
1604 CEST - 144 km/25 km to go
The next few kilometres are downhill before the final climb up to Montevergine Di Mercogliano. Lampre-Daikin have moved near the front, with ONCE and Liquigas riders prominent as well. No-one wants to be out of position once the climb starts.
The peloton has split into several groups, with the second at 30 seconds, and the third with Cipollini and mountains leader Domenico Gualdi at 1'10. Gualdi may well have lost his green jersey.
1610 CEST - 149 km/20 km to go
The Lampre led peloton pass through Avellino (348m) with 20 kilometres of climbing to come. Montevergine Di Mercogliano is at 1270m, and the last 11.5 kilometres of the climb is at 4.7%. Not ridiculously steep, but at the speed they're riding at it's going to hurt. It's also raining at the top.
A dog jumps onto the road and attempts to decide which rider to chase. It gets a Selle Italia rider... The rain is very heavy now, although there is still sunshine. Lampre are driving it very hard.
Frigo has a puncture//bike change at a very bad time, and the whole Fassa Bortolo squad drops back for him. He should be able to regain the bunch though.
Paolo Savoldelli (Saeco) also has a puncture, and is further behind Frigo.
1622 CEST - 154 km/15 km to go
Julio Alberto Perez (Panaria) attacks through Mercogliano and gets a small gap to the 40 rider peloton containing most of the favourites, including Gilberto Simoni, Marco Pantani. Rik Verbrugghe is stuggling though, trying to hold his teammate Brandt's wheel at the rear of the group.
Dario Frigo's group is chasing very hard to regain the peloton, as are Savoldelli, Guerini, Ullrich and Hondo. The Telekom trio aren't really trying though and Savoldelli goes straight by them.
1627 CEST - 156 km/13 km to go
Frigo regains the peloton, as Verbrugghe is dropped. His time in pink is finished. Savoldelli catches him, but he still needs another 15 seconds to regain the peloton.
Julio Perez has 15 seconds on the Lampre led peloton. Simoni, Piccoli, and Camenzind are prominent at the front.
1631 CEST - 160 km/9km to go
The rain is coming down heavily again, as the Mexican Perez continues on his own in front. Lampre chase, but they are 23 seconds behind. Savoldelli has now left Verbrugghe and is desperately trying to get back to the peloton, along with Kelme's Lopez. They are a minute behind Perez though.
Ivan Gotti, Pietro Cauccholi (Alessio), Marco Pantani (Merctaone), Matthias Kessler (Telekom), Roberto Sgambelluri (Telekom), Wladimir Belli (Fassa), Garzelli (Mapei), Olano (ONCE), Yakovlev are some of the other riders in the 35 or so strong lead group.
1638 CEST - 162 km/7 km to go
Kessler goes out the back as the gradient steepens. Alessio are on the front with Shefer, Caucchioli and Gotti. The gap to Perez is still around 20 seconds.
1644 CEST - 164 km/5 km to go
Perez breaks his chain! Appalling luck. He throws his bike to one side and watches the peloton go by, led by Cantina Tollo.
1647 CEST - 166 km/3 km to go
Cantina Tollo are 1-2, with Simoni in third wheel. There are about 25 riders still left with 2.5 km to go. Savoldelli is at 1'40, Verbrugghe at 2'37.
1650 CEST - 168 km/1 km to go
No-one seems to want to try anything - just finish in the leading group. The pace is picking up near the top of the climb along the narrow, slippery roads. Danilo Di Luca follows teammate Massimiliano Gentili, Simoni is there as is Rebellin. Pantani is off the back, and nearly crushed by various Tifosi.
1652 CEST - 169 km/0 km to go
Unai Osa (Banesto) leads Figueras (Panaria) into the last kilometres. Garzelli is third wheel and perfectly placed, but now everyone is massing at the front. Garzelli leads out, but Di Luca comes through strongly to win the stage from Simoni, with Garzelli third.
Pantani has lost some time - 30 seconds or so.
1 Danilo di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo 4.34.12 (36.98 km/h) 2 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 3 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 4 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria 5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas 6 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) Liquigas 0.03 7 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 8 José Azevedo (Por) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 9 Ivan Gotti (Ita) Alessio 10 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Tacconi Sport 11 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step 12 Unai Osa (Spa) iBanesto.com 13 Andrea Noè (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 14 Aleksandr Shefer (Kaz) Alessio 15 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 16 Peter Luttenberger (Aut) Tacconi Sport 17 Carlos Contreras (Col) Selle Italia 18 Abraham Olano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 0.09 19 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 20 Mauro Zanetti (Ita) Alessio 0.15 .. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Saeco 2.32 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 4.39 General classification after stage 4 1 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 17.21.19 2 Abraham Olano (Spa) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 0.12 3 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Daikin 0.13 4 Wladimir Belli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.17 5 José Azevedo (Por) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 0.19 6 Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Tacconi Sport 0.25 7 Jan Hruska (Cze) O.N.C.E.-Eroski 0.28 8 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Panaria 0.33 9 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre-Daikin 0.39 10 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Cantina Tollo ... 13 Danilo di Luca (Ita) Cantina Tollo 14 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step 15 Ivan Gotti (Ita) Alessio 16 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria 17 Unai Osa Eizaguirre (Spa) iBanesto.com 18 Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno 19 Marco Velo (Ita) Mercatone Uno 20 Humberto Contreras (Col) Selle Italia-Pacific 33 Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Saeco 34 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Liquigas 40 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) iBanesto.com 46 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Saeco