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Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Petacchi, though, wins fourth stage in Spain

Associated Press

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, 1 second.

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.