60th Vuelta a España - GT
Spain, August 27-September 18, 2005
Results & report
Stage 4 - Tuesday, August 30: Ciudad Real-Argamasilla de Alba, 232.3 km
Complete live report
Welcome back to the Vuelta a Espana for today's coverage of the longest stage
in this three-week event. Flat, long and hot - that's the easiest way to describe
stage 4, as there will be no climbing to do today, but three intermediate sprints
might shake things up a little. After yesterday's final Italian show-off, with
Petacchi and his Fassa Bortolo men returning to 'use the force', we might see
the same scenario over again today.
Indeed, the heat of this year's first stages in the Vuelta has its consequences:
About 200 bidons are used per team right now, as temperatures reach as high
as 43° Celsius. As we all know, having to drink that much increases the risk
of stomach bugs...
We have a three-men break at the moment, which got away after only 16 kilometres
this morning. Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis), Leon Van Bon (Davitamon), Frédéric
Finot (Francaise des Jeux) and Sébastien Joly (Crédit Agricole) attacked before
the first sprint in Almagro (km 22) and got a good gap.
15:09 CEST 129km/103.3km to go
Golden jersey wearer Bradley McGee didn't sign in this morning at the start
- but we can assure you right away: he did start and the peloton is currently
riding through the Quijote region for the 400th anniversary of the famous Spanish
The breakaway's lead was as much as 11.30 minutes around Manazares (km 74),
but has been growing smaller again as the sprinter's teams like Fassa Bortolo,
T-Mobile, Domina Vacanze and Quick.Step have slightly increased their pace.
Right now, the bunch is only 4.42 minutes behind.
The riders passed the feed zone half an hour ago, and fortunately the expected
cross wind hasn't come up. To the contrary, a soft back breeze should ease the
pain of the four front men. It is highly questionable, however, that they will
be able to keep their lead until the end... even if it's not as hot as yesterday,
with an approximate temperature of 30° Celsius in finish town Argamasilla de
15:26 CEST 132km/100.3km to go
Frenchman Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis) in front has won all three intermediate
sprints today, which amounts to 16 points altogether in the Points Classification,
still led by Bradley McGee (42 points).
The Vuelta a España is now coming into Albacete, and it looks like the gap is
reduced to 3.40 minutes only, with 100 kilometres of racing yet to do. Maybe
we'll see some counter-attacks, if anyone has the guts to defy the Silver superpower,
let alone the legs, of course.
15:38 CEST 142km/90.3km to go
As T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla rode through his home town Ossa de Montiel, waving
at all of his friends and family, Leon Van Bon has lost contact with his break
companions. The Dutchman obviously hasn't got the power today.
15:46 CEST 145km/87.3km to go
There's been a crash in the bunch! Riders from CSC and Phonak are involved...
but it seems no one got seriously hurt.
15:52 CEST 145km/87.3km to go
The parcours turned to the North on a descent and Liberty Seguros and Illes
Balears riders went to the front of the bunch to avoid future surprises with
the wind. Leon Van Bon has been caught.
15:56 CEST 154km/78.3km to go
The average speed for the fourth hour of the race is 38,1 km/h. As the speed
was a little higher during the fist two hours of racing, the overall average
is 39,950 km/h. The break's advantage is now 3.02 minutes with still 78 kilometres
to go before the finish line.
16:03 CEST 158km/74.3km to go
The riders are now on long, straight and wide open roads, with the wind coming
from the West, thus from the side. But the breeze hasn't picked up significantly,
so the race situation hasn't changed much because of it. The gap is still around
16:14 CEST 170km/62.3km to go
The race passes through arid, harvested fields, with Juan Antonio Flecha sitting
pretty much at the front now, chatting to a Saunier Duval colleague. The gap
has diminished again to 2.38.
José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) was one of the riders involved in the
crash earlier, and is now wearing a bandage around his right leg. He looks fine
though. Manuel Calvente (CSC) also went down with him, but is still in the race
16:21 CEST 174km/58.3km to go
The three French riders in front - Christophe Edaleine (Cofidis), Frédéric Finot
(Francaise des Jeux) and Sébastien Joly (Crédit Agricole) - are still looking
smooth, although there is absolutely no shelter from the blazing sun in this
part of Spain. Virtually no trees, barely some bushes... Finot is doing his
turn now, with all of them are working of course. But their advance is melting
away, now only 2.17.
16:28 CEST 180km/52.3km to go
Finot got three bottles from his team car as a reserve for the last 50 kilometres,
as the bunch behind is now really chasing, and very stretched out. Finot has
trouble holding on to his companions with the three bottles on his back, but
has now reconnected with them. The gap should be less than a minute now, as
the team cars were called back by the race directors.
16:38 CEST 188km/44.3km to go
There has been a split in the peloton as the speed increased. It blew apart
when they turned back to the West, but the second group has just reconnected
with the main bunch. A Phonak rider in front of the bunch just sat up on his
saddle and signalled to slow down, moving his hands and arms up and down.
16:45 CEST 199.3km/33km to go
The pace is more moderate now, and the breakaway has been swallowed.
16:50 CEST 200km/32.3km to go
Marco Marzano (Lampre) was back in the team cars but moved up again into the
back of the bunch, led by Francaise des Jeux now. The riders have eased up a
bit, talking to one another before the inevitable finale.
16:54 CEST 203km/29.3km to go
And here we go: Christophe Kern (Bougyes) put his hands down the handlebars,
his bottom out of the saddle and attacked. But he's being followed and can't
get away, looking back on the bunch who's just 20 metres behind him. He's brave,
though, and continues.
16:58 CEST 211.3km/21km to go
The fifth hour of the stage was raced in 39 km/h, and the total average is now
39,475 km/h. Kern sat up - it's no use. But Gerolsteiner's Torsten Schmidt is
now out there on a quest with 21 kilometres to go. It's good sponsor TV time,
that's for sure, but the sporting aspect seems rather hopeless.
Benoît Joachim (Discovery) now joins the Gerolsteiner rider in front, as well
as a man from Relax: Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez. They're three now with a a 20
17:05 CEST 213.3km/19km to go
The trio is able to increase their gap to 30 seconds, working well together.
But will that be enough? Saunier Duval and Cofidis are controlling the peloton
17:08 CEST 220.3km/12km to go
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa) sits comfortably inside the pack, getting a ride
to the finish almost. He's just called for his team car, not sure what that
was about. The break now has 42 seconds at the 12 km-mark.
17:12 CEST 222.3km/10km to go
Here we go: Davitamon and Fassa are working now. So is Quick.Step. The gap is
17:14 CEST 224.3km/8km to go
A few more spectators are now lining the roads, as the Relax rider in front
tries to get away to finish solo. The two other have sat up.
17:16 CEST 226.3km/6km to go
A lot of teams are leading the bunch, a pure Fassa train hasn't formed yet.
Pasamontes is suffering, and here comes the Silver train, finally.
17:17 CEST 227.3km/5km to go
Seven seconds under the 5 km-mark. Pasamontes is eaten... now.
17:19 CEST 228.3km/4km to go
Another Bouygues rider is doing a kamikaze on the left side of the road, while
Fassa is on the left. A Crédit Agricole man was up there now, too. No way out
at this stage...
17:21 CEST 230.3km/2km to go
The road get a little shade now. It's very straight lines. Zabel is sitting
in 10th position or so. Liberty is up there too. Petacchi has three riders in
front of him. Boonen is in Zabel's wheel
Velo is hammering, but Boonen looks to his rivals and sits up??? And Fassa lost
the plot, with Hushovd coming around too... Steels is there... and Petacchi
Hushovd second, Zabel third. What a tight finish again!
Thanks for tuning in and we sure hope you'll read us again tomorrow, when another
176 kilometres have to be mastered by the pros here in sunny Spain.
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 5.41.29
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team
4 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas - Bianchi
5 Tom Steels (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto
6 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Française des Jeux
7 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic
9 Giosuè Bonomi (Ita) Lampre - Caffita
10 René Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
General classification after stage 4
1 Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux
2 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, le credit par telephone
3 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir
5 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
6 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre - Caffita
7 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
8 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
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