Francesco Chicchi saved Liquigas' day as he stormed past Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) to win Tour of California stage four in Modesto. This was billed as a stage for the sprinters and the fastmen didn't disappoint. All the GC favorites finished in the front group; Garmin-Transitions rider Dave Zabriskie keeps the gold leader's jersey.
Chicchi's triumph raised his team's spirits, not only because of his victory in the Amgen Tour of California, but also because of the drama which unfolded in Italy at the Giro d'Italia ten hours earlier. Team Liquigas is shouldering much of the blame for a day not seen in the Giro in many, many years when a large group of riders were allowed to gain over twelve minutes on the peloton.
While a game of chicken was being played out between Astana and Liquigas in Italy, the small breakaway composed of mostly domestic pro teams was not given the same freedom on the roads of California. In fact, while the break was dangling off the front, a crafty move by Team RadioShack almost split the race wide open.
Reminiscent of the crosswind chaos at last year's Tour de France stage three to La Grand Motte, Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer put the hammer down when the peloton turned into a crosswind. Both Mick Rogers (HTC-Columbia) and Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) were caught out and ended up in the second echelon. However, there was no hesitation from either HTC-Columbia or Garmin-Transitions and the peloton reformed quickly.
In the end there was no harm done, but the move demonstrates just how important a win in this race is RadioShack and their new sponsor. Johan Bruyneel later confirmed that the Amgen Tour of California is second only to the Tour de France in the team's priorities for 2010.
Tour of California 2010, stage four: San Jose - Modesto 195.5km
1. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo in 4-55-02
2. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Columbia
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervelo
5. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Fly V Australia at same time.
Overall classification after stage four
1. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Transitions
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia at 4secs
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack at 6secs
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo at 21secs
5. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare at 24secs
Stage three: Zabriskie continues Garmin's winning streak with stage win
VIDEO: Tour of California 2010, stage three
Stagetwo: Lancaster takes rainy stage
VIDEO:Tour of California 2010, stage two
VIDEO:Tour of California 2010, stage one
Stageone: Cavendish gets off to winning start in California
Tourof California 2010: The Big Preview
Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Bikes of the Atlas Mountain Race 2023: from comfort gravellers to speed weapons, here’s what caught our eye
Covering 1,300km / 800mi of Morocco’s gravel roads and mountain passes, the Atlas Mountain Race demands a tech-heavy approach for its 3+ days of bikepacking racing
By Stefan Abram • Published
British champion Cameron Mason hoping for rain at Cyclo-cross World Championships
British national champion says patience will be the key in what’s expected to be a fast race in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands
By Tom Thewlis • Published