Stage 4: McEwen takes another sprint stage

McEwen scores his second stage victory.  Credit: Friedemann Vogel/Bongarts/Getty Images
Saint Quentin, France - Australian sprint star Robbie McEwen won Wednesday's fourth stage of the 2006 Tour de France, his second stage win of this year's Tour.

The 34-year-old rider for the Davitamon-Lotto team covered the 207 kilometres from the Belgian city of Huy to Saint Quentin in northern France in 4 hours 59 minutes 50 seconds, an average speed of 41.42 kph.

McEwen surged out of the pack during a mass sprint with about 200 metres to go and easily beat Spaniards Isaac Galvez and Oscar Freire to the finish line. Bryn Lennon/Getty Images The peloton makes its way through the French countryside during stage 4. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images).

Belgian Tom Boonen, who finished fifth Wednesday, retained the race leader's yellow jersey, leading Australian Michael Rogers by 1 second and with American George Hincapie 5 seconds adrift.

In winning the tenth Tour de France stage of his career, McEwen moved to sixth place in the overall standings, 12 seconds behind Boonen, and took a big step toward defending the sprinter's championship he won in the 2005 Tour.

"It was an advantage for me that the stage ended with a slight climb," McEwen said. "But with 100 metres to go, I thought I would die from the effort."

He praised his teammates for helping him get the win, particularly Belgian Gert Steegmans, who he said rode "like a locomotive, like a (high-speed) TGV train."

McEwen also won Monday's second stage in a mass sprint to the finish, edging out Boonen with a last-second surge.

Wednesday's stage was marked by a long breakaway by five riders at the 20 kilometre mark. However, the group was never able to open up a lead of more than 6 minutes over the pack.

The last of the breakaway riders were hauled in 2 kilometres from the finish, setting up the mass sprint.

Thursday's fifth stage travels 225 kilometres from Beauvais to Caen, in Normandie. The Tour de France ends July 23 in Paris.

Stage 4 Combined Results:

1. Robbie McEwen, Australia, Davitamon-Lotto, 4 hours, 59 minutes, 50 seconds.
2. Isaac Galvez, Spain, Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears, same time.
3. Oscar Freire, Spain, Rabobank, same time.
4. Thor Hushovd, Norway, Credit Agricole, same time.
5. Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step-Innergetic, same time.
6. David Kopp, Germany, Gerolsteiner, same time.
7. Daniele Bennati, Italy, Lampre-Fondital, same time.
8. Francisco Ventoso, Spain, Saunier Duval-Prodir, same time.
9. Michael Albasini, Switzerland, Liquigas, same time.
10. Bernhard Eisel, Austria, Francaise des Jeux, same time.
11. Jimmy Casper, France, Cofidis, same time.
12. Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, same time.
13. Anthony Geslin, France, Bouygues Telecom, same time.
14. George Hincapie, United States, Discovery Channel, same time.
15. Laurent Brochard, France, Bouygues Telecom, same time.
16. Arnaud Coyot, France, Cofidis, same time.
17. Stefano Garzelli, Italy, Liquigas, same time.
18. Yaroslav Popovych, Ukraine, Discovery Channel, same time.
19. Andreas Kloden, Germany, T-Mobile, same time.
20. Gert Steegmans, Belgium, Davitamon-Lotto, same time.

Also

23. Floyd Landis, United States, Phonak, same time.
26. Jose Luis Rubiera, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time.
36. Christopher Horner, United States, Davitamon-Lotto, same time.
40. Bobby Julich, United States, Team CSC, same time.
41. Pavel Padrnos, Czech Republic, Discovery Channel, same time.
55. Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time.
56. Levi Leipheimer, United States, Gerolsteiner, same time.
57. Viatceslav Ekimov, Russia, Discovery Channel, same time.
58. Benjamin Noval Gonzalez, Spain, Discovery Channel, same time.
61. Paolo Savoldelli, Italy, Discovery Channel, same time.
76. Jose Azevedo, Portugal, Discovery Channel, same time.
91. Christian Vandevelde, United States, Team CSC, same time.
121. David Zabriskie, United States, Team CSC, same time.

Overall Standings

1. Tom Boonen, Belgium, Quick Step-Innergetic, 19:52:13.
2. Michael Rogers, Australia, T-Mobile, 1 second behind.
3. George Hincapie, United States, Discovery Channel, :05.
4. Thor Hushovd, Norway, Credit Agricole, :07.
5. Egoi Martinez, Spain, Discovery Channel, :10.
6. Robbie McEwen, Australia, Davitamon-Lotto, :12.
7. Paolo Savoldelli, Italy, Discovery Channel, :15.
8. Daniele Bennati, Italy, Lampre-Fondital, same time.
9. Floyd Landis, United States, Phonak, :16.
10. Vladimir Karpets, Russia, Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears, :17.
11. Serhiy Honchar, Ukraine, T-Mobile, same time.
12. Matthias Kessler, Germany, T-Mobile, same time.
13. Cadel Evans, Australia, Davitamon-Lotto, :20.
14. Christophe Moreau, France, AG2R Prevoyance, same time.
15. David Millar, Britain, Saunier Duval-Prodir, :21.
16. Patrik Sinkewitz, Germany, T-Mobile, :23.
17. David Zabriskie, United States, Team CSC, same time.
18. Andreas Kloden, Germany, T-Mobile, :24.
19. Marcus Fothen, Germany, Gerolsteiner, :25.
20. Oscar Freire, Spain, Rabobank, same time.

Also

22. Bobby Julich, United States, Team CSC, same time.
24. Yaroslav Popovych, Ukraine, Discovery Channel, :27.
25. Christian Vandevelde, United States, Team CSC, :28.
27. Levi Leipheimer, United States, Gerolsteiner, same time.
30. Jose Azevedo, Portugal, Discovery Channel, :31.
50. Jose Luis Rubiera, Spain, Discovery Channel, :45.
59. Benjamin Noval Gonzalez, Spain, Discovery Channel, :49.
72. Pavel Padrnos, Czech Republic, Discovery Channel, :57.
129. Viatceslav Ekimov, Russia, Discovery Channel, 4:55.
143. Christopher Horner, United States, Davitamon-Lotto, 8:22.

Discuss This Article