By VeloNews Interactive
Saeco’s Danilo Di Luca finally broke the three-stage winning streak of Alessandro Petacchi at Spain’s Tour of Valencia, Friday, winning the fourth stage, a tough 148km ride from Tavernes to the mountain-top finish at Sommet De Campello. Spain’s Antonio Colom (Colchon-Relax) moved into the overall lead.
Di Luca again showed the good form that recently gave him a victory at the Trofeo Laigueglia, winning what is surely the toughest stage at this year’s Tour of Valencia.
the hardest stage of the Vuelta Valenciana from Tavernes to Alto del Campello on Friday.
The Saeco attacked with 40km to go and was alone on the as he crested the Alto del Campello for the first time of the day. Di Luca was reeled in by a group of 20 riders on the on the descent.
Five kilometers from the finish, Fassa Bortolo’s Ivan Basso attacked on the final climb, but was quickly joined by Di Luca, who then tried his own attack.
“It was a hard,” Di Luca said, “Basso was really strong. When he attacked I was a bit blocked and couldn’t chase him straight away. When I could I went across to him. I tried to drop him twice. He hung onto my wheel the first time and only lost ten meters the second time which wasn’t enough for me to stay off.”
With just one kilometer to go, Team Coast’s Alec Zülle managed to bridge up and join the two leaders. Di Luca said he wasn’t too concerned about the Swiss climber in the final meters. “I knew (Zülle) was thinking about the overall classification after tomorrow’s time trial and that he just wanted to gain time on the other riders,” Di Luca said. “So I got on Basso’s wheel and waited for the sprint. Ivan went first but I managed to get past him in the last few meters.”
Though he edged-out Basso for the win, Di Luca missed taking the overall lead. Colom -the recent winner of the Ruta del Sol – holds the leader’s jersey by a scant one second.
The Tour of Valencia ends tomorrow with a 23.5km individual time trial in the city of Valencia.