Francesco Chicchi made the most of another messy bunch sprint to take stage four of the Tour of Qatar.
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The Italian sprinter, despite not having a lead-out train, capitalised on the chaotic finale to emerge from the wheels of a two-man Omega Lotto train to snatch the win at the end of the 146km stage from The Pearl to Al Khor Corniche.
The crosswinds, which were expected to wreak havoc on today’s stage never materialised, meaning another big bunch gallop into Al Khor.
No one team was able to take control of the front of the race, despite attempts from Garmin, Saxo Bank, Milram and Cervélo to do so.
Chicchi is increasingly asserting himself at Liquigas, emerging from the shadow of his more established team-mate, Daniele Bennati. The unpredictability played into the hands of the Italian who used the Dutchman Theo Bos’ wheel to launch himself at the line.
Cervélo’s Heinrich Haussler was edged into second for the second time in succession, still trying to make amends for the team’s one-minute penalty in the opening team time trial.
Vaconsoleil’s Wouter Mol finished safely in the pack to retain the leader’s jersey, whilst Taylor Phinney produced another impressive result to finish seventh for the second consecutive day in Qatar.
Chicci dedicated his win to Franco Ballerini, the Italian national team director and former Paris-Roubaix winner who died on Sunday as a result of injuries sustained in a rally car crash.
Tour of Qatar, stage four: 146km, The Pearl-Al Khor Corniche
1. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas
2. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo
3. Juan José Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo
5. Kenny de Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
6. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram
7. Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2r
8. Taylor Phinney (USA) Trek-Livestrong
9. Daniele Napolitano (Ita) Katusha
10. Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank
General Classification after stage four
1. Wouter Mol (Ned) Vaconsoleil
2. Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at 0-09
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 1-55
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram at 1-59
5. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC at 2-05
6. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha at 2-15
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 2-17
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo at 2-37
9. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas at 2-38
10. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank at 2-40
Wouter Mol safely retained his race lead
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