California 4: Rollin wins, Leipheimer keeps gold

Soggy and cold racing down the coast

Lanky Canadian rider Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United Pro) won Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California into San Luis Obispo Thursday, after dropping breakaway companions George Hincapie (Team High Road) and Iker Camano Ortuzar (Saunier Duval-Scott) with 20km to the finish. 

The riders slogged 135 miles in more than seven hours. Levi Leipheimer (Astana) retains the leader's golden jersey heading into Friday's 15-mile time trial in Solvang.

Rollin rode himself into the points leaders' jersey by taking the two intermediate sprint bonuses on the road as well as the 15 points for the stage win.

Race leader Leipheimer had his Astana squad controlling the pace for just about the entire stage, stemming the threat of Camano, the best placed rider on GC in the break. The breakaway began just before the first intermediate sprint of the day. The eleven riders, Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), Bryce Mead (Jelly Belly), Danilo Wyss and Jackson Stewart (BMC Racing Team), Dominique Rollin (Toyota - United), Edward King (Bissell), George Hincapie (High Road), Iker Camano Ortuzar (Saunier Duval-Scott), Jonathan Hivert (Credit Agricole), Julien Belgy (Bouygues Telecom) and Roman Kilun (Health Net p/b Maxxis), never gained much more than four minutes.

Rollin took the maximum points in Big Sur ahead of Roman Kilun (Health Net) and Hincapie. The battle for the mountains jersey went again to the BMC rider in the break, this time Jackson Stewart, who took all three hills on the route, but then later abandoned with hypothermia. Rollin again took the sprint at Hearst Castle Road, before settling in to wait for the final run-in to town. The Canadian launched his attack inside 20 kilometres to go, and held up to 30 seconds on Hincapie and Camano. While the chasers pulled Rollin back to ten seconds at the end, the Canadian had plenty of time to celebrate his victory ahead of the line.

The cold, wet weather caused a bit of attrition in the peloton, with Fabian Wegmann, Johannes Fröhlinger and points leader Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) dropping out due to illness. More riders abandoned along the way, including more Gerolsteiner riders, Mathias Frank and Peter Wrolich, as well as Tom Danielson (Slipstream), Ivan Dominguez (Toyota United) and Jonny Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast).

Race leader Leipheimer finished safely in the main peloton, keeping his yellow jersey going into Friday's time trial in Solvang. Fabian Cancellara also finished in the same group, setting up a show-down of world class proportions tomorrow. 

Check out complete Stage 4 results from Mark Zalewski and Kirsten Robbins on our sister site For another delightful blog from Procycling's Daniel Friebe, click on through to the other side.

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