By Gregor Brown
For the second consecutive year, Caisse d'Epargne's Joaquím Rodríguez emerged victorious atop the 21 percent gradients of the Montelupone in Tirreno-Adriatico, taking the race lead from Julien El Farès (Cofidis) as a result.
The Spaniard crested the 1.75-kilometre wall ahead of Davide Rebellin (Diquigiovanni-Androni) and Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) at the end of the 171km stage and now holds the leader's jersey by six seconds.
The Frenchman, who had held the overall leadsince day one, is now second overall. It was Rodriguez's day however, and said after the finish, "This type of climb was just perfect for me. I felt great today and I knew I had the legs to win. It's great to win, but tomorrow I know it's almost impossible for me to keep the jersey."
Sunday's 30km stage five time trial will most likely spell the end of Rodríguez' reign at the top of the general classification, considering he lost 2:43 in last year's 26km test. "Tomorrow after the time trial it would be a miracle if I was still the leader, so I want to enjoy this important win today!"
Continue to the full report, results and photos from stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico.