By VeloNews Interactive
Italy’s Gilberto Simoni riding for Lampre won a sprint finish in the fourth stage of the Tour of Romandie, a 171.5km run between Saint-Aubin and Nendaz, Switzerland on Saturday. The 29-year-old produced a blistering sprint to beat Spain’s Manuel Beltran into second and Switzerland’s Sven Montgomery into third while Italy’s Dario Frigo of Fassa Bortolo held onto the overall lead.
Simoni’s finishing flourish was testament to his fitness as he builds up to his main objective the Giro d’Italia in which he has finished third the past two years. But Frigo, who finished sixth 14 seconds adrift, on Saturday should win the tour Sunday as he goes into the final stage 43 seconds ahead of Spain’s Felix Garcia Casas, who finished fifth on Saturday.
Frigo praised his team’s effort after the race. “I was trailing Garcia Casas by 50 meters or so and I really wasn’t feeling too good but happily for me Wladimir Belli waited for me and helped me enormously when he could have gone on and won the stage,” said Frigo.
The 29-year-old went on to say his fatigue was due to Friday’s colossal effort in the time trial where he finished second to chief rival David Plaza. Plaza too must have felt the heat in Saturday’s sun as he dropped one minute and 35 seconds on Frigo.
Italy’s Paolo Savoldelli fared even worse dropping from second overall on Friday to end way down the rankings with no chance. Savoldelli’s Saeco teammate Mario Cipollini will hope to ease the team’s pain by winning the final stage between Nendaz and Geneva for the fifth time.
Copyright AFP 2001
TOUR OF ROMANDIE, Switzerland, May 8-13
Stage 4 — Saint-Aubin to Nendaz
1. Gilberto Simoni (I), Lampre, 171.5km in 4:00:05; 2. Manuel Beltran (Sp), same time; 3. Sven Montgomery (Swi), at :03; 4. Wladimir Belli (I), at :11; 5. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), same time; 6. Dario Frigo (I), at :14; 7. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), same time; 8. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), at 1:08; 9. David Moncoutie (F), at 1:11; 10. Kurt Van de Wouwer (B), same time.
1. Dario Frigo (I), 12:50:03; 2. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), at :43; 3. Wladimir Belli (I), at 1:04; 4. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), at 1:40; 5. Gilberto Simoni (I), at 1:47; 6. Sven Montgomery (Swi), at 1:54; 7. David Plaza (Sp), at 2:01; 8. Kurt Van de Wouwer (B), at 2:08; 9. David Moncoutie (F), at 2:36; 10. Oscar Camenzind (Swi), at 2:38.