McEwen wins stage; Schumacher leads overall

Updated: May 9, 2006, 12:38 PM ET
Associated Press

HOTTON, Belgium --Robbie McEwen prevailed in a group sprint Tuesday to win the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia, his second victory in three days.

The Australian, riding for the Davitamon-Lotto team, edged Olympic champion Paolo Bettini and Alberto Loddo at the finish line to add another stage victory to his successful sprint in the second stage Sunday.

McEwen, who collected his 10th Giro stage victory overall, covered the 119.6-mile distance from Wanze to Hotton, near Liege, in 4 hours, 38 minutes and 51 seconds.

"The stage was tough but the win came easy," McEwen said.

Germany's Stefan Schumacher finished in the same time and retained the overall leader's pink jersey, 13 seconds ahead of defending champion Paolo Savoldelli. Ivan Basso, second to Lance Armstrong at the Tour de France last year, trails Schumacher by 43 seconds overall.

Bettini, who came from behind for his second podium finish, said he went on the offensive too late.

"Robbie is very strong in sprints but he could have been beaten today," Bettini said. "I paid for my hesitation."

The stage was the last in Belgium. On Thursday, after a rest day, cyclists will ride from Piacenza to Cremona in Italy for a 22.3-mile time test.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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