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Lance Armstrong almost crashes; Francesco Chicchi wins stage

May 19, 2010 |  4:54 pm

Francesco Chicchi of the Italian Liquigas-Doimo team won Wednesday's Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California, surprisingly beating out HTC-Columbia sprint star Mark Cavendish at the finish of the stage, which covered 121.5 miles from San Jose into downtown Modesto.

The overall leader remains Dave Zabriskie from the Garmin-Transitions team, and he kept his four-second lead over Michael Rogers of HTC-Columbia and his six-second advantage over three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer from Team RadioShack.

Lance Armstrong got caught up in a crash in the last three kilometers. He nearly fell but stayed on his bike and finished with the group. The streets were slippery from a sprinkling of rain that fell during the afternoon.

Stage 5 on Thursday will take the race 121.5 miles again, from Visalia to Bakersfield. It will be another day for sprinters to shine in advance of Friday's mountain stage from Palmdale into Big Bear.

-- Diane Pucin