Rabobank’s Erik Dekker won Sunday’s fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race to take the overall lead in the “Race of Two Seas.”
Dekker won the individual time trial, pushing Moldova’s Ruslan Ivanov and American Floyd Landis (U.S. Postal)into second and third place respectively and taking the overall lead from Italian rider Danilo Di Luca.
Dekker had finished a close second to Di Luca in Saturday’s mountain stage, considered the most onerous in the race that started Thursday on the Tyrrhenian coast near Naples and will finish next Wednesday at the usual place of San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic.
And the 31-year-old Dutchman showed his versatility by pulling off this time trial over a 12.7km course around the citadel town in the centre of Italy.
He finished only 0.12sec ahead of Ivanov and three ahead of Landis who – in the absence of team-mate Lance Armstrong – showed that the U.S. Postal Service team is a force to be reckoned with when racing against the clock.
Ivanov, who earlier this month won the Lugano Grand Prix in Switzerland, is now Dekker’s closest challenger for individual honours with 12 seconds separating him from the Dutchman.
Sunday’s stage had been somewhat overshadowed by the dawn raids by anti-doping police on six riders who will be hoping for a better night’s sleep Sunday ahead of Monday’s 150km jaunt to Torricella Sicura.
Results of fourth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, a 12.7km time trial around Rieti:
1. Erik Dekker (Ned) 15:19.68 (average speed 49.713kph);
2. Ruslan Ivanov (Mol) at 0:00.12;
3. Floyd Landis (USA) at 0:03;
4. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) at 0:05;
5. Ludo Dierckxens (Bel) at 0:10;
6. Guido Trentin (Ita) at 0:13;
7. Steffen Wesemann (Ger) s.t.;
8. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) at 0:15;
9. Jorg Jaksche (Ger) at 0:17;
10. Jan Hruska (Cze) at 0:19
Overall standings (after four stages and 537.4km)
1. Erik Dekker (Ned) in 14hrs 29min 14sec (average speed 36.919 kph);
2. Ruslan Ivanov (Mol) at 0:11;
3. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) at 0:23;
4. Guido Trentin (Ita) at 0:24;
5. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) at 0:27;
6. Jorg Jaksche (Ger) at 0:28;
7. Paolo Bettini (Ita) s.t.;
8. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) at 0:29;
9. Jan Hruska (Cze) at 0:30;
10. Sasa Gajicic (Yug) at 0:35.