By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Italy’s Massimo Apollonio, riding for the Vini Caldirola team, won a spectacular sprint finish to take the fourth stage of the Tour of Burgos in Medina de Pomar, Spain, on Thursday.
Spaniard Juan Miguel Mercado of the ibanesto.com team retains the overall leader’s purple jersey after the 184km run between Ona and Medina de Pomar.
Apollonio won a bunch sprint finish on the descent into Medina De Pomar to edge ahead of Argentine Martin Garrido and Spain’s former world champion Oscar Freire in 4:33:55.
The iBanesto.com team blocked most breakaway attempts during the day to conserve Mercado’s 17-second lead over Jose-Luis Rubiera of US Postal, with a third Spaniard Eladio Jimenez (iBanesto.com) another second behind.
In the final kilometers the Mapei and Domo teams, notably led by France’s Richard Virenque (Domo), lined up for the finish, easing the run-in to the line for Apollonio.
Three-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong of the United States remains in overall 71st position, 7:46 behind Mercado, after coming in 42nd position among the leading riders. Armstrong’s American teammate Levi Leipheimer remains in seventh place overall, while another American, Festina’s David Clinger, took ninth on the day’s stage.
Friday’s final stage over 164km between Melgar de Fernamental and Burgos includes a difficult category 2 climb 15km from the finish, which will prove decisive in Mercado’s potential walk towards the podium.
1. Massimo Apollonio (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola, 184km in 4:33:55; 2. Martin Garrido (Arg), Relax-Fuenlabrada; 3. Oscar Freire (Sp), Mapei-Quick Step; 4. Gianpaolo Mondini (I), Mercatone-Uno; 5. Torsten Nitsche (G); 6. Steffen Radochla (G), Festina; 7. Andrei Tchmil (B), Lotto-Adecco; 8. Oscar Cavagnis (I), Saeco; 9. David Clinger (USA), Festina; 10. Wilfried Cretskens (B), all s.t.;
1. Juan Miguel Mercado (Sp), iBanesto.com;
2. José-Luis Rubiera (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, at 0:17;
3. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), iBanesto.com, at 0:18;
4. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blance, at 0:25;
5. Fernando Escartin (Sp), Coast, at 0:50;
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 0:57;
7. Felix Cardenas (Col), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 1:07;
8. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), Festina, at 1:09;
9. Carlos Sastre (Sp), ONCE-Eroski, at 1:22;
10. Gerhard Trampusch (A), Telekom, at 1:29;
26. Richard Virenque (F), Domo-Farm Frites, at 2:56;
27. Justin Spinelli (USA), Saeco, at 2:59;
44. David Clinger (USA), Festina, at 4:53;
47. Roberto Heras (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, at 5:18;
61. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Servcie, at 7:46;
74. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 10:46;
76. Marco Pantani (I), Mercatone Uno, at 10:46;
108. David Zabriskie (USA), U.S. Postal Service, at 17:52.