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samedi 8 octobre 2011

Victory for Viviani - Tour of Beijing - Stage4

Today's fourth stage of the Tour of Beijing twice passed by China's iconic Great Wall, inspiring the riders, it seemed, to create one of their own as they raced towards the line for a wonderful mass finish at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing and Canoeing Centre.

In the end it was Liquigas-Cannondale which negotiated the best path -- steering multi-talented Italian Elia Viviani to victory ahead of team-mate Peter Sagan (Slovak Republic).

SaxoBank Sungard's JJ Haedo followed Viviani and Sagan across the line for third.

For Viviani, it was the 22-year-old track and road star's eighth race victory for the year and the launching pad, he hopes, for much more to come.

"It is very good for me. It is my only second season as a pro. I am young and I can now hope for the sprints next season in the big races," Viviani said.

"It was a very fast sprint at the end of a very long stage. The team was fantastic for me."

The result vindicated Viviani's decision to continue to train hard after the world championships in Copenhagen a fortnight ago.

But it will also create some doubts in the young rider's mind about his plans for 2012, given that he is considered his country's best chance for a track medal at the London Olympics.

"The Olympics for me should be on the track, but maybe now could also be on the road," he said.

His win would no doubt also have impressed the Giro d'Italia's new boss, Michele Acquarone, who was at the finish as a guest of UCI President Pat McQuaid.

With the peloton back together a virtually straight 5km run into the finish and a race that had already been ridden at an average speed of over 45kph it was inevitable that the finish would be a torrid affair.

But the story of the race until then had been a six man escape that had formed after just 10km and that lasted until there were just eight kilometres left to ride.

The original break comprised Tiago Machado (Radioshack), Iijo Keisse (Quickstep), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil -- DCM) and Julien Berard (AG2R- La Mondiale) but they were joined soon after by Lampre-ISD's Damiano Cunego and Team China's Wang Meiyin, the only successful duo of the many who tried to make the cross from the main bunch.

Their exploits made life difficult for the peloton and ensured that the staged was raced at such a high speed. At one stage their lead extended out to five minutes.

They clearly made an impact, even if in the end their adventure proved fruitless. Race leader Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) was quick to acknowledge the effect they had on the way the stage panned out.

"The group out in front was really too big and it was not so easy to control the race," Martin said.

"It took a long time to bring them back. But in the end the team was riding really strong and everything was okay."

After retaining the leader's red jersey that he has held throughout the Tour, Martin was confident about what lay ahead.

"I am really happy with the results and situation so far and to once again have the jersey.

"The chance is there to win and tomorrow is not so long," Martin said.
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