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Hunter to the rescue

Robbie Hunter helped teammate David Zabriskie maintain his overall lead in the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Wednesday.

South African Hunter placed 25th and Zabriskie 29th in the 195.5-kilometre ride from San Jose to Modesto.

The stage honours went to Liquigas rider Francesco Chicchi of Italy in 4hr 55min 02sec.

Hunter’s handiwork meant that his Garmin-Transition teammate Zabriskie holds on to the general classification lead by just four seconds after 18:04:35 of hard riding.

Hunter himself lies 94th, 33:54sec back and behind South African compatriots Darren Lill and Robert Jay Thompson.

The two Fly V Australia riders now lie 57th (19:14 back) and 76th (28:32) respectively.

Hunter later apologised for the lack of a sprint finish. “Hey all, sorry for the non-sprint – team orders. We had to look after David Zabriskie in the circuits. We have got a serious chance of winning it,” he said on his Twitter feed.

“It’s very possible that was the last sprint finish, now all we have got to think aobut is how to keep DZ up there… gonna be interesting I tell you.”

Wet weather once again made for some crashes, including seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong came down in the closing stages but he was close enough to the finish to hold on to his finish and now lies in 18th, 27 seconds down.

Thursday’s fifth stage is precisely the same distance as Wednesday and will be ridden between Visali and Bakersfield.

By Mark Etheridge


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