Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez of Caisse d'Epargne claimed the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico over 171km from Foligno to Montelupone on Saturday to take the overall race lead.
The 30-year-old proved strongest in a hill finish that had gradients of 20 percent at some points. He finished six seconds ahead of Italy's Davide Rebellin of Diquigiovanni with Sweden's Thomas Lövkvist of Columbia third a further four seconds back.
The result leaves Rodriguez six seconds clear of France's Julien El Fares (Cofidis), the first stage winner, in the overall standings.
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© AFP 2009