Tour de France stage 4 - Petacchi Shines as Cavendish fades

First big sprint finish goes to the old school

by Dave Atkinson   July 7, 2010  

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All eyes were on Mark Cavendish today with the Manxman badly needing a win on a tailor-made stage to kick start his green jersey challenge but he culdn't find the legs to take the line and sat up in the final run in. It was Lampre's Alessandro Petacchi who took the spoils on the day ahead of Julian Dean of Garmin-Transitions and Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen.

After the fireworks of the first three stages, today's 153km bimble from Cambrai to Reims – the shortest on this year's tour – always looked destined to be a bunch sprint. Although a break went away early on containing Dimitri Champion (AG2R-La Mondiale), Nicolas Vogondy (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Francis De Greef (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Iban Mayoz (Footon-Servetto) and Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel) It was never allowed too far down the road; althugh Isasi was briefly in virtual yellow as the gap approached four minutes their advantage was down to less than sixty seconds by the final sprint.

There was plenty of trepidation in the peloton about the run-in which featured nine roundabouts in the last five kilometres before a long, straight finish. With 30km to go the sprinters and many of the GC contentders were already lining up at the front to try and stay out of trouble, with the escapees in their sights. The break worked hard but was never going to stay out and by the 10km mark the race was almost back together, but a final effort by the break kept the peloton at bay and they refused to give up until they were finally reeled in with just 3km to go as the race entered Reims.

In the end it came down, predictably, to a showdown between the big guns. A good leadout from Mark Renshaw put Cavendish in a great position but the long and cagey run-in meant that both Hushovd and Cavendish had run out of men by the finish straight. The Manxman simply didn't have the legs for the long game and Petacchi came over him to take a superb stage win, with a battered Julian Dean taking second and Edvald Boasson-Hagen third.

Top 20 Tour de France 2010 Stage 4

1. PETACCHI Alessandro LAMPRE - FARNESE 2. DEAN Julian GARMIN - TRANSITIONS + 00' 00" 3. BOASSON Edvald Hagen SKY PRO CYCLING + 00' 00" 4. MC EWEN Robbie TEAM KATUSHA + 00' 00" 5. HUNTER Robert GARMIN - TRANSITIONS + 00' 00" 6. TURGOT Sébastien BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM + 00' 00" 7. ROJAS Jose Joaquin CAISSE D’EPARGNE + 00' 00" 8. OSS Daniel LIQUIGAS-DOIMO + 00' 00" 9. HUSHOVD Thor CERVELO TEST TEAM + 00' 00" 10. FREIRE Oscar RABOBANK + 00' 00" 11. CIOLEK Gerald TEAM MILRAM + 00' 00" 12. CAVENDISH Mark TEAM HTC - COLUMBIA + 00' 00" 13. BOOKWALTER Brent BMC RACING TEAM + 00' 00" 14. SANCHEZ Samuel EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI + 00' 00" 15. KIRYIENKA Vasil CAISSE D’EPARGNE + 00' 00" 16. EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM + 00' 00" 17. CASAR Sandy FDJ + 00' 00"
18. LÖVKVIST Thomas SKY PRO CYCLING + 00' 00"
19. THOMAS Geraint SKY PRO CYCLING + 00' 00"
20. BARREDO Carlos QUICK STEP + 00'

Top 20 on General Classification after stage 4

1. CANCELLARA Fabian TEAM SAXO BANK 18h 28' 55" 2. THOMAS Geraint SKY PRO CYCLING + 00' 23" 3. EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM + 00' 39" 4. HESJEDAL Ryder GARMIN - TRANSITIONS + 00' 46" 5. CHAVANEL Sylvain QUICK STEP + 01' 01" 6. SCHLECK Andy TEAM SAXO BANK + 01' 09" 7. HUSHOVD Thor CERVELO TEST TEAM + 01' 19" 8. VINOKOUROV Alexandre ASTANA + 01' 31" 9. CONTADOR Alberto ASTANA + 01' 40" 10. VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO + 01' 42" 11. ROCHE Nicolas AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 42" 12. VAN SUMMEREN Johan GARMIN - TRANSITIONS + 01' 47" 13. MENCHOV Denis RABOBANK + 01' 49" 14. WIGGINS Bradley SKY PRO CYCLING + 01' 49" 15. MILLAR David GARMIN - TRANSITIONS + 02' 06" 16. KREUZIGER Roman LIQUIGAS-DOIMO + 02' 24" 17. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon CAISSE D’EPARGNE + 02' 25" 18. ARMSTRONG Lance TEAM RADIOSHACK + 02' 30" 19. LÖVKVIST Thomas SKY PRO CYCLIN + 02' 34" 20. ROJAS Jose Joaquin CAISSE D’EPARGNE + 02' 35"