Amgen Tour of California 2010, Stage 4: Cracks in Cav

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The fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California was sunny and pleasant and a bit routine. The only real surprise was that Mark Cavendish, the world’s No. 1 sprinter, did not win.

His HTC team perhaps led out a bit early for Cav, who faded within an eye’s blink of the finish line on the carpenter’s-level-flat streets of Modesto. Or as we’ve noted earlier the season got off to a late start for Mark the Mouth and he may not be in seasonal form yet.

But halfway across the world, the Northwest’s own Tyler Farrar may be taking heart. Farrar has locked horns on a number of occasions with Cavendish in the world’s biggest races — and usually lost. But Farrar is having a ripping Giro d’Italia, including two stage wins and the current points leadership, and may be in position to reverse his past pattern vs. the Cav.

For the stage, it was Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas), J.J. Haedo of Saxo Bank and Cavendish (HTC). The general classification stayed the same: Zabriskie, Rogers and Leipheimer.

Not much excitement is expected before Friday’s stage climb up Big Bear Lake, and on Sunday the whole thing is over.

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