Petacchi 2 Boonen 0

Alessandro Petacchi continues to make up ground on Tom Boonen in the wins ranking as he outsprints t

Alessandro Petacchi continues to make up ground on Tom Boonen in the wins ranking as he outsprints t

PIC BY VUELTAANDALUCIA.COM

For the second day in a row Alessandro Petacchi and Tom Boonen went mano a mano in a bunch sprint at the Ruta del Sol, and for the second successive day the gallop ended with the Italian raising his arms in triumph as he led the field into beautiful city of Ronda. The pair carried them well clear of all but two other riders, with Graeme Brown third for the second day in a row and race leader Carlos Garcia Quesada fourth, but a crucial five seconds ahead of Kaiku's Rodrigo Garcia, who he now leads by that same margin going into Thursday's final stage.

Although the sun was shining on the finish in Ronda, stage four of the Ruta encountered more bad weather as the cold and fog returned. Even the usually hyperactive local riders were happy to stay cocooned in the bunch, and it wasn't until 54 kilometres had passed that four riders went clear. Jan Hruska (3 Molinos Resort), Oleg Chuzhda (Comunitat Valenciana), Benot Joachim (Discovery Channel) and, perhaps most surprisingly, Frank Vandenbroucke (Unibet.com) made the move and in 10k built up a lead of almost five minutes.

Chuzhda was dropped on the last climb with 17km remaining, but the remaining three held on almost to the finish, only to be reeled in going into the last kilometre. Once again set up well by his Milram train, Petacchi just had enough to beat Boonen, although the Belgian was closer than he had been yesterday.

Stage 4, Ecija-Ronda

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 162.1km in 4.07.10 (39.35kph)
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Unibet.com
5 Guido Trenti (Ita) Quick Step 0.03
6 I¤aki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel 0.05
7 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com
8 Rodrigo Garcia (Spa) Kaiku
9 Lnac Olivier (Fra) Agritubel 0.06
10 Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval

Overall

1 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Unibet.com 16.18.13
2 Garcia 0.05
3 Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Spa) Andalucia-Paul Versan 0.16
4 Isasi 0.20
5 Pasamontes 0.23
6 Jos Bonilla (CRC) Comunitat Valenciana 0.27
7 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval 0.32
8 Manuel Lloret (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 26.38
9 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) 3 Molinos Resort 27.31
10 Jesus Del Nero (Spa) 3 Molinos Resort 27.52

- Unibet's riders were also in the thick of the action on the first day of the Tour of the Algarve, which was won by the Belgian team's Marco Zanotti, who edged out his British team-mate Jeremy Hunt. Seven ProTour teams are competing in the Portuguese race including T-Mobile, and it was their Patrik Sinkewitz, making his first appearance of the season after knee trouble, who got into the break of the day with Frenchman Christophe Mengin. The pair's eight-minute advantage was worn down and finally wiped out with 10km remaining, leaving the sprinters to fight out the stage and Zanotti to claim the leader's jersey thanks to his victory and a time bonus that went with it.

Stage 1, Albufeira-Tavira

1 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Unibet.com 162.3km in 3.43.30 (43.57kph)
2 Jeremy Hunt (GB) Unibet.com
3 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner
4 Pedro Soeiro (Por) Riberalves
5 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
6 Wesley van der Linden (Bel) Chocolade Jacques
7 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Franaise des Jeux
8 Chad Hartley (USA) Team TIAA
9 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques
10 Martin Garrido (Arg) Duja-Tavira

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