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By VeloNews Interactive Wire ServicesCopyright AFP 2001
Spain’s Francisco Cabello came from behind to take the overall lead in the Tour of Murcia cycling race after winning the 166.2km fourth stage between Alcantarilla and Aledo on March 10. “We’ve been looking for this victory since the beginning of the season and we dedicate it to the Ochoa brothers,” Cabello said, visibly moved at the thought of his Kelme team-mates.
Ricardo Ochoa was killed during an accident near Malaga on February 15. which left his twin Javier (13th overall in the 2000 Tour de France) in a deep coma.
Cabello’s time of 4:15:15 brought him in three seconds ahead of fellow Kelme rider Javier Pascual Llorente and another Spaniard, Mikel Zarrabeitia, in a stage marked by two grade Category 1 climbs.
LLorente and Zarrabeitia reached the summit of Collado Bemejo alone just 10km from the finish, however, on the descent, the two fell at a dangerous bend — allowing seven pursuers to come from behind.
Cabello made a decisive burst for the line with 3km to go and despite the efforts of Llorente and Spaniard Aitor Gonzalez to organize a counterattack, Cabello won with seconds to spare.
Of the three Tour de France winners competing here, two-time champion Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich both finished 12 minutes off the lead, while Marco Pantani fared slightly better coming in seven minutes behind Cabello.
Argentina’s Martin Garrido, who wore the yellow jersey at the start of Saturday’s stage, lost 7:03 on Cabello to drop to 36th overall. Sunday’s final stage is a 12.3km time-trial through the streets of Murcia, in southeastern Spain.
TOUR OF MURCIA, Spain. March 7-11.
Stage 4: Alcantarilla-Aledo;
1. Francisco Cabello (Sp) Kelme 166.2km in 4:14:15; 2. Javier Pascual Llorente (Sp) at 0:03; 3. Mikel Zarrabeitia (Sp); 4. Gabriel Colombo (I); 5. Aitor Gonzalez (Sp); 6. Paolo Lanfranchi (I); 7. Juan-Carlos Minguez (Spa); 8. Aleksandr Sheffr (Kaz); 9. Oscar Laguna (Sp), all s.t.; 10. Jose-Luis Rubiera (Sp) at 1:17;
23. Ivan Gotti (I) at 2:38; 38. Martin Garrido (Arg), at 7:03; 46. Roberto Heras (Sp); 52. Stefano Garzelli (I); 56. Marco Pantani (I), all s.t.; 70. Lance Armstrong (USA), at 12:25., 77. Jan Ullrich (G); 91. Fernando Escartin (Sp) both s.t.;
Overall standings (after four stages);
1. Cabello, 15:37:32; 2. Pascual Llorente at 0:07; 3. Zarrabeitia at 0:10; 4. Gonzalez at 0:11; 5. Laguna, at 0:14; 6. Juan-Carlos Minguez, at 0:16; 7. Lanfranchi; 8. Sheffr; 9. Colombo, all s.t.; 10. Addy Engels (Nl) at 1:30.
OTHERS: 24. Gotti at 2:51; 36. Garrido, at 6:59; 48. Pantani at 7:16; 74. Ullrich at 12:38; 77. Armstrong s.t.; 91. Escartin at 21:05