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Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner)
Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), winner of the Dauphiné Libéré in 1999, has won the race's important...
Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), winner of the Dauphiné Libéré in 1999, has won the race's important fourth stage between Tournon-sur-Rhône and Le Mont Ventoux. On a day marked by strong northerly Mistral winds, Vinokourov was able to tame the Giant of Provence to beat Jose Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval) and Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto) to the top. The best of the rest was Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel), who yo-yoed off the back of the group containing leader Levi Leipheimer before surging in the final kilometre to finish fourth at 37 seconds. Landis, Kashechkin, and Leipheimer finished behind Armstrong, none conceding more than 10 seconds to the Texan.
"That was superb stuff," said T-Mobile's delighted director Frans van Looy on T-Mobile's website. "We have seen Vino's great ride in the context of his solid time trial yesterday. We were as surprised as anyone that It unfolded the way it did. It was a great day for us all round!"
In the overall classification, Leipheimer still holds a 21 second lead with Armstrong now in second overall at 21 seconds and Vinokourov third at 26 seconds. With one more tough mountain stage to come on Saturday, the race is still very much open.
"Thanks to our excellent teamwork, we were able to defend the yellow jersey today," said Gerolsteiner's director Reimund Dietzen. "[That] was more important than a good stage placing. The super time trial from yesterday was still in Levi's legs. But everyone in front was at their limits. At the end it made sense to stay in the four man group."