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86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour

Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003

Main Page     Stage Profile    Start List    Latest Live Report

Stage 4 - May 13: Terme Luigiane-Vibo Valentia, 170 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:05 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:00 CEST

Live coverage from 14:30 CEST

Welcome back for Cyclingnews' live coverage of the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia. Today's stage takes the riders 170 kilometres between Terme Liugiane and Vibo Valentia. The profile is similar to yesterday's stage, with a flat first half and a somewhat substantial climb in the second half. More GPM points will be available at the top of the Cresta di Zungri, at km 135. After that, there's a fairly long descent before one more rise, where the finish lies just 10km beyond the last summit.

Alessandro Petacchi of Fassa Bortolo starts yet another day in the maglia rosa, after producing a great ride yesterday to claim third on the stage beyond Stefano Garzelli and Francesco Casagrande in an uphill sprint.

14:30 CEST, 110 km to go
Today has had a more active start than previous days, and an early break is away. In fact, the group moved clear after just 1km of racing. In the first move were Elio Aggiano (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave), Martin Hvastija (Tenax), and Julian Usano Martinez (Kelme).

This trio now has more than three minutes on the main field, which isn't too concerned with bringing them back too soon.

14:45 CEST, 100 km to go
In the first hour of racing, the breakaway trio averaged 44km/h, which is notably higher than the starts of the first three stages. They'll most likely stay away until the first climb of the day, but the situation could change quickly once the going gets vertical.

Team fakta's Scott Sunderland predicted in yesterday's diary entry that today would end in a sprint, and world champion Mario Cipollini might have some better luck getting over the Cat. 3 climb. Be sure to check out Scott's diary, along with entries from his Swedish teammate Magnus Bäckstedt.

14:50 CEST, 97 km to go
The advantage of the three leaders is already starting to drop, closer to the 2'30" mark now. In addition, a three man counter attack has started which is currently between the break and the peloton. The second group on the road includes Alberto Ongarato and Francesco Secchiari from Domina Vacanze, and Matteo Tosatto from Fassa Bortolo.

15:05 CEST, 89 km to go
The pendulum has swung back in favour of the three leaders, as Aggiano, Hvastija, and Usano Martinez are back to three minutes' advantage over the field. The chase group is back in the bunch.

15:15 CEST, 81 km to go
The three leaders have gone through the feed zone with an advantage of just under three minutes. The peloton is clearly not in chase mode yet, and seems to be waiting for the climb.

15:35 CEST, 68 km to go
At the first InterGiro sprint, Elio Aggiani took the honours, as the trio has maintained an advantage of 2'40". The weather today is still hot and humid, but not quite as sunny. The bunch is cruising along, content to bide its time.

15:38 CEST
For those who have asked, Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo) is confirmed to be out of the race following his crash yesterday.

A number of riders are back at the team cars now grabbing bottles for their teammates, including fakta's big Swede Magnus Bäckstedt.

15:44 CEST, 60 km to go
Now the gap is starting to fall more rapidly, and lead trio of Aggiano, Hvastija, and Usano Martinez has only 1'30" over the field. They're working well together, but as the pack begins to build steam, the advantage is going to tumble. At the front of the field, Landbouwkrediet is setting the pace, along with a steady presence from Lampre and Domina Vacanze.

15:55 CEST, 54 km to go
Colombia-Selle Italia has decided to mix it up a bit, sending riders on the attack and disrupting the chase of Domina Vacanze.

In a bit of confusion in the attacks, the three leaders have been quickly pulled back by the field, and the race is now on the lower slopes of the climb. Selle Italia is remaining active, with Ruber Alverio Marin pushing the pace. A small group of about 8 riders is just off the front, but the race is still sorting itself out as it begins to climb.

15:59 CEST, 52 km to go
CCC-Polsat's Piotr Chmielewski has tried his own luck, and is now out alone ahead of the race. The lower slopes of the climb are not steep at all, and the pace is quite high as the road undulates a bit. Chmielewski is powering away, but the field is not far behind.

Kelme is starting its own attacks, and Chmielewski is joined by Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme) and Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia).

16:05 CEST, 49 km to go
Charly Wegelius (De Nardi-Colpack) has bridged the gap to the leaders, as has Paolo Tiralongo from Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo. The pace on the climb is still high, and even though it averages only 4%, some riders are beginning to crack.

Cipollini looks to be going backwards, sleeves rolled up and helmet strap unbuckled.

16:09 CEST, 47 km to go
Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com) has just moved across to join the leaders. Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze) is across as well, showing himself to be a versatile rider when it comes to the small mountains. Carlos Garcia Quesada is just off the front of this group, setting the pace.

16:13 CEST, 45 km to go
Casar is pushing it, trying to catch up with Garcia Quesada, who still has a reasonable advantage over the first group. The main group is pulling back the first chase group, so things are regrouping a bit with some 4km of climbing to go.

16:16 CEST, 44 km to go
Casar almost made it up to Garcia Quesada's back wheel, but seems to have blown a bit and is slipping back down. The field has reeled in the chase group, which is perhaps 10" behind Garcia Quesada.

16:19 CEST, 42 km to go
Garcia Quesada has taken the GPM points at the summit at Cresta di Zungri. Eight seconds behind, Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner) crosses the line, while the peloton was about 20" back of the leader. Some stragglers are still climbing, including Cipollini, who's in a group about a minute behind the first rider.

16:23 CEST, 34 km to go
Garcia Quesada has been caught on the descent by a small chase group, with Kelme once again pushing the pace. Carlos Da Druz (FDJeux.com), winner of the Circuit de la Sarthe last month, has joined this lead group.

16:27 CEST, 30 km to go
Cipollini is calling his teammates back to his chase group in an effort to bring the race back together and survive this time until the sprint. There should be enough distance to rejoin the leaders, although the lead group is still under pressure from Kelme and a break of about 8 riders is rolling.

16:29 CEST, 26 km to go
Cipo has done it. He's in the main field, though the group of six riders is still clear, profiting from another winding descent. They're unlikely to make it to the finish, however, with the sprinters teams starting to wind up the main peloton.

16:31 CEST, 24 km to go
Robbie McEwen has just had a puncture, but a quick wheel change from a teammate has him back on the road again.

16:35 CEST, 22 km to go
Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) has jumped from the main field, in search of the lead group. He's 18" behind the leaders, and about 6" ahead of the field.

16:40 CEST, 17 km to go
At last, the composition of the lead group is as follows: Fortunato Baliani (Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave), Ignacio Gutierrez and Carlos Garcia Quesada (Kelme), Carlos Da Cruz (FDJeux.com), Marcel Strauss (Gerolsteiner), and Volodymyr Bileka (Landbouwkrediet).

The peloton is still chasing, but they're hitting wider roads which will be better suited to get the sprinters' trains set up.

16:45 CEST, 13 km to go
The break is now over 30" ahead of the field, and the main field doesn't appear particularly well organized. Fassa Bortolo is up front, along with Domina Vacanze, but they're not exactly chasing hard. The break has split a bit on the undulating roads into the finish, as Strauss and the two Kelme riders have gone on ahead. Carlos Da Cruz, Baliani, and Bileka have popped off the back.

16:50 CEST, 10 km to go
Fassa Bortolo appears to be getting its act together a bit more, along with some help from Lampre. Meanwhile, Kelme is showing its aggressive style once again with two riders in the lead three as they hit 10km to go.

Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo teammates will have to be careful not to use up too much energy in this first week defending the jersey, given that the team's two GC contenders (Frigo and Gonzalez) have yet to play their own cards. Petacchi is clearly in good form, however, and will want every chance he can get for a stage win and another day in pink.

16:54 CEST, 8 km to go
The three leaders have 25" over the chase, and with the roads still undulating a bit. Behind, Fredy Gonzalez and Paolo Tiralongo have started their own move. Evidently the finish is not as flat as advertised, and the climbers are trying their chances ahead of the sprinters' teams.

16:57 CEST, 6 km to go
It's coming down to the wire for Mario Cipollini, who has worked hard to rejoin the main field after the climb, but seen a rather up and down chase in the final 20km. The break is still away, but with a modest advantage for the final kilometres.

The road is supposed to flatten out in the final 5km, which would help the sprinters complete the chase.

16:59 CEST, 5 km to go
Cipollini was dropped on the final rise, and he's about 20" behind the main field in a small group. Up front, Fassa Bortolo has none other than Dario Frigo hammering up front.

17:02 CEST, 3 km to go
Fassa Bortolo is still setting a fierce pace, and Petacchi is well-placed up front. Robbie McEwen is up front as well, along with GC contenders Garzelli, Frigo, and Simoni. Cipo's chances are looking pretty slim right now.

17:04 CEST, 1 km to go
The final dash for the line is approaching. Petacchi and McEwen are both in ideal position.

17:05 CEST, Finish
Petacchi leads out the sprint, and almost has it, but McEwen has given an incredible surge and a well-timed lunge at the line to get the stage. Bernhard Eisel (FDJeux.com) came in third.

1 Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo)
2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com
4 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Domina Vacanze-Elitron
5 Magnus Bäckstedt (Team fakta)
General classification after stage 4
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo

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