Reuters - Sat, 13 Mar 17:22:00 2010
Defending champion Michele Scarponi broke away late on to win the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico and seize the overall lead.
The Italian Androni Giocattoli rider, banned in 2007 for his involvement in the Operacion Puerto doping scandal, crossed the line on the cobbled streets of Chieti 14 seconds ahead of Benoit Vaugrenard.
The Frenchman wrongly thought he had won but will be comforted by moving up to second in the standings, 18 seconds behind Scarponi, and Italy's Leonardo Bertagnolli was third in the stage to go third overall.
The 243-kilometre winding route from San Gemini to Chieti in central Italy, the longest stage of the first big Italian race of the season, was characterised by several tough climbs and occasional patches of snow on the ground.
Organisers have been forced to change the route for Sunday's stage because of more snow further up the Apennine mountains.
The race, which started on Italy's western Tyrrhenian coast, concludes on the Adriatic east coast at San Benedetto del Tronto on Tuesday.
Stage 5 -Sunday 2.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport 2 (Sky 411 / Virgin 525) and Eurosport Player