Kreuziger takes hold in Romandie
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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Kreuziger takes hold in Romandie

by Steve Jones at 3:56 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie
 

Czech rider Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) has set himself up for victory in the Tour de Romandie after winning the 157.5km fourth stage that took place between Estavayer-le-Lac and Sainte Croix.

The Liquigas team rode strong all day for their leader putting in a performance that is sure to please teammate Ivan Basso. Basso will need their strength as he tries to win the 100th Giro d'Italia after returning from a two-year doping ban.

With 15km to go Kreuziger took control of the race with an attack on the last of four climbs. He was soon joined by Estonian Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) and Russian Vladimir Karpets (Katusha).

Race favorite Alejandro Valverde was left with only one teammate to try neutralize the attack and pull the Czech rider back into the fold, but it wasn't enough. Tactics played a role as Australian Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) offered no help and left all of the responsibility to the Spaniard.

On the final descent Taaramae was dropped by his breakaway companions and forced to use a lot of energy to make contact again on the run in to the finish. Kreuziger, the runner-up in last years race, seemed determined to power his way to the top step of the podium this time around. Once the trio regrouped, the Czech forced a gap with 2km to go holding in all the way to the finish. Taaramae worked hard behind to once again close the gap and nearly made the junction. But it seems poor descending may have cost the Estonian a stage win.

Kreuziger now leads the general classification by 18 seconds over Vladimir Karpets, and Rein Taaramae sits in third place at 25 seconds. Valverde is 46 seconds back, and with only one hard climb left, he will be lucky if he can make it to the podium.

The surprise of the day was the withdrawal of Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara. He has been dogged with bad luck this year, and will look to the Giro prologue in Venice next week to get his season back on track.

Sunday's final stage is 150.5km, and will see the peloton travel between Aubonne and Geneva. There is one first category climb, the Marchairuz pass, which is followed by a long descent towards Lake Léman.

1. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/LIQ) 4h11min 44sec
2. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) at 0:00
3. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 0:07
4. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE/FUJ) 0:17
5. Mikel Astarloza (ESP/EUS) 0:45
6. Remy Di Gregorio (FRA/FDJ) 0:51
7. Dario Cataldo (ITA/QST) 0:51
8. Mathias Frank (SUI/BMC) 0:51
9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/GCE) 0:51
10. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 0:51
11. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) 0:51
12. Rigoberto Uran (COL/GCE) 0:51
13. Sylvester Szmyd (POL/LIQ) 1:17
14. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/SIL) 1:20
15. Tony Martin (GER/THR) 1:24
16. Marcel Wyss (SUI/CTT) 1:24
17. Lars Bak (DEN/SAX) 1:24
18. Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ/AST) 1:24
19. Marco Marzano (ITA/LAM) 1:24
20. Guillaume Bonnafond (FRA/ALM) 1:24

General classification
1. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/LIQ) 10h50:25
2. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 0:18
3. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 0:25
4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/GCE) 0:46
5. Uran Rigoberto (COL/GCE) 0:48
6. Lars Bak (DEN/SAX) 1:01
7. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 1:07
8. Tony Martin (GER/THR) 1:08
9. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE/FUJ) 1:16
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR/THR) 1:21

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