The only surprise in today’s stage 4 was that Alessandro Petacchi took a decisive stage win out sprinting the likes of Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd. At 36 years of age, Ale-Jet appears to have found the fountain of youth.
With about 200 meters to go, Cavendish was being lead out by Mark Renshaw. As Renshaw pulled off to let Cavendish take it to the line, Alessandro Petacchi had launched his attack down the left side. Once Cavendish was gapped by two bike lengths and saw that he could not close the gap he sat up finishing in a disappointing 12th place.
Thor Hushovd still leads the points competition with Petacchi in second followed by another elder statesmen Robbie McEwen. Obviously HTC is feeling the effects of last year’s defections by George Hincapie and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Couple that with Cavendish’s feud with teammate Andre Greipel who did not make the Tour roster and things are clearly not okay at Columbia HTC.
The General Classification remains unchanged with Cancellara in yellow as all the favorites hid in the peloton and nursed their wounds from the previous two days of battle. Team Radio Shack was taking no more chances with Lance’s hopes as they sat on the front most of the day.
Tomorrow’s stage 5 appears to be another tailor-made day for the sprinters, let’s hope that the riders continue to avoid the carnage that plagued stages 2 & 3.
For more great Tour analysis, visit my good friend Tim Liew @ The Armchair Sportsfan.