Turbulent Tour of Mediterranean stage ends in confusion
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Turbulent Tour of Mediterranean stage ends in confusion

by Bjorn Haake at 11:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

The fourth stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean has been plagued by weather problems, with Cofidis rider Julien El Farès crossing the provisional finish line in first place after 114 of the 160-kilometer race. Race officials were debating over the validity of this result, with all directeurs sportifs - except for Cofidis' Francis Van Londersele - in favor of a cancellation of the stage.

Eventually, the jury decided to leave the results from the finish line at Saint-Paul-en-Forêt official. "We are in a unique situation: in case of heavy weather, a finish line can be moved," Van Londersele told directvelo.com.

The race was scheduled to run from La Londe Les Maures to Biot over 160km. At kilometer 127, the race would have crossed into the department of Alpe Maritime. However, early Saturday morning officials for the department informed the race organizers that the peloton would not have permission to race in their department, due to increased risks to the peloton, because of the very icy roads.

Race organizers erected a provisional finish line at kilometer 114, which El Farès crossed ahead of Jonathan Thiré (BigMat-Auber 93) and Dominique Cornu (Skil-Shimano). The peloton was about a minute behind, but eventually everyone was given the same time. There were no changes in the overall, with Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux) still leading the overall. The top 12 riders are within 17 seconds.

The race was then stopped for a good ten minutes, with riders putting on warm clothes on a chilly day in southern France. The race was neutralized and the riders continued with a safe speed towards Biot.

Results stage 4 - 114km

1. Julien El Farès (Cofidis)
2. Jonathan Thiré (BigMat-Auber 93)
3. Dominique Cornu (Skil-Shimano)

General classification after stage 4

1 Jussi Veikkanen (La Française Des Jeux) 8h42'11
2 William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) at 0'04
3 Mathieu Drujon (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'06
4 Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana)
5 Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'10
6 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
7 Anthony Ravard (Ag2R La Mondiale)
8 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R La Mondiale)
10 Jean-Marc Marino (Saur-Sojasun) 0'17


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