Popovych takes lead in Catalonia

ore success for Discovery Channel in Catalonia, where Yaroslav Popovych takes the lead after finish

ore success for Discovery Channel in Catalonia, where Yaroslav Popovych takes the lead after finish


While Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli was winning at the Giro and moving up to second overall, team-mate Yaroslav Popovych was finishing second on a very long stage at the Tour of Catalonia to move into the overall lead. The 238km epic was won by Saunier Duval's Leonardo Piepoli, who edged out the Ukrainian and Illes Balears' Aitor Osa in the summit finish at the Pal ski station. Piepoli's victory was Saunier's first of the season in the ProTour.

The main break of the day featured Daniel Navarro (Liberty-Wurth), Maryan Hary (Bouygues Telecom) and Frdric Bessy (Cofidis), who gained a maximum lead of 21 minutes. The trio were overhauled on the first of two concluding first-category climbs.

On the second of them to the summit finish at Pal, a group got clear that included both Jan Ullrich, making his first ProTour appearance of the season, and Iban Mayo, who is only making his second. Both were dropped before the finish by the Popovych group but offered signs of improving form. Michael Rogers also rode well to finish fourth.

Friday's 17km mountain time trial to the Andorra Arcalis resort will give another indication of how some of the likely contenders for the Tour title are shaping up. Ullrich, of course, enjoyed one of his best moments on the Andorran climb back in the 1997 Tour and has said he is looking forward to going back.

Stage 4, Perafort-Pal ski station

1 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 238km in 6.22.09 (37.32kph)
2 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel
3 Aitor Osa (Spa) Illes Balears
4 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.34
5 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.47
6 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Crdit Agricole
7 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis 0.49
8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
9 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak
10 Manuel Calvente (Spa) CSC
11 Axel Merckx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto

13 Santiago Botero (Col) Phonak 0.52
17 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 1.19
34 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 3.03
40 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel 3.27
110 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears 19.17


1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel 15.08.31
2 Osa 0.11
3 Perdiguero 0.45
4 Piepoli
5 Botero 0.54
6 Francisco Lara (Spa) T-Mobile 1.03
7 Moncouti 1.05
8 Rebellin 1.07
9 Moreau 1.09
10 Rogers 1.17

13 Ullrich 1.33

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