ZARAGOZA, Spain -- Alessandro Petacchi of Italy won the
fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta on Tuesday, and Benoit Joachim
of the U.S. Postal Service team retained the overall lead.
Petacchi beat Erik Zabel of Germany and Oscar Freire of Spain in
another mass sprint for his second stage victory in the Vuelta, the
last major tour of the European cycling season. It was the same
finish order as in Sunday's second stage.
Petacchi, leading the Italian Fassa Bartolo team, completed the
104-mile windy stage from Soria to Zaragoza in 4 hours, 23 minutes,
Overall, Joachim of Luxembourg maintained an 18-second lead over
teammate Max Van Heeswijk of the Netherlands. Joachim claimed the
overall lead from the Dutchman on Sunday. U.S. Postal remains atop
the standings with its riders in the first seven positions.
Lance Armstrong, winner of six straight Tour de France titles,
rides for U.S. Postal but is not competing in the Vuelta. The
21-stage race finishes in Madrid on Sept. 26.