86th Giro d'Italia - Grand Tour
Italy, May 10-June 1, 2003
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
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
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
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
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
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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