Posted by Editor on 07/7/99
Tour de France, Stage 4
Stage 4 - Laval to Blois 194.5 km
After the first intermediate sprint of the day (60 kilometre mark), 10 riders broke away. 32 kilometres later 8 of the 10 had been caught by the peleton, but the other two -Gianpaolo Mondini (Cantina Tollo) and Anthony Morin (La Francase des Jeux) - stayed clear. Becaue they had been caught behind the crash in stage 2, both are well back on GC, and thus allowed to extend their lead. However, the gap grew very significantly - to 6:20 at one point. The pack began to reel them in, but with 15 kilometres to go the gap was still 2 minutes. Unfortunately for Morin and Mondini, the sprinters' teams kept the pace high in the chase, and the breakaway duo were caught after 99 kilometres away on their own (3.5 kilometres left in the race). Spectators were treated to a full out sprint, with Mario Cipollini (Saeco-Cannondale) and Erik Zabel (Deutsche Telekom) at the front of the group. Cipollini won his first stage of this year's Tour, with Zabel second and Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole) third. Tom Steels (Mapei Quick Step) was fourth and race leader Jan Kirsipuu (Casino) fifth. Today's stage set a new Tour record for the fastest average stage speed - 50.36 kph for the entire stage.
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