P-Nice 4: Cancellara outwits Kirsipuu

Fabian Cancellara and his Fassa Bortolo team get the better of Jaan Kirsipuu in the sprint that ends

Fabian Cancellara and his Fassa Bortolo team get the better of Jaan Kirsipuu in the sprint that ends
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Put Fabian Cancellara up against Jaan Kirsipuu in a two-up sprint and there would only be one winner - well, perhaps most of the time. On a day when the organisers of the 'race to the sun' were again forced to rejig the programme and schedule a much-shortened stage, Fassa Bortolo rider Cancellara achieved a victory over the highly experienced Estonian that was almost as surprising as the first sight of the sun on this weather-affected race. Fassa, in fact, worked the finish beautifully. After Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak), Iker Camano (Euskaltel) and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r) riders escaped on the final 3rd-category climb, a small group containing no less than three Fassa riders went off in pursuit of them on the subsequent descent. Fassa's Juan Antonio Flecha and Paolo Bossoni were with Cancellara, as was defending champion Jorg Jaksche, who was closely marked by CSC's Bobby Julich. The trio at the front were caught 10km from the finish in Montlimar. Coming into Montlimar itself, Flecha launched the first attack, no doubt hoping to shake Kirsipuu, who was the clear favourite from the leading group. He didn't, but only Cancellara followed this pair. Cancellara tried his luck, without success, and coming into the final straight Flecha went again, again without success. Perhaps feeling he'd done most of what he needed to win, Kirsipuu launched his sprint from 250 metres out, got a slight lead on Cancellara, but was then rapidly overhauled by the Swiss, who only last season was bemoaning his lack of sprinting power, notably when fourth of the front four at Paris-Roubaix. As the Swiss celebrated ebulliently with Flecha beyond the finish, the rest of the lead group came through a few seconds down, while the peloton was led in by race leader Tom Boonen 32 seconds later. These gaps, allied with the time bonuses on the line, were sufficient for Cancellara to take the overall lead as well, ahead of Flecha and the strong-looking Julich. Tomorrow's stage should see the race return to his pre-programmed format and could well prove decisive as it takes the event to the summit of Mont Faron. CSC have already won there once this season thanks to Jens Voigt, and the German and Julich will no doubt fancy a repeat on the mountain above Toulon. Stage 4, St Peray-Montlimar 1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 108km in 2.11.03 (49.45kph) 2 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Crdit Agricole 3 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 0.02 4 Bobby Julich (USA) CSC 0.05 5 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Phonak 6 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros 7 Iker Camano (Spa) Euskaltel 0.08 8 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r 0.10 9 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.22 10 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 0.32 11 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 12 Erik Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 22 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crdit Agricole 23 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 28 Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Franaise des Jeux 31 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 33 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 50 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 71 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 76 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile 88 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros 95 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 2.26 98 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC 99 David Zabriskie (USA) CSC 112 Ian McLeod (SA) Franaise des Jeux 6.28 113 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 137 Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas-Bianchi 12.37 Overall 1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 10.09.50 2 Flecha 0.15 3 Julich 0.20 4 Boonen 0.31 5 Erik Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 0.33 6 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Illes Balears 0.35 7 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) CSC 0.36 8 Voigt 0.37 9 Vladimir Goussev (Rus) CSC 0.40 10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Franaise des Jeux 0.47 13 Valverde 0.48 18 Jaksche 1.02 25 Vinokourov 1.28 26 Lokvist 1.29 33 Kemps 1.38 37 Rogers 1.44 40 Evans 1.46 76 Danielson 4.15 77 Zabriskie 4.40 80 Sastre 4.54 91 Landis 8.06 97 Rodriguez 10.01 115 Hayman 15.13 121 McLeod 18.45 136 Wegelius 25.51
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