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Tour of California 2009 Stage 4: 84 Tie, Cavendish Wins, Leipheimer Leads, Kirchen and Friere Out

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Tour of California Stage 4 Merced to Clovis
The sun finally came out on the Tour of California in Stage 4, and so did the idiots. In fact, at one point on the final climb, an imbicile with a sharp implement meant to be some sort of devil's pitchfork too a head full of snow after one of the cyclists (purported to be Lance himself) was close enough to push him and his sharp tipped stick into the bank.

On a day where Lance's time trial bike was recovered, this must've been a good day for Lance. Speaking of Texans, there was a cromag with a football helmet on with longhorns coming out of it, and this dogbait was running down the MIDDLE of the road in FRONT of the peloton. Oh what I would have given for an NFL linebacker to clean his lone star clock!

Once again I watched the Cycling TV coverage on the full replay at...
http://www.nmnathletics.com/newMediaPlayer/console.htm?oemid=20300

The hosts sat in London commenting on the coverage and I find that to be a good way of handling it. I think we should have more telecasts where the commentators are not from the country hosting the event. It makes for better observation of the peripheral details surrounding the event.

Some good video of the early attacks is available on http://www.versus.com/cyclysm under the title, Part 1 Stage 4.

An early group of four and more at times included Francisco Mancebo (ESP), Jason McCartney (USA), Tyler Hamilton (USA) and Serge Pauwels (BEL). Mancebo dropped back after getting as many KOM points as he had the spirit for, to let Tyler fly the Rock Racing banner alone with SaxoBank's McCartney and Cervelo's Pauwels.

Still, having won the sprint the day before, Cervelo was in nice shape having someone in the breakaway, to put Quik Step and Columbia High Road on the spot to do much of the work. For a while it was 3 rotating up front, 2 Columbia and 1 Quik Step, with Astana behind to stay out of wind and trouble at the same time. (The teams with strong sprinters, like Quick Step, Columbia and Cervelo, would be doing the work to set up sprinters, except with Cervelo having a guy in the break, they'd be OK if the peloton didn't catch, and would take their odds as one in three for a win from the break.)

One of the heroes for the day for Columbia was Michael Berry, who spent tons of time up front all day. It was yet to be seen if Cavendish could produce, but Berry made the catch more certain with hours up front it seemed.

Here's a quote from a well written press release on the official site...

Jason McCartney (USA) of Saxo Bank drove several early moves, finally getting clear at the 26-mile mark with Serge Pauwels (BEL) of Cervelo Test Team and Rock Racing's Tyler Hamilton (USA).  Hamilton's teammate Francisco Mancebo (ESP) joined the break as well, hoping to defend his sprint and KOM jerseys.

The first dry day of the race was marred by serious injuries to three high-profile riders: Kim Kirchen (LUX) of Team Columbia-Highroad fractured his right clavicle and scapula; Oscar Friere (ESP) of Rabobank fractured two ribs on his left side; and Scott Nydam (USA) of the BMC Racing Team fractured his left clavicle.
http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/news/press/2009-stage4-results.html

In the same pile up as Friere and Kirchen at least, Landis had crashed, but he later caught up to the peloton.

Astana didn't need to chase, really, as nobody in the break was close to catching up to Levi Leipheimer's overall time (and that of much of the Astana team). I could swear I saw Chris Horner at the back with a Snickers bar in his mouth, wrapper and all.

If you want to see some beautiful roads, check out the race from 2:30 in the video to the edge of town for the finish. Great undulating curves.

At about 2:40 into the video, Garmin Slipstream brought a couple of guys up too, so a group of 5 was rotating in front of Astana and the rest. In the end, the lead group went down and Cervelo came in with an early lead in with Columbia tucked in behind. Cervelo looked great, but a day full of work paid off for Columbia High Road, as Mark Cavendish took the win by an inch or two over Quick Step's Tom Boonen, followed by JJ Haedo, Hushovd and Farrar.

Tour of California Top 20 plus some notables with same time...
1.      22      GBR 19850521    CAVENDISH Mark*    THR    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
2.      41      BEL 19801015    BOONEN Tom    QST    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
3.      17      ARG 19810126    HAEDO Juan Jos    SAX    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
4.      83      NOR 19780118    HUSHOVD Thor    CTT    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
5.      34      USA 19840602    FARRAR Tyler    GRM    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
6.      91      SUI 19740627    ZBERG Markus    BMC    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
7.      166      USA 19730903    RODRIGUEZ Freddy    RRC    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
8.      133      ARG 19830418    HAEDO Lucas Sebastian    COL    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
9.      152      AUS 19831205    SULZBERGER Bernard    VAU    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
10.      73      SUI 19780923    ELMIGER Martin    ALM    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
11.      138      ITA 19780806    FRATTINI Davide    COL    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
12.      143      USA 19860601    REIJNEN Kiel*    JBC    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
13.      128      AUS 19771001    WILSON Matthew    TT1    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
14.      65      ITA 19870814    GUARNIERI Jacopo*    LIQ    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
15.      63      ITA 19801127    CHICCHI Francesco    LIQ    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
16.      32      USA 19850303    COZZA Steven*    GRM    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
17.      115      USA 19770522    PIPP Frank    BPC    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
18.      125      UKR 19770205    KOBZARENKO Valeriy    TT1    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
19.      27      AUS 19821022    RENSHAW Mark    THR    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
20.      1      USA 19731024    LEIPHEIMER Levi    AST    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
23.      4      USA 19711023    HORNER Christopher    AST    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
25.      21      USA 19730629    HINCAPIE George    THR    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
27.      16      GER 19710917    VOIGT Jens    SAX    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
32.      28      AUS 19791220    ROGERS Michael    THR    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
47.      38      USA 19790112    ZABRISKIE David    GRM    04.42'38"    00.00'00"
...
82.      2      USA 19710918    ARMSTRONG Lance    AST    04.42'38"    00.00'00"

Tour of California Top 20 Overall After Stage 4...
1.      1      USA 19731024    LEIPHEIMER Levi    AST    18.33'52"    00.00'00"
2.      28      AUS 19791220    ROGERS Michael    THR    18.34'16"    00.00'24"
3.      38      USA 19790112    ZABRISKIE David    GRM    18.34'20"    00.00'28"
4.      2      USA 19710918    ARMSTRONG Lance    AST    18.34'22"    00.00'30"
5.      4      USA 19711023    HORNER Christopher    AST    18.34'26"    00.00'34"
6.      3      SLO 19831218    BRAJKOVIC Janez    AST    18.34'30"    00.00'38"
7.      26      SWE 19840404    LVKVIST Thomas    THR    18.34'30"    00.00'38"
8.      7      ESP 19730127    RUBIERA VIGIL Jos Luis    AST    18.34'30"    00.00'38"
9.      66      ITA 19841114    NIBALI Vincenzo    LIQ    18.34'30"    00.00'38"
10.      52      NED 19860531    GESINK Robert*    RAB    18.34'31"    00.00'39"
11.      161      ESP 19760929    SEVILLA Oscar    RRC    18.34'31"    00.00'39"
12.      16      GER 19710917    VOIGT Jens    SAX    18.34'32"    00.00'40"
13.      61      ITA 19771126    BASSO Ivan    LIQ    18.34'34"    00.00'42"
14.      33      USA 19780313    DANIELSON Thomas    GRM    18.34'34"    00.00'42"
15.      46      BEL 19860912    SEELDRAEYERS Kevin*    QST    18.34'43"    00.00'51"
16.      163      ESP 19760309    MANCEBO Francisco    RRC    18.34'45"    00.00'53"
17.      55      NED 19861126    MOLLEMA Bauke*    RAB    18.36'02"    00.02'10"
18.      47      BEL 19770209    VAN DE WALLE Jurgen    QST    18.36'04"    00.02'12"
19.      42      ESP 19810605    BARREDO Carlos    QST    18.38'24"    00.04'32"
20.      56      GER 19751103    NIERMANN Grischa    RAB    18.38'24"    00.04'32"

Locations

Merced, California
United States
37° 17' 51.5868" N, 120° 28' 35.1156" W
Clovis, California
United States
36° 49' 35.6556" N, 119° 42' 2.394" W
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