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After three stage wins at the Giro last month, Robbie McEwen gave himself another timely boost before the Tour de France with a convincing bunch sprint victory on today's fourth stage of the Tour of Switzerland.
The Australian followed Quick Step's Tom Boonen as the Belgian's team-mates set him up for what was a tight finish on a short straight in Bad Zurzach, but the Belgian had no answer as McEwen shot by in the final run to the line for a clear win. Liquigas' Daniele Colli took second place and Phonak's Aurlien Clerc third as Boonen faded in the final moments.
Several breakaway attempts were thwarted before McEwen's Davitamon-Lotto team-mate Bart Dockx, CSC's Allan Johansen and Fassa Bortolo's Lorenzo Bernucci went clear with 70km covered. The trio were no danger to overall leader Jan Ullrich. Indeed, their break worked to the German's advantage as the three shared out the bonus seconds at intermediate sprints that second-placed Brad McGee had half an eye on. The trio were caught little more than 5km from the line, as Quick Step in particular pushed the pace along in the bunch.
Wednesday's stage from Bad Zurzach to Altdorf looks a decent one for the sprinters again. There are two third-cat climbs towards the finish, but more than 20 kilometres from the last of them to the line.
Stage 4, Vaduz-Bad Zurzach
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 208.2km in 4.42.40 (44.193kph)
2 Daniele Colli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
3 Aurlien Clerc (Swi) Phonak
4 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
5 Sbastien Hinault (Fra) Crdit Agricole
6 Baden Cooke (Aus) Franaise des Jeux
7 Ren Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
8 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Caffita
10 Roger Hammond (GB) Discovery Channel
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 13.13.50
2 Brad McGee (Aus) Francaise des Jeux 0.02
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.18
4 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 1.12
5 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 1.14
6 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval 1.25
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 1.31
8 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC 1.41
9 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quick Step 1.47
10 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel 1.52
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