Chicchi wins battle of sprinters in California

Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimo) emerged victorious from a sprint for the line to win the fourth stage of the Tour of California.

Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimo) emerged victorious from a sprint for the line to win the fourth stage of the Tour of California.

The Italian prevailed ahead of J.J. Haedo (Saxo Bank), Mark Cavendish (HTC-columbia) and Theo Bos (Cervelo) although Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions) retained the overall lead after the 121.5mile stage from San Jose to Modesto.

Eight riders took off from the start led by Lars Boom (Radobank) but this was whittled down to four and finally caught on the first of two finishing circuits in Modesto.

Boom pulled in with just six kilometres to go although his team-mates Maarten Tjallingii and Paul Martens both tried last-ditch attacks as the field swept around downtown Modesto.

However, ultimately it was a day for the sprinters, and Chicchi bolted up alongside and past Haedo, leaving Cavendish in third.

Zabriskie retained the overall lead, and all the other favourites for the overall crossed with the main group.

RadioShack’s Lance Armstrong crashed out but he did not appear to be hurt.

Importantly, his mishap came within the 3km limit and he was given field time at the finish.

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