Britain: Ardila wins again
Friday, September 3, 2004 11.00pm
A second stage win has put Colombia's Mauricio Ardila in an impregnable position going into the fina
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Colombian climber Mauricio Ardila proved that he was the best rider in the Tour of Britain on Saturday, winning the fourth stage, and his second of the race, while wearing the yellow leader's jersey. The 25-year-old Chocolade Jacques rider held off Relax-Bodysol's Fernandez Moreno on the line after the two escaped from the chasing pack on the final climb up to the finish at the Celtic Manor resort in Newport. By taking another 10-second bonus for the win, Ardila now leads Quick Step's Nick Nuyens by 17 seconds heading into Sunday's 72.4km stage around a 1.6km circuit in Westminster - and looks likely to win the overall classification on a day that should be one for the sprinters. For the first time in the race, which has enjoyed warm temperatures, the participants were greeted by a light rain at the start in Newport, just outside the new velodrome. Luckily, the weather held off for the rest of the stage, which was supported by good crowds, especially on the day's only climb up to Celtic Manor, which was tackled three times on three laps of a circuit of just over 50km. With riders attempting to go clear right from the start, the day's only serious break eventually got clear on the descent after the first passage over the Celtic Manor climb and through the finish line. The Great Britain team's Russel Downing, Wales' Yanto Barker, Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC), winner of the Tour of Denmark in August and stage winner in the 2003 Tour of Italy, former British national champion Jeremy Hunt (MrBookmaker.com) and Lotto-Domo's Koos Mourenhout worked well together to build a maximum lead of nearly seven minutes. But once the sprinters' teams came to the front of the peloton in the latter stages of the day's race, the time gap dropped quickly, and the five riders were caught with just three kilometres left to go. "At one point, I thought we would stay away, but then when all the teams started chasing, it was too hard," a disappointed Arvesen told procycling at the finish. With the main field starting the climb up to the finish all together, there was plenty of pushing and shoving for position, but Ardila demonstrated his climbing skills to pull away with Moreno. "It was a good circuit, and the tactics for the team today were that when the break went away, the other teams would pull it back, so my team were quite content for them to do that," Ardila said. "We also knew it was a very tough finish, and so knew that the difference would be made at the end rather than during the race." Stage four: Newport-Newport 1 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Chocolade Jacques 161km in 3.32.37 (45.43kph) 2 Fernandez Moreno (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 3 Michele Bartoli (Ita) CSC 0.03 4 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) US Postal 5 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) T-Mobile 6 John Gadret (Fra) Chocolade Jacques 7 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step 8 Julian Dean (NZ) Crdit Agricole 9 Andr Korff (Ger) T-Mobile 0.06 10 Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC 0.08 Overall standings 1 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Chocolade Jacques 2 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step 0.17 3 Eric Leblacher (Fra) Crdit Agricole 0.18 4 Julian Dean (NZ) Crdit Agricole 0.19 5 Fernandez Moreno (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 6 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) T-Mobile 0.20 7 Michele Bartoli (Ita) CSC 0.24 8 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) US Postal 9 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Domo 0.27 10 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Navigators
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