2010 Tour of California Stage 4 – American Dave Zabriskie retains leader jersey, Italian sprinter Francesco Chicchi wins sprint at stage finish

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Thursday, May 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


Start of the 2010 Tour of California cycling race in downtown San Jose
CYCLISTS START THE 4TH STAGE OF 2010 TOUR OF CALIFORNIA IN SJ

2010 Tour of California start Oregon Racing fans streets of San Jose
OREGON RACING FANS ON THE STREETS OF SAN JOSE WEDNESDAY

2010 Tour of California stage 4 San Jose Lance Armstrong
7-TIME TOUR DE FRANCE WINNER, TEAM RADIO SHACK'S LANCE ARMSTRONG

Garmin-Transitions rider David Zabriskie retained his yellow jersey, and Liquigas-Doimo sprinter Francesco Chicchi edged out J.J. Haedo and Mark Cavendish at the finish line sprint in the fourth stage of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California.

The 121.5 mile stage from San Jose to Modesto contained a pair of California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain climbs, including a steep stage 1 (1943 ft) climb up Sierra Road in the San Jose foothills, and a second stage 4 (1512 ft) climb at Mines Road near Livermore. A 7-man breakaway was quickly whitled down to 4 riders, and of that group it was Canadian Ryan Anderson who captured both of the bonuses and the KOM jersey.

Rabobank’s Lars Boom looked strong in the breakaway group, capturing the initial sprint at Livermore and the second sprint in Patterson. The colorful and palm-tree lined central Californian city of Patterson received heavy play by Versus announcers, but after the end of the second sprint a crash just off the shoulder of George Hincapie fractured the peloton. The peloton customarily slows down to allow downed riders to rejoined the group, but sensing an upcoming crosswind it increased speed.

Boom held out as the last member of the breakaway group, looking confident and strong for most of the stage. On the second circuit lap in downtown Modesto, he was swallowed by the peloton. A pair of Team Radioshack riders crashed on the circuit laps. Yaroslav Popovych crashed just outside of the 3km finish line margin, and Lance Armstrong crashed inside the 3km margin allowing him to reach the finish line at his own pace and recieve the same time as the peloton.

“I’m dedicating this win to my teammates who worked incredibly well for me today and this season. I’m really proud to win again in the U.S. This is a great race, I love to race hard and win in America. To me, today felt just like the Tour de France,” Francesco Chicchi said of his biggest stage win in several years. “Winning is good, to beat Number 1 is better.”

A photo gallery from the start in San Jose is available here.

[Update] Francesco Chicchi wins stage 4 of the Amgen Tour; Dave Zabriskie defends lead – VeloNews.

[Update2] It has been a tumultous couple of days for Lance Armstrong. He had equipment problems at the end of stage 3, and a minor crash inside of the 3km margin for the stage 4 finish in Modesto. He suffered a serious crash in stage 5 and left the race with swelling in his eye and damage to his arm. He tweeted a gruesome photo of the injury here. According to reports he required 8 stitches to the cut in the team car, but x-rays at a nearby hospital confirmed there were no broken bones.

Off the course, it was an equally tumultous couple of days. He slammed U.S. broadcaster Versus on twitter for cutting away from the Bonnie Doon photo finish of stage 3 to go to pre-game coverage of Flyers-Canadiens GM3. Sharkspage has an email into Versus for comment, but former Mercury News opinion writer Ann Killion notes it was stinging criticism from one of the athletes who help build the network when it was OLN.

And then came very detailed accusations made by former Tour of California (2006) and Tour de France (2006) winner Floyd Landis. Landis was stripped of his Tour de France win and fired from his Phonak team after he tested positive for unnatural levels of testosterone. For several years, Landis proclaimed his innocence, accepted money for a legal defense fund, and even wrote a book detailing his side of the story and laying out the groundwork of the conspiracy against him.

One day after the stage 4 start in San Jose, Landis admitted it was all a lie. He accused several cyclists, including 3-time Tour of California defending champion Levi Leipheimer and former teammate Lance Armstrong, of using performance enhancing drugs.

“I would remind everyone that this is a man that has been under oath several times with a very different version. This is a man that wrote a book for profit that had a completely different version. This is somebody that took close to a million dollars from innocent people for his defense under a different premise and now when it’s all run out the story changes. So we are a little confused. Maybe just as confused as you guys.” Armstrong said in a press conference before the start of stage 5.

“But with regard to the specific allegations and the specific claims, they are not even worth getting into. I’m not going to waste your time or my time,” he added. “Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago… We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from. It’s his word versus ours… we like our word, we like our credibility.”

[Update3] Best local coverage of the Tour of California, hands down from Ken Conley at Spare Cycles. Ken answered a couple of questions from this blog about the race in 2008 and allowed us to post a beautiful photo of the Bixby bridge crossing south of Carmel.

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