Spain?s Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) continued his domination of stage wins in the Castilla y Leon stage on Friday, winning the fourth and final stage of the short Spanish race. Having also won the second and third stages, Ventoso took his total to three wins in four days of racing.
A five-rider break dominated the stage, attacking after five kilometres and being caught just 300 metres from the finish after a strong chase by Saunier Duval. However the Discovery Channal did not lose grip of the race and with Contador taking third on the stage behind Gil and Switzerland?s Michael Albasini (Liquigas), the US team took yet another stage win after also dominating the Tour of California and Paris-Nice.
FORSTER BEATS THE RAIN AT COPPI & BARTALI
Germany?s Robert Forster (Gerolsteiner) beat the cold and rain in Italy to win the fourth stage of the Coppi & Bartali race.
With the peloton facing yet another day of terrible weather conditions, the race judges agreed to cut two of the eight laps of the stage and Forster celebrated with an impressive final sprint. He beat Milam?s Elia Rigotto and Andre Greipel (T-Mobile) of Germany. Young Italian Luca Pierfelici of the small Aurum Hotels team kept the overall race lead and is favourite to secure final victory in Saturday?s final stage.
With the Tour of Flanders just over a week away, attention turns to the cobbled classics in Belgium this weekend with the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen on Saturday and the hillier De Brabantse Pijl race on the Sunday.
British riders will be out in force in Saturday?s race, with Roger Hammond and Mark Cavendish riding for T-Mobile. Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com) has recovered from a crash in Wednesday?s Dwars door Vlaanderen. Steve Cummings also crashed on Wednesday but is expected to recover in time for a busy week of racing in Belgium.
There will be reports and coverage from both races in next week?s Cycling Weekly and here on cyclingweekly.co.uk