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Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) was the surprise winner of the first individual time trial of the 2008 Tour de France, a testing 29.5km course around Cholet on Tuesday. His dominant win means that Schumacher has now moved into the race lead.

Of the general classification contenders, Cadel Evans put in the best performance, clocking 36min 11secs and taking third on the stage. Evan’s main overall rival Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) came 23rd and lost 1min 7secs to the Australian. Evans now lies fourth overall.

Before the stage, David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) sat in eighth position in the general classification and had hoped to gain enough seconds on his rivals – and in particular time trial ace Fabian Cancellara (CSC-Saxo Bank) – to take the race lead and coveted yellow jersey. On the day he gave it everything and achieved 36mins 2secs giving him third place, but even this amazing time wasn’t enough to secure the race lead – although it does move him up to third overall.

Cancellara failed to produce the widely tipped stage win and could only muster 36min 17secs, giving him fifth place.

Romain Feillu (Agritubel) – race leader going into the stage – had, quite frankly, a shocker of a ride. He finished in 169th place, nearly five minutes adrift of stage winner Schumacher.

Millar’s team mate Danny Pate (Garmin-Chipotle) set the early marker with 36min 54secs and remained at the top of the standings for just over an hour until Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) came in with 36min 53secs. His time was subsequently beaten soundly by Jens Voigt (CSC-Saxo Bank) with 36min 19secs and then a succession of riders.

Britain’s Chris Froome (Barloworld) sat in the provisional top ten for several hours with a solid time of 37min 33secs before being edged out by the top seeded riders much later in the afternoon. He eventually finished 33rd. British sprinter Mark Cavendish (Columbia) came in 143rd with 39min 49secs.

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE 4 ITT RESULTS

1. Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 29.5km in 35m 44sec


2. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia at 18secs

3. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle at 18secs

4. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 27secs

5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) CSC-Saxo Bank at 33secs

6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 34secs

7. Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC-Saxo Bank 35secs

8. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle at 37secs

9. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia at 41secs

10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 47secs

British

33. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld

143. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 4

1. Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner in 14h 4m 41secs


2. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia at 12secs

3. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle at 12secs

4. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 21secs

5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) CSC-Saxo Bank at 33secs

6. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle at 37secs

7. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia at 41secs

8. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Columbia at 47secs

9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 58secs

10. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 1m 1sec

British

98. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia at 5m 58secs

163. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 11m 8secs

POINTS COMPETITION

1. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia

KING OF THE MOUNTAINS COMPETITION

1. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom

YOUNG RIDER COMPETITION

1. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Columbia

Tour de France 2008 Mark CavendishMark Cavendish

Tour de France 2008Denis Menchov

Tour de France 2008Fabian Cancellara

Photos by Luc Claessen

Tour de France 2008Chris Froome

Tour de France 2008Cadel Evans

Tour de France 2008Stefan Schumacher

Tour de France 2008Fabian Cancellara

Tour de France 2008Kim Kirchen

Photos by Graham Watson

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

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