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Gritty De Bonis claims Romandie’s queen stage

Francesco De Bonis (Gerolsteiner) pulled off a gutsy victory in the mountainous stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie, answering late charges by Manuel Beltran (Liquigas) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to cross the line first in Zinal after having spent most of the day out front. Andreas Klöden (Astana) retained the overall lead by 35 seconds over Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas with Marco Pinotti (Team High Road) third at 0:43.

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Francesco De Bonis (Gerolsteiner) battles to the victory in stage 4 of the 2008 Tour de Romandie.

Francesco De Bonis (Gerolsteiner) battles to the victory in stage 4 of the 2008 Tour de Romandie.

Photo: AFP

Francesco De Bonis (Gerolsteiner) pulled off a gutsy victory in the mountainous stage 4 of the Tour de Romandie, answering late charges by Manuel Beltran (Liquigas) and John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) to cross the line first in Zinal after having spent most of the day out front.

Andreas Klöden (Astana) retained the overall lead by 35 seconds over Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas with Marco Pinotti (Team High Road) third at 0:43.

The 112.4km stage from Sion to Zinal, with four category-1 climbs, was nervous and animated from the outset. Remy di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), leader of the mountains classification after Spaniard Patxi Vila (Lampre-Fondital) did not take the start, was among the riders trying without success to break away in the early going.

An 11-man break separated itself on the descent from Vex

An 11-man break separated itself on the descent from Vex

Photo: Graham Watson

An 11-man break separated itself on the descent from Vex: Volodymir Gustov (CSC), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne), Francesco De Bonis (Gerolsteiner), Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Hubert Schwab (Quick Step), Steve Zampieri (Cofidis), John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Dmitriy Fofonov (Crédit Agricole), Stephan Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Stef Clément (Bougues Telecom).

Astana and Rabobank monitored the bunch for Klöden and second-placed Thomas Dekker as the break reached the summit of the category-1 St. Martin with a 90-second advantage. De Bonis led Zubeldia and Zampieri over the top and the leaders increased their advantage to 1:45 on the descent, extending it to two minutes at 48km.

Rabobank takes charge of the chase

Rabobank takes charge of the chase

Photo: Graham Watson

Behind, Rabobank assumed chasing duties, trimming the deficit to 1:14 with 57km to race.

With the gap coming down to just over a minute, De Bonis leapt away from the break to lead over the cat.-1 Vercorin, trailed by Zampieri, Zubeldia, Clement and Albasini. But once again the lead group reformed, and by the feed zone at 71.4km the gap was back up to more than two minutes.

With 26km to go, Halgand jumped, marked by De Bonis, and the two took a quick gap. Gustov, Schwab and Zubeldia bridged up to make it a five-man lead group as Fofonov and Lopez Garcia fell back to the bunch. Behind, Astana was setting the tempo in the chase.

And then the character of the overall race changed dramatically. As Maxim Iglinsky came to the front to crank up the volume for team leader Klöden, defending champion Dekker cramped and drifted to the back, drawing his right hand across his throat in an obvious “that’s-all, folks” gesture. He would later abandon the race.

Ahead, the front group had split again, with De Bonis and Halgand taking a gap over their erstwhile comrades with 21km to go. The Gerolsteiner man was clearly the stronger of the two and took the pulls. Behind, Iglinsky paced Klöden, dogged by Kreuziger, as attacks began to shred what remained of the peloton.

Up front, Gustov fought his way back to the leading duo, which had a margin of just over a minute. Then, with 19km to race, De Bonis went it alone on the third cat.-1 climb to Vissoie, hunting King of the Mountain points.

Behind him, an six-man chase had coalesced at 25 seconds — Halgand, Zubeldia, Gustov, David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Beltran and Dries Devenyns (Silence-Lotto). Sandy Casar (Française des Jour) managed to bridge to the lead chase group on the descent and went straight to the front with 13km to race.

Gadret takes a gamble on the final climb

Gadret takes a gamble on the final climb

Photo: Graham Watson

The peloton rode steadily, with Iglinsky on the front and Klöden right behind him, marked by Denis Menchov (Rabobank) and Kreuziger.

With 12km to go, De Bonis was glancing over his shoulder, trying to gauge the state of the race. Beltran had left the chase and begun a lone pursuit. Meanwhile, Ag2r’s Gadret had a dig, leaping up to Halgand, Zubeldia, Moncoutié and Casar.

And then Klöden took things into his own hands, cranking up the pressure.

With 10km to race to the finish in Zinal, De Bonis had just a handful of seconds over Beltran, who in turn was being pursed by Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) and Gadret.

One kilometer from the KOM De Bonis held 28 seconds over Garate, Gadret and Beltran. All the players could see one another as the road wound back and forth across the mountain. Klöden was motoring at the front of the greatly reduced bunch with Kreuzinger on his wheel.

The KOM secured and his lead down to 12 seconds, De Bonis enjoyed a brief descent, then began the final 8km ascent to Zinal.

Di Bonis grabs the win ahead of a dejected Gadret

Di Bonis grabs the win ahead of a dejected Gadret

Photo: Graham Watson

The Liquigas riders began throwing attacks at Klöden, but they had waited a little too long — the race leader covered the jumps until Beltran finally snapped the leash and charged after De Bonis. At 5km to go fifth-placed Pinotti had a go, too, but was pulled back as Klöden maintained a steady, relentless tempo.

Ahead, Beltran finally caught De Bonis with 3km remaining. The Liquigas man led the way under the kite marking 1km to go, looking to be much the stronger of the two.

Not so. Five hundred meters from the line, Gadret shot out of the rapidly closing chase and overhauled the two leaders, jumping away from them with 300 meters to the line. Incredibly, the apparently spent De Bonis chased him down, shot past him — and won the stage!

“The breakaway went too early. When I found myself alone I began to feel tired.,” said De Bonis. “I was scared when I saw Gadret coming back at me 100 meters from the line. It was only 50 meters out that I thought I’d done it.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Tour de Romandie: stage 4

1. Francesco De Bonis (I), Gerolsteiner, 3:28:06

2. John Gadret (F), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 0:03

3. Manuel Beltan Martinez (Sp), Liquigas, at 0:05

4. Sandy Casar (F), Française des Jeux, at 0:07

5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas, at 0:07

6. Andreas Klöden (G), Astana, at 0:07

7. Manuel Garate Juan (Sp), Quick Step, at 0:07

8. Marco Pinotti (I), High Road, at 0:07

9. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, at 0:07

10. Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:07

11. Rigoberto Uran (Col), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:16

12. Morris Possoni (I), High Road, at 0:16

13. Sylwester Szmyd (Pol), Lampre-Fondital, at 0:28

14. Eros Capecchi (I), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 0:28

15. José Angel Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 0:28

16. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:28

17. David Moncoutié (F), Cofidis, at 0:28

18. Bauke Mollema (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:59

19. Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz), Astana, at, at 1:04

20. Alexandre Moos (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at, at 1:27

21. Bernhard Kohl (A), Gerolsteiner, at, at 1:53

22. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at, at 1:57

23. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at, at 1:57

24. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at, at 1:57

25. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at, at 1:57

26. Patrice Halgand (F), Crédit Agricole, at, at 1:57

27. Alexandre Botscharov (Rus), Crédit Agricole, at, at 1:57

28. Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Team Milram, at, at 2:04

29. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin), Française des Jeux, at, at 2:05

30. Dries Devenyns (B), Silence-Lotto, at, at 2:10

31. Anker Sörensen Chris (Den), CSC, at, at 2:10

32. Oliver Zaugg (Swi), Gerolsteiner, at, at 2:10

33. Hubert Schwab (Swi), Quick Step, at, at 2:26

34. Rein Taaramae (Est), Cofidis, at 4:28

35. Amets Txurruka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 5:09

36. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 5:47

37. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Astana, at 5:47

38. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), CSC, at 5:47

39. Stef Clément (Ned), Bouygues Telecom, at 6:55

40. Michael Albasini (Swi), Liquigas, at 7:03

41. Francis Mourey (F), Française des Jeux, at 7:05

42. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 7:27

43. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 7:27

44. Wim Vanhuffel (B), Silence-Lotto, at 7:27

45. Inaki Isasi Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 7:27

46. Gustav Larsson (Swe), CSC, at 7:27

47. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Crédit Agricole, at 7:27

48. José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Sp), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 7:27

49. Jérémy Roy (F), Française des Jeux, at 7:35

50. Xabier Zandio Echaide (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 8:12

51. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Cofidis, at 8:16

52. Adam Hansen (Aus), High Road, at 10:02

53. Jérome Coppel (F), Française des Jeux, at 10:07

54. Jeffry Louder (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 10:16

55. Mathieu Perget (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 10:16

56. Ruben Lobato Elvira (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 10:16

57. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 10:27

58. Kevin Seeldrayers (B), Quick Step, at 10:34

59. Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Quick Step, at 10:34

60. Mario Aerts (B), Silence-Lotto, at 10:34

61. Addy Engels (Ned), Quick Step, at 10:34

62. Alberto Fernandez Ramos (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 10:34

63. Markus Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 12:06

64. Evgeny Sokolov (Rus), Bouygues Telecom, at 13:57

65. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Crédit Agricole, at 16:37

66. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz), Astana, at 16:37

67. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), CSC, at 16:37

68. Rene Mandri (Est), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 16:37

69. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 16:37

70. Rubén Pérez Moreno (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 16:37

71. David Lopez Garcia (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 16:37

72. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 16:37

73. Matti Breschel (Den), CSC, at 16:37

74. Julien El Fares (F), Cofidis, at 16:37

75. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 16:37

76. Maryan Hary (F), Cofidis, at 16:37

77. Tony Martin (G), High Road, at 16:37

78. Christophe Kern (F), Crédit Agricole, at 16:37

79. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned), Rabobank, at 16:37

80. Dominique Cornu (B), Silence-Lotto, at 16:37

81. Peter Velits (Svk), Team Milram, at 20:32

82. Björn Schröder (G), Team Milram, at 20:32

83. Rémy Di Gregorio (F), Française des Jeux, at 20:32

84. Ian Mckissick (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 20:32

85. Matteo Bono (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 20:32

86. Thomas Frei (Swi), Astana, at 20:32

87. Martin Kohler (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 20:32

88. Steve Bovay (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 20:32

89. David Loosli (Swi), Lampre-Fondital, at 20:32

90. Daniele Righi (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 20:32

91. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Astana, at 20:32

92. Yannick Talabardon (F), Crédit Agricole, at 20:32

93. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 20:32

94. Matej Mugerli (Slo), Liquigas, at 20:49

95. Bram De Groot (Ned), Rabobank, at 21:44

96. Bradley Wiggins (GB), High Road, at 23:20

97. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu), Crédit Agricole, at 27:16

98. Eric Berthou (Hun), Crédit Agricole, at 27:16

Overall

1. Andreas Klöden (G), Astana, 12:59:41

2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze), Liquigas, at 0:35

3. Marco Pinotti (I), High Road, at 0:43

4. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, at 0:45

5. Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:54

6. Sandy Casar (F), Française des Jeux, at, at 1:05

7. Manuel Garate Juan (Sp), Quick Step, at, at 1:08

8. John Gadret (F), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at, at 1:14

9. Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz), Astana, at, at 1:52

10. José Angel Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at, at 1:52

11. Sylwester Szmyd (Pol), Lampre-Fondital, at, at 1:58

12. Haimar Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at, at 2:00

13. Francesco De Bonis (I), Gerolsteiner, at, at 2:05

14. Manuel Beltan Martinez (Sp), Liquigas, at, at 2:10

15. Morris Possoni (I), High Road, at, at 2:12

16. Eros Capecchi (I), Saunier Duval-Scott, at, at 2:30

17. Oscar Pereiro Sio (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at, at 2:36

18. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at, at 2:45

19. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at, at 2:45

20. Rigoberto Uran (Col), Caisse d’Epargne, at, at 3:02

21. Bauke Mollema (Ned), Rabobank, at, at 3:04

22. Bernhard Kohl (A), Gerolsteiner, at, at 3:14

23. David Moncoutié (F), Cofidis, at, at 3:23

24. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin), Française des Jeux, at, at 3:23

25. Alexandre Botscharov (Rus), Crédit Agricole, at 4:00

26. Alexandre Moos (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 4:13

27. Oliver Zaugg (Swi), Gerolsteiner, at 4:15

28. Hubert Schwab (Swi), Quick Step, at 5:02

29. Rein Taaramae (Est), Cofidis, at 5:05

30. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 5:09

31. Anker Sörensen Chris (Den), CSC, at 5:17

32. Patrice Halgand (F), Crédit Agricole, at 5:54

33. Vladimir Gusev (Rus), Astana, at 6:18

34. Rubens Bertogliati (Swi), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 6:43

35. Michael Albasini (Swi), Liquigas, at 8:01

36. Stef Clément (Ned), Bouygues Telecom, at 8:22

37. Volodymir Gustov (Ukr), CSC, at 8:59

38. Gustav Larsson (Swe), CSC, at 9:01

39. Wim Vanhuffel (B), Silence-Lotto, at 10:11

40. Francis Mourey (F), Française des Jeux, at 10:20

41. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 11:07

42. Xabier Zandio Echaide (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 11:32

43. Alexander Efimkin (Rus), Quick Step, at 11:44

44. Amets Txurruka (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 11:49

45. Jérome Coppel (F), Française des Jeux, at 12:14

46. Mario Aerts (B), Silence-Lotto, at 12:46

47. Ruben Lobato Elvira (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 13:23

48. Kevin Seeldrayers (B), Quick Step, at 13:40

49. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Cofidis, at 14:18

50. Markus Fothen (G), Gerolsteiner, at 14:51

51. Dries Devenyns (B), Silence-Lotto, at 16:23

52. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Crédit Agricole, at 16:31

53. Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Team Milram, at 17:03

54. Inaki Isasi Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 18:37

55. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Crédit Agricole, at 19:53

56. Jeffry Louder (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 19:56

57. Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz), Astana, at 19:57

58. Rubén Pérez Moreno (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 20:26

59. Josep Jufre Pou (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 20:29

60. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned), Rabobank, at 20:38

61. Rene Mandri (Est), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 20:51

62. Addy Engels (Ned), Quick Step, at 21:33

63. Jérémy Roy (F), Française des Jeux, at 22:45

64. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 22:53

65. Thomas Frei (Swi), Astana, at 22:55

66. Adam Hansen (Aus), High Road, at 23:19

67. Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), Astana, at 23:44

68. Peter Velits (Svk), Team Milram, at 23:47

69. Daniele Righi (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 23:58

70. Björn Schröder (G), Team Milram, at 23:59

71. Rémy Di Gregorio (F), Française des Jeux, at 24:28

72. Evgeny Sokolov (Rus), Bouygues Telecom, at 24:31

73. Alberto Fernandez Ramos (Sp), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 25:02

74. Mathieu Perget (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 25:22

75. Christophe Kern (F), Crédit Agricole, at 26:13

76. Julien El Fares (F), Cofidis, at 27:10

77. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), CSC, at 27:28

78. Matti Breschel (Den), CSC, at 27:47

79. José Luis Arrieta Lujambio (Sp), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 28:12

80. Martin Kohler (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 30:49

81. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r-La Mondiale, at 30:57

82. David Loosli (Swi), Lampre-Fondital, at 30:57

83. Steve Bovay (Swi), BMC Racing Team, at 31:35

84. Matteo Bono (I), Lampre-Fondital, at 32:00

85. Yannick Talabardon (F), Crédit Agricole, at 32:00

86. David Lopez Garcia (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 33:17

87. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval-Scott, at 35:10

88. Nicolas Crosbie (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 35:53

89. Julien Mazet (F), Astana, at 36:46

90. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu), Crédit Agricole, at 37:15

91. Eric Berthou (Hun), Crédit Agricole, at 37:56

92. Ian Mckissick (USA), BMC Racing Team, at 39:42

93. Tony Martin (G), High Road, at 40:53

94. Dominique Cornu (B), Silence-Lotto, at 41:16

95. Maryan Hary (F), Cofidis, at 43:56

96. Bradley Wiggins (GB), High Road, at 46:30

97. Bram De Groot (Ned), Rabobank, at 47:28

98. Matej Mugerli (Slo), Liquigas, at 47:46

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