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There's nothing like a criterium-style finish circuit after 100 hard miles...

Riding a Cannondale decked out in a 'new sherriff in town' colour scheme, Italian Francesco Chicchi won a well disciplined gallop for his Liquigas-Doimo team in the Californian city of Modesto, ahead of Saxo Bank's Argentinian Juan José Haedo and HTC-Columbia's top Brit Mark Cavendish.

The Italians may be failing to make an impression in their own Giro d'Italia running concurrently with this stateside baby Grand Tour but the Liquigas-Doimo team did their fair share of the work to haul back an all-day break finally whittled down to heroic Dutchman Lars Boom who was caught with 6 km to go.

Race leader Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) retained the overall lead and all the favorites including second and third placed Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Levi Leipheimer ( RadioShack) crossed the line safely with the main group. There was a good-for-TV, heart-stopping moment on the last of the two laps of the Modesto finishing circuit when Lance Armstrong appeared to be run off the road by a stray faller but under the '3 km ' rule he came in escorted by the smiling Radio Shack team in the same time as the sprinters.

That was at midnight our time and by 6am there were the first stirrings of the seasonal 'Dopegate' media firestorm. Stand by.

 

 Tour of California Stage 4 Top 12 Result

   1.  Francesco Chicchi     Liquigas-Doimo in 04:55:02 10s bonus
   2.  Jose Haedo Juan       Saxo Bank                   6s bonus
   3.  Mark Cavendish        HTC-Columbia                4s bonus
   4.  Theo Bos              Cervélo TestTeam
   5.  Jonathan Cantwell     Fly V Australia
   6.  Alexander Kristoff    BMC Racing Team
   7.  Ken Hanson            Team Type 1
   8.  Andreas Stauff        Quick Step 
   9.  Alex Candelario       Kelly Benefit Strategies
  10.  Guillaume Boivin      SpiderTech
  11.  George Hincapie       BMC Racing Team
  12.  Heinrich Haussler     Cervélo TestTeam       all same time

 

 Tour of California 2010 Overall Standings Top 12

   1.  David Zabriskie       Garmin-Transitions      in 18:04:35
   2.  Michael Rogers        HTC-Columbia            at 00:00:04
   3.  Levi Leipheimer       RadioShack              at 00:00:06
   4.  Peter Sagan           Liquigas-Doimo          at 00:00:21
   5.  Marc De Maar          Unitedhealthcare        at 00:00:24
   6.  Janez Brajkovic       RadioShack              at 00:00:27
   7.  Ryder Hesjedal        Garmin-Transitions      at 00:00:27
   8.  Peter Stetina         Garmin-Transitions      at 00:00:27
   9.  Thomas Danielson      Garmin-Transitions      at 00:00:27
  10.  Rory Sutherland       Unitedhealthcare        at 00:00:27
  11.  Christopher Horner    RadioShack              at 00:00:27
  12.  Jose Luis Rubiera     RadioShack              at 00:00:27