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French race leader is narrowly edged out by Ratto in sprint but gets pushed into the barrier by the Italian who is relegated due to the rule infringement

ANTHONY ROUX

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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VUELTA A BURGOS 

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10.08.2013 @ 17:15 Posted by Frederik Palle Pedersen

Anthony Roux (FDJ.fr) took the win in today's flat fourth stage of the Tour of Burgos to defend his overall lead but he actually didn't cross the line as the first rider. However, Daniele Ratto (Cannondale) who had narrowly edged him out in the sprint was relegated as the Italian had pushed the Frenchman into the barrier, almost bringing both riders in the process.

 

Having finished second behind Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge) yesterday, race leader Anthony Roux hoped to go one better in today's sprint stage of the Vuelta a Burgos. Initially, it was a case of deja vu for the Frenchman as he was narrowly edged out by Daniele Ratto in the sprint.

 

However, the Italian had leaned towards his rival as they crossed the line and the commissaries deemed that to be an infringement of the rules. Hence, Roux was awarded the win after a few moments of confusion at the end of the stage.

 

The sprint came at the end of a rather forward sprint stage that was dominated by an early break before several teams started to collaborate to bring it back. A downhill run towards the finish made for incredibly high speeds as Orica-GreenEdge took control in their attempt to deliver Leigh Howard to a third consecutive team win.

 

In the end, it was, however, a two-man battle between Ratto and Roux while Simone Ponzi (Astana) crossed the line in third position to take second on the day. Roux now takes his narrow 2-second lead over Ponzi into tomorrow's queen stage to Lagunas De Neila. Finishing on an HC climb, the stage is expected to produce a major shake-up as the climbers are now expected to come to the fore with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) being the major race favourite.

 

Starting at 15.30 you can follow the stage live on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

4 riders in the early break

The 162km had a small climb in the early part but was otherwise mostly flat and a downhill run to the finish meant that this was the only chance for the pure sprinters. Hence, it was no surprise that there was no big battle to get into the early break.

 

Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel) and Aritz Bagues (Euskadi) escaped from the gun and moments later Efren Carazo (Burgos) and Romain Hardy (Cofidis) set off in pursuit. At the 6km mark, those four riders combined forces to form the day's early break which was allowed to build up a 3.58 gap at the 31km mark.

 

Orica-GreenEdge and FDJ combine forces

The FDJ.fr team of race leader Roux and the Orica-GreenEdge squad of Howard started to control the pace and brought the gap down to 3 minutes where it was kept stable for most of the day. No one had any big interest in the sprint and mountain points on offer and so the first part of the stage had very little drama to offer.

 

As the riders crossed the finish line for the first time to start the only lap on the 39km finishing circuit, the gap had come down to just around 1.30 while behind Fumiyuki Beppu and Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) still combined forces with the FDJ riders in an attempt to bring back the escape.

 

More teams start to chase

With 31km to go, they received even more help as Caja Rural put Andre Cardoso on the front in an attempt to prepare a win for Francesco Lasca while Ag2r also contributed to the chase, the French team hoping to see Lloyd Mondory take today's win.

 

NetApp-Endura also decided to put faith in their sprinter Zak Dempster and with 5 teams now cooperating on the front the break was doomed. Hence, Carazo decided to try to go off on his own but the Spaniard was quickly brought back by Garcia who clawed his way back with the remaining escapees in tow.

 

Hardy attacks

As the riders climbed up towards the top of a small plateau, Hardy was the next to launch an attack which momentarily dropped Carazo. As the group slowed down, the Burgos rider got back on and launched an immediate counterattack, only to see himself be reeled and dropped moments later.

 

Menawhile, Jon Larrinaga (Euskadi) attacked from the pack in which Astana had now lined up their entire team on the front. Valerio Agnoli, Andrey Zeits and Paolo Tiralongo swapped turns on the front, setting a furious pace that should prepare a sprint win for Ponzi.

 

A new front group is formed

Pablo Torres (Burgos) launched an attack and bridged across to Larrinaga. Those two riders overtook the front trio and only Bagues had enough left in the tank to join the new move while Hardy and Garcia fell back into the peloton.

 

As Astana continued to set a hard pace, Larrinaga fell back into the peloton and with 18km to go, Bagues and Torres were also reeled in. All was now set for a sprint finish as the teams started to organize their troops behind the fast-moving Astana train.

 

NetApp takes control

As the peloton started the descent towards the finish line with less than 10km to go, Cannondale moved to the front, only to be overtaken by NetApp's Jan Barta who led the peloton past the 2km to go mark.

 

With 1,4km to go, the Orica-GreenEdge train took over with Allan Davis and Mitch Docker launching the sprint for Howard. The Australian was delivered perfectly but had no match to the speed of Ratto and Roux who went head-to-head in a close battle for the win.

 

Having crossed the line first, Ratto initially thought that he had taken the win but a little later he was informed of his relegation which allowed Roux to go to the podium to be celebrated as the stage winner.

 

Result:

1. Anthony Roux 3.54.59

2. Simone Ponzi

3. Francesco Lasca

4. Luke Rowe

5. Lloyd Mondory

6. Daniele Colli

7. Leigh Howard

8. Edwin Avila

9. Carlos Barbero

10. Mikael Cherel

 

General classification:

1. Anthony Roux 15.02.08

2. Simone Ponzi +0.02

3. Sergei Chernetskii

4. Benoit Vaugrenard +0.07

5. Samuel Sanchez +0.10

6. Mauro Finetto

7. Rinaldo Nocentini +0.11

8. Dario Cataldo

9. Daniele Ratto

10. Giampaolo Caruso +0.13

 

Points classification:

1. Anthony Roux 73

2. Simone Ponzi 64

3. Sergei Chernetskii 37

4. Daniele Ratto 36

5. Benoit Vaugrenard 31

 

Mountains classification:

1. Amets Txurruka 24

2. Janez Brajkovic 16

3. Anthony Roux 11

4. Paolo Tiralongo 10

5. Jorge Azanza 7

 

Sprints classification:

1 Fabricio Ferrari 17

2. Zak Dempster 9

3. Romain Hardy 7

4. Christian Meier 7

5. Amets Txurruka 6

 

Teams classification:

1. Caja Rural 45.07.19

2. Vini Fantini +0.05

3. Euskaltel +0.22

4. FDJ.fr +0.25

5. Movistar +0.27

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