Petacchi Sprints to Stage Four Win at 2010 Tour de France

By James Fish, Epoch Times
July 7, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Alessandro Petacchi (R) celebrates on the finish line as he wins Stage Four of the 2010 Tour de France. (Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images)
Alessandro Petacchi (R) celebrates on the finish line as he wins Stage Four of the 2010 Tour de France. (Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images)
After hours of anticipation, it wasn’t the usual suspects racing across the finish line in Stage Four of the 2010 Tour de France. Robbie Hunter, Robbie McEwen, Thor Hushovd, and most of all, the “Manx Missile” Mark Cavendish, misread the moves and lost their chances, while 36-year-old Allesandro Petacchi timed it perfectly to win his second stage in the 2010 Tour.

The Lampre rider, nicknamed “Ale-Jet” while in his prime five and six years ago, has reignited his jets for this Tour. Some might say he didn’t beat the best in Stage Two, after so many big sprinters were caught up in crashes. No one can say that after Stage Four. Petacchi went head-to-head with the biggest names in cycling and left them all behind.

“I felt good today after I received a massage from the cobblestones yesterday” Petacchi told LeTour.fr. “It must have done me some good because today I was at my best.”

“I knew that if I was to let Cavendish or Hushovd start the sprint, I would have no chance to catch them. That’s why I was first at 250 meters from the line. At that point I realized my legs could make it through and I had to hold on. It stimulates you so much to see the finish line; I couldn’t let go.”

The race was a typical flat stage—an early breakaway, a quick chase and catch in the final few kilometers, the scrum for position at the head of the peloton, and, as usual, HTC lining up four riders for the final kilometers. But this time the final kilometer offered up surprising new fare.

Entering the final kilometer, Danilo Hondo, Petacchi’s leadout rider, made an early move, perhaps trying to cause a panicked early break as HTC’s Bernard Eisel pulled off and Mark Renshaw took over leading Mark Cavendish. No one paid attention to Hondo, instead watching Cavendish and Thor Hushovd, who was right on Cav’s wheel.

Petacchi opted to follow Hushovd for a few tens of meters, before exploding out to the left of the road, just as Mark Renshaw started to pull off. Cavendish was already behind when he launched; he made a short run, then pulled up, seeing he was beaten.

Katusha rider Robbie McEwen was on top of the action, and he latched on to Petaacchi as he broke, but couldn’t mach Ale’s jet propulsion. Julian Dean, leading out Robert Hunter for Garmin-Transitions, made his own charge as Hunter got lost in the crowd, coming home second.

“I’ve been around a long time—I know how to follow wheels and get myself in the right position and that’s what I did and I ended up second place,” Dean told Versus-TV. “I didn’t quite have it to overcome Petacchi at the finish, but I was pretty happy, given I came out of the hospital two days ago.”

Poor Robbie McEwen had the head to see the right wheel to follow but not the legs to follow that wheel; he ended up fourth, behind Sky’s Edvald Hagen Boasson. Robbie Hunter, in a striking display of acceleration, caught up to the leaders at the line, finishing fifth.

Afterwards, Robbie McEwen posted on Twitter: “Tried to come off Ale's wheel for the win but didn't have the power. Elbow hurts but hip & strained adductors r killing me. Hope it improves

“Decided better to try to win & risk losing than just stay in wheel for 2nd. Congrats though to Peta, very strong.”

Mark Cavendish, long billed the “Fastest Man on a Bicycle,” disappointed many with his truncated effort. He has had a hard year, going through lengthy oral surgery, crashes, and insufficient time to prepare. But something is missing there.

Cav used to have a kick after his kick. He used to explode off of Renshaw’s wheel, wait until the other sprinters caught him, and then accelerate away. This tactic won him six stages in last year’s Tour. This year he couldn’t catch Petacchi, and in fact sat up twenty yards from the line, when he would normally have kicked again.

Nothing changed in the General Classification. Cancellara is in yellow, Andy Schleck is 6th, Alberto Contador is 9th, And Lance Armstrong lies 18th.

Stage 4 2010 Tour de France

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

Alessandro Petacchi

Lampre

3:34:55

2

Julian Dean

Garmin—Transitions

+0

3

Edvald Boasson Hagen

Sky

+0

4

Robbie McEwen

Katusha

+0

5

Robert Hunter

Garmin—Transitions

+0

6

Sébastien Turgot

Bbox Bouygues Telecom

+0

7

Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil

Caisse d'Epargne

+0

8

Daniel Oss

Liquigas-Doimo

+0

9

Thor Hushovd

Cervelo

+0

10

Oscar Freire

Rabobank

+0

General Classification after Stage 4

 

Rider

Team

Time

1

Fabian Cancellara

Saxo Bank

18:28:55

2

Geraint Thomas

Sky

0:00:23 

3

Cadel Evans

BMC

0:00:39 

4

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin – Transitions

0:00:46 

5

Sylvain Chavanel

Quick Step

0:01:01 

6

Andy Schleck

Team Saxo Bank

0:01:09 

7

Thor Hushovd

Cervelo Test Team

0:01:19 

8

Alexander Vinokourov

Astana

0:01:31 

9

Alberto Contador

Astana

0:01:40 

10

Jurgen Van Den Broeck

Omega Pharma-Lotto

0:01:42

 

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