87th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 8-30, 2004
Map Stages Stage
Stage 4 - May 12: Porretta Terme - Civitella In Val Di Chiana (Stab. Del Tongo),
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia, 184 km
between Porretta Terme and Civitella in Val Di Chiana. After yesterday's first
mountain top finish, we're back on the flats today, even though there are a
couple of Cat. 3 climbs to cross: Passo della Collina (km 16.6) and Poggio di
Sugame (km 113). There is also a small uncategorised climb with 20 km to go.
The stage finishes with an 11.4 km circuit around Civitella.
On paper, it looks like one for the sprinters, who have only really had one
stage in their favour so far, and will relish the opportunity for another one.
The sprinters' teams should be relatively fresh, despite yesterday's tough stage,
and will be keen to keep it together for a bunch finish. Another one for Petacchi?
Or will Cipollini/McEwen/Svorada/? get up?
The general classification started to take shape yesterday, and with an impressive
climb to Corno Alle Scale, Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) is now in the Maglia Rosa
of race leader, with lieutenant Damiani Cunego occupying second position on
GC at 13 seconds, ahead of Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago) at 21 seconds. Despite
Saeco's impressive display in the mountains, the race is by no means over and
Saeco will have to work very hard over the next two and a half weeks to defend
14:44 CEST 73km/111km to go
An update on the race so far. 166 riders (all who finished yesterday) started
stage 4 at 12:31pm in Porretta Terme. The first climb of the Passo della Collina
saw Fabian Wegmann claim the three points in front of Renzo Mazzoleni (Tenax)
and Alexandre Moos (Phonak). That will put Wegmann in third place in the mountains
competition, with Simoni leading on 16 points ahead of Cunego (13) and Wegmann
now on 11.
The temperature at the start was 16 degrees, but it's expected to get a little
warmer as the day goes on and the sun comes out in full force.
After two hours of racing, 65.8 km have been covered (32.9 km/h) in the typical
Italian style. In fact, today has seen a number of riders go ahead of the peloton
to greet their friends and family: Leonardo Giordani (De Nardi), Brett Lancaster
(Panaria), Paolo Fornaciari (Saeco), Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) and
Yaroslav Popovych (Colnago) have all been allowed some freedom to do this.
15:05 CEST 86km/98km to go
The peloton isn't in a great hurry today, and is still together after 83 km
of riding. As mentioned before, this is how the Italians race in the Giro. It's
very different to the Tour or the Vuelta, when the attacks start from the gun
and don't stop until at least one rider "breaks the elastic" and the peloton
stops chasing for a while. In the Giro, the speed tends to increase as the stage
goes on, and the overall average speed is generally lower than the other two
Although the racing can be slow at times, this style should put less stress
on the riders, and that should be seen as a positive thing, pardon the pun.
15:20 CEST 93km/91km to go
The peloton is now through the feed zone at Le Bolle, just before the second
climb of the day, Poggio di Sugame. One rider pulled out at the feed, Frenchman
John Gadret, who rides for the Chocolade Jacques team. He spent a lot of time
at the back of the bunch yesterday with Jurgen van de Walle, who abandoned with
a sore knee in stage 3.
15:33 CEST 100km/84km to go
After refuelling en route, the peloton is now tackling the climb of Poggio di
Sugame, a Cat. 3 climb that probably won't break things up a great deal. The
mountains leader is Gilberto Simoni, who took 16 points in the stage yesterday
and can't be overtaken today. But riders like Wegmann, Moos and R. Mazzoleni
will try to chip away at his lead, because they know that Simoni doesn't have
the mountains jersey as a major goal.
Saeco is leading the bunch at the moment, and are dressed in rain jackets. The
weather has taken a turn for the worse, and it's raining at the moment. That
has dampened the riders' spirits even more than the control by Saeco, and no-one
has attacked yet.
The average speed after three hours is 33.7 km/h
This morning, the UCI carried out blood tests on 34 riders from four different
teams: Lotto-Domo, Chocolade Jacques, Colombia-Selle Italia and Panaria. No-one
was declared unfit to start.
Plenty of riders are using the slow pace as an opportunity to commune with nature.
It's always that way when it's wet.
15:42 CEST 106km/78km to go
The riders are passing through Greve in Chianti, rolling along at a moderate
pace, led by the Saeco team. Mario Cipollini is enjoying being in his home territory
of Tuscany. There are plenty of people lining the roads, despite the bad weather,
cheering on the bedraggled riders.
15:47 CEST 108km/76km to go
Finally, the first attack comes from Rafael Illiano (Colombia Selle Italia)
with his teammate Alejandro Borrajo following. A small group of riders is behind
them, but the peloton is right on their heels. A Phonak rider - Niki Aebersold
- attacks next in pursuit of the two Colombia-Selle Italia riders.
The summit of the Poggio di Sugame is still 5 km away.
15:49 CEST 109km/75km to go
Aebersold and Illiano are now together.
Petacchi is in trouble on this side of the road. He looks as though he's just
collapsed after a crash. He gets help from Ferretti, and is back on his bike.
Marco Velo is helping him back to the peloton. Another Fassa rider drops back
to help them.
15:51 CEST 110km/74km to go
Alessandro Vanotti (De Nardi) counters out of the peloton in pursuit of Aebersold
and Illiano, who are three km from the top of the Poggio di Sugame.
Ivan Quaranta (Formaggi) has been dropped.
Petacchi is chasing back on with two teammates, but is not feeling too good.
15:53 CEST 111km/73km to go
Quaranta is with four teammates, a little way in front of Petacchi's group which
is growing now with the addition of most of the Fassa Bortolo team.
Vanotti is now alone in front of the race. Illiano and Aebersold appear to have
15:57 CEST 113km/71km to go
Alexandre Moos accelerates from the peloton to catch and pass Vanotti just before
the top of the climb. He takes three points, Vanotti two and then Wegmann gets
Bertogliati, Renzo Mazzoleni, Julio Perez Cuapio and Gianni Faresin follow the
front three. Then the peloton in various pieces, then Petacchi and his seven
Fassa Bortolo teammates.
Moos leads on the descent.
16:01 CEST 120km/64km to go
Moos, Vanotti and Perez Cuapio are now together, being chased by Renzo Mazzoleni
(Tenax), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) and Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval),
Gorazd Stangelj (Saeco) and a couple of others.
Petacchi's group is making it back to the rear of the peloton now, riding a
solid team time trial.
16:05 CEST 126km/58km to go
The leaders have come together, and we now have a group with Alexandre Moos
(Phonak), Alessandro Vanotti (De Nardi), Julio Perez Cuapio (Panaria), Renzo
Mazzoleni and Nicola Loda (Tenax), Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi), Fabian Wegmann
(Gerolsteiner), Rubens Bertogliati and Ruben Lobato (Saunier Duval), Gorazd
Stangelj (Saeco) in front of the race.
At the bottom of the descent, Loda, Murgalia and Vanotti have a small gap to
The peloton is following at approximately 30 seconds, and Petacchi's group is
still chasing to get back on.
Petacchi and his teammates (all eight of them actually, as Cioni was also called
in) have recaptured the bunch now.
We still have three riders in front: Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi), Alessandro
Vanotti (De Nardi) and Nicola Loda (Tenax).
16:13 CEST 130km/54km to go
Vanotti, Muraglia and Loda have been caught by four riders: Paolo Lanfranchi
(Panaria), Andoni Aranaga (Chocolade Jacques), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolstener)
and Mariano Piccoli (Lampre). The peloton is at 55 seconds.
It's stopped raining now, and the riders are taking their jackets off.
Ivan Quaranta has recaught the peloton too.
Saeco and Fassa bortolo are leading the peloton now in pursuit of this break
of seven riders. There seems to be a little more control, although it's tough
on these twisting, narrow roads.
16:19 CEST 137km/47km to go
The seven leaders have become six, with Wegmann returning back to the gruppo
maglia rosa. They now have sunshine and dry roads.
The leaders sprint for the Intergiro in San Giovanni Valdarno, and it's Mariano
Piccoli who takes it from Vanotti. The peloton, at full flight, follows at 32
The six leaders again: Giuseppe Muraglia (Formaggi), Alessandro Vanotti (De
Nardi), Nicola Loda (Tenax), Paolo Lanfranchi (Panaria), Andoni Aranaga (Chocolade
Jacques), Mariano Piccoli (Lampre).
Paolo Lanfranchi (Panaria) is the best placed rider in the break, sitting 34th
on GC at 3'14. But the chase behind is too strong at the moment, as three Fassa
Bortolo men close the gap to 10 seconds.
The break sits up, although Vanotti and Loda continue for a little longer in
16:29 CEST 139km/45km to go
Aranaga joins Loda and Vanotti in front, despite the fact that the peloton is
breathing down their necks. They might survive a little longer.
16:34 CEST 143km/41km to go
Some more results from the Intergiro sprint: Piccoli, Vanotti, Lanfranchi, Loda,
Muraglia, Aranaga, Bruseghin and Gustov.
The three leaders (Vanotti, Aranaga and Loda) are still 10 seconds in front
of the Fassa Bortolo (with four riders) led peloton. In the second rank is Saeco,
with Simoni tucked in nicely. Cipollini looks comfy near the front too.
16:39 CEST 146km/38km to go
Muraglia, Loda and Vanotti have realised (or perhaps not) that resistance is
futile, and have been caught by the peloton. Four Fassa riders, with Gustov
doing quite a lot of work, are leading the peloton with less than 40 km to go.
16:43 CEST 149km/35km to go
35 kilometres to go, and the peloton is together. Massimo Codol (Fassa Bortolo)
is doing his turn on the front now. Will anyone try to attack now? It's difficult
when the bunch is moving at a good clip like this.
Fornaciari from Saeco has a word to his former teammate Fabio Sacchi (Fassa
Bortolo). Saeco will be happy that Fassa is doing the work now.
16:49 CEST 154km/30km to go
Petacchi's men look set to keep control in the final 30 km of this stage, which
is a good sign for Petacchi, who crashed on the Poggio di Sugame earlier. Petacchi
got up immediately, but then semi-collapsed on the road. He wasn't down for
too long and was helped back on his bike fairly quickly. But that might hurt
his chances in today's (probable) sprint. In the past, he has won stages after
crashing, so we certainly won't count him out today. McEwen and Cipollini might
have a better chance though.
There are no rain jackets to be seen any more, except in the pockets of riders'
jerseys. Some still have arm warmers on, as it's not particularly warm today.
The roads are quite dry now.
16:56 CEST 159km/25km to go
Simoni has a strip of pink tape on his knee - not sure what it's for, but he
could be having a few aches and pains in that area.
Race situation is unchanged, except that the peloton now has 25 km to go instead
of 30. Four Fassas, followed by the Saeco squadra with Simoni tucked in. The
road goes uphill now for 5 km, and this will be an important phase of the race
for Petacchi and the other sprinters. Gustov, Sacchi and Codol are still on
16:59 CEST 162km/22km to go
Stefano Garzelli's Vini Caldirola men have moved up beside Simoni and Saeco,
protecting Garzelli from any mishaps. In front, there is a fifth Fassa Bortolo
rider joining the train.
22 km left, and the peloton is climbing now.
17:04 CEST 165km/19km to go
The peloton has reached the top of the climb at Civitella in Val di Chiana,
almost entirely intact. 20 km left, and it's still Fassa Bortolo with five in
17:11 CEST 171km/13km to go
Ondrej Sosenka (Acqua e Sapone) is chasing back onto the peloton after a puncture,
getting a push from his team director as he passes the team car.
As the rain starts again there's a crash and Nico Sijmens (Landbouwkrediet)
rides off the side of the road. Franco Vila Errandonea (Lampre) and Jan van
Velzen (Jacques) are also down, as are Righi and Garate (Lampre), Vogondy and
Wilson (FDJeux.com), Schnider (Phonak) and Tonkov (Vini Caldirola). They are
all chasing back on now.
17:15 CEST 173km/11km to go
Two bunches are chasing back onto the main peloton, and should get back on just
before the first passage of the finish line. It's uphill with about 500m to
go, then levels out for the finish straight.
1 lap of 11.4 km to go. The roads are a little wet, which will make life tough.
Most of the Lampre team is helping Vila Errandonea and Garate get back on.
The entire Fassa Bortolo team is on the front now, with Petacchi in ninth wheel.
The pace is picking up again.
17:16 CEST 174km/10km to go
10 km to go, and the peloton is navigating a twisty finishing circuit around
Civitella In Val Di Chiana. But the riders are now on a long straight section
and that should make it easier to control. Cipollini is moving up. The pace
is quite high now.
17:18 CEST 176km/8km to go
We have two dueling trains on the superstrada now, with Lotto-Domo and Fassa
Bortolo competing for the front position. Lotto takes over, with McEwen in fourth
wheel. Alessio-Bianchi riders are also there. But Fassa Bortolo won't give up
the pole position easily.
8 km to go.
17:20 CEST 177km/7km to go
Cipollini's Domina men are now at the front, trying to keep their sprinter out
of trouble. Quaranta is moving up, as are Furlan and D'Amore. But Petacchi is
never far from the front. It's a real fight for position.
A Saunier Duval rider accelerates, but can't get a gap.
17:20 CEST 178km/6km to go
6 km to go and Domina Vacanze and Fassa Bortolo have three men up in front,
but it's very difficult to stay there on this wide, straight road.
17:21 CEST 179km/5km to go
Saeco is looking after Simoni on the right hand side of the road. He's in about
15th position at the moment.
An arrowhead starts to form, led by an Alessio man followed by Domina and Fassa
Bortolo. 5 km...
17:22 CEST 180km/4km to go
Petacchi is in fifth wheel as they reach the end of this long superstrada. Cipollini
is now far behind him.
17:23 CEST 181km/3km to go
Andrea Ferrigato (Acqua e Sapone) tries to attack, but is swamped by five Fassa
Bortolos, with Petacchi in sixth wheel. Pollack is also up there, on Petacchi's
wheel. Good choice.
Pagliarini is fighting for Pollack's wheel with 3 km to go. One of the Fassas
pulls off, as Sacchi takes over. Colombo, Naudusz and Lombardi are helping Cipo
and we've got two competing trains. There's a lot of shoulder action
17:25 CEST 182km/2km to go
Cipo has found Petacchi's wheel with 2 km to go. Usov is next to them. The trains
are going flat out.
17:25 CEST 183km/1km to go
Backstedt has made it to the front too, next to Cipo and Petacchi. 1 km to go....
It's very fast. McEwen is led up by Vierhouten.
17:27 CEST 184km/0km to go
The road goes up now and Lombardi is in front. Aug is right behind him, and
goes very early. Pollack next to him but Petacchi is on his wheel...
Petacchi wins!! McEwen is second and Cadamuro (De Nardi) comes in third.
Cipollini has a bleeding left knee, and Naudusz goes back for him. Andrea Tonti
(Saeco) also crashed. Cipo is riding slowly across the line. That hurt at 65
km/h. It was his teammate (possibly Aug) who caused it by looking around while
Cipo was on his wheel - with the inevitable result that he moved to the left
and Cipo had nowhere to go except over the top. That was a really stupid crash
and Cipo will not be happy at all about that.
In the GC, Simoni still leads, although the provisional results have Yaroslav
Popovych in second place at 13 seconds, on the same time as Cunego, so perhaps
Simoni was caught behind a break in the peloton and lost time. We'll know once
the official results come out.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi
4 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Vini Caldirola-Nobili Rubinetterie
5 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
6 Massimo Strazzer (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
7 Magnus Backstedt (Swe) Alessio-Bianchi
8 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems
9 Alejandro Albert Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres
10 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) De Nardi
General classification after stage 4
1 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco
2 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 0.13
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco
4 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 0.29
5 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria-Margres 0.48
6 Dario David Cioni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.51
the commentary team Results