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Tirreno - Adriatico 2013: Stage 4


Live coverage of stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico, 173km from Narni to Prati di Tivo.

50km remaining from 173km

The four escapees covered over 37km in the first hour of racing, where Failli led them over the summit of the Forca di Arrone with a lead of 5:55 over the bunch.

Shortly afterwards, the quartet registered their maximum lead of 6:43 and since then, their advantage has fluctuated between 5 and 6 minutes over the peloton. Incidentally, Anthony Roux took the intermediate sprint after the long climb up to Rocca di Corno (90.5km).

The tempo is gradually beginning to hot up in the main peloton on the climb of the Capannelle, and news reaching us that overnight leader Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has been dropped.

After bunch finishes on the opening two road stages, the general classification is still largely coloured by Wednesday's opening team time trial, but the situation should receive a major shake-up this afternoon. This was the state of play as proceedings began today:

Of the pre-race favourites, Cadel Evans (BMC) lies 17th at 25 seconds, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is 29 seconds down, Chris Froome (Sky) is 34 seconds back, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) is at 38 seconds while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has 53 seconds to make up.

Vincenzo Nibali's overall victory of a year ago was built largely around his stage victory at Prati di Tivo, but the Sicilian insists that he is not in quite the same form this time around, given that he is building steadily towards the Giro d'Italia. You can read what Nibali, Rodriguez and Moreno Moser (Cannondale) make of today's stage here.

41km remaining from 173km

After the rain that marked the opening three days of Tirreno-Adriatico, there were concerns that today's stage would also be affected by the weather. But while the snow is banked on the roadside at Prati di Tivo, the sun is out, as it was last year for Nibali's win.

However, there was a mild earthquake last night in the Gran Sasso area, near today's finish at Prati di Tivo. La Repubblica reports that there were two tremors between 4 and 5am, measuring 3.4 and 2.1 on the Richter scale, but fortunately the shakes did not cause any damage.

The four leaders are hurtling down the descent of the Capannelle, but BMC are leading the pursuit in the main peloton behind.

It's a long, long descent from the summit of the Capannelle - over 26km - and immediately afterwards, the road climbs straight back up towards the finish at Prati di Tivo.

19km remaining from 173km

We're only a couple of kilometres away from the foot of Prati di Tivo, a testing climb of some 14.5km, with an average gradient of 7% and stretches of 12%.

After four hours of racing, the leaders have averaged in excess of 39kph but one senses that their advantage is dropping steadily as they approach the foot of the final climb.

14km remaining from 173km

Roux sets the pace in the break on the climb and Francesco Failli is duly dropped.

Meanwhile, Andy Schleck was dangling off the back of the main peloton, but it's unclear whether he was dropped on the climb of the Capannelle or on the way down.

Michael Schar (BMC) is the man setting the tempo at the head of the main peloton and his pace-setting is already causing difficulties for a number of riders behind. The remaining sprinters are all quickly jettisoned off the back, as is Filippo Pozzato, who is bringing Damiano Cunego's race cape back to the team car while he's at it.

Peter Sagan is dropped but he has a smile and a wave for the RAI cameras as the moto comes past him.

12km remaining from 173km

Dario Cataldo (Sky) is now setting the pace on the front of the peloton for his leader Chris Froome.

10km remaining from 173km

Cataldo's steady pace-setting is chipping away at Marczynski's advantage and the main peloton is strong out in one long line, and reduced to around 40 riders. It's deja vu all over again from the men in black.

9km remaining from 173km

8km remaining from 173km

8km remaining from 173km

Giovanni Visconti, Moreno Moser and Eros Capecchi are all dropped off the back, while Marczynski is swept up by Team Sky's chasing.

7km remaining from 173km

Like them or not, the US Postal comparisons are going to follow Sky again this year. Four Sky riders are drilling on the front and they have fractured the leading group. Cadel Evans and Joaquim Rodriguez are in the second part of the group that is beginning to lose contact.

7km remaining from 173km

Just ten riders in the Sky-led group, including Nibali, Froome, Contador and Michal Kwiatkowski.

6km remaining from 173km

There was a bonus sprint with 5.9km to go, and it seems that Contador picked up the three seconds on offer there. We're awaiting confirmation. In the meantime, Henao is now setting the pace for Team Sky at the front of this reduced leading group. Evans, Rodriguez and Domenico Pozzovivo are around 10 seconds back for now.

5km remaining from 173km

Dani Moreno is leading the chase in the Evans-Rodriguez group, and they remain in sight of the leaders.

4km remaining from 173km

4km remaining from 173km

3km remaining from 173km

Dani Moreno, who has now pulled over, did a magnificent job for Rodriguez and the Catalan has latched back onto the back of the leading group. Rodriguez sits on the Wout Poels' wheel at the rear of the leading group, which contains some 11 riders.

2km remaining from 173km

Henao watched Contador go but he hasn't lifted the pace dramatically. He seems happy to keep the Spaniard tagged at 20 metres for now.

2km remaining from 173km

1km remaining from 173km

Nibali, Contador and Santambrogio have around 40 metres in hand on Uran, Froome, Horner and Kwiatkowski. Froome is happy to let Uran continue to set a steady pace rather than accelerate sharply in pursuit of the three leaders.

1km remaining from 173km

0km remaining from 173km

Froome closes almost instantly and then blasts straight past Contador and Nibali with 700 metres to go.

Froome is on a different planet here, it seems. He opens a gap and he won't be brought back.

Contador, meanwhile, is suffering badly and appears to have cracked in the final 500 metres. Mauro Santambrogio leads the pursuit just ahead of Vincenzo Nibali. The leaders have been scattered to the four winds and are going to come in one by one.

Chris Froome wins the stage, while Santambrogio leads Nibali over the line some 11 seconds back.

Kwiatkowski takes fourth on the stage and will take possession of the blue jersey tonight - we think - 4 seconds ahead of Froome.

Horner came across the line in 5th, just ahead of Contador. They lost 15 seconds to Froome in those last 500 metres.


General classification:

General classification:

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) moves into the overall lead but Chris Froome has dealt a crucial blow in the battle for final victory. Tomorrow sees a testing 230km stage to the short, sharp finish at Chieti, while the short final time trial at San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday should be to the liking of both Kwiatkowski and Froome. Nibali and Contador will have to be inventive if they are to force their way back into contention.

Thanks for following our live coverage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Cyclingnews today. We'll have a full report, results and pictures from today's stage here shortly, and while you're waiting, why not check out the action on, where you can follow the finale of stage 6 of Paris-Nice with Dan Benson.

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