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Thu, Feb.23.2006:05:37 PM

Tour of California: Stage 4

Big Sur-01Haedo again! Wow, and to think that after his first victory Bob Roll was still having trouble pronouncing Haedo and now the rider has two of the five stage victories so far. I know that this is early in the season for the pro teams, but second-place Freddie Rodriguez and the other big pro sprinters have got to be feeling a little stung, especially as Haedo rode Fast Freddie's wheel to victory out of the final bend.

The live text feeds for this race were crazy to follow The hilly Pacific Coast Highway provided endless opportunities for riders to attack and there seemed to be an endless barrage of attacks. The peloton wasn't letting most of the attacks last very long, but a ten-man breakaway managed to sneak away that was whittled down to a two man break of Discovery's Gusev and Navigators' Chadwick. It was Toyota and CSC that reeled in Gusev and Chadwick with about 6km to go so that their sprinters would have a chance -- Toyota's effort was the most rewarded. A partial list of riders who attempted a breakaway includes: Horner, O'Grady, Barry, Danielson, Voigt, Raisin, Creed, Bak, Zampieri, Savoldelli, Pinotti, McCormack, Ekimov, Kreipel, Gusev, Chadwick, Lewis, Johnson, Frattini, and Marino. Don't even ask me to count how many breakaways there were.

Photo by Graham Watson Photo by Graham Watson Photo by Graham Watson Photo by Graham Watson
photos by Graham Watson

The race organizers definitely didn't expect the queen stage of this Tour to be so fast. The official site lists the finish ETA at 3:22-4:19 PM. The actual finish time was about 3:10, which is a screaming pace (25mph) for such a long and undulating stage. Apparently the Broom Wagon collecting riders abandoning got full enough that it had to dump riders off at a feed point.

In the stages mini-KOM battle, Leipheimer outbattled Kohl for the first KOM point, which may mean that Levi is interested in walking away with a KOM jersey before all is said and done. Levi gained one point on Kohl and is now trailing 20-15.

CSC has three stages left to pull something off. CSC rider Lars Bak was voted Most Aggressive for his presence in five breakaway attempts, but Chris Horner's presence ruined the break with the best chance. CSC also did a lot of work up front near the end protecting Julich/Zabriskie and trying to setup Stuart O'Grady for the sprint, but was unable to place.

Stage links:

Stage profile (from offical Amgen Tour of California Site):

stage 4 profile


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