While the Liquigas team were doubtless counting on Manuel Quinziato to challenge for the overall lead, it turned out to be his Sicilian team-mate Vincenzo Nibali (below right) who took precedence.
The 21 year-old tore round the first half of the course and though tiring slightly towards the end, stopped the clock in an impressive 19'58". Indeed Nibali's time began to look better and better as the likes of Rabobank's Joost Posthuma and Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez finished well adrift.

CYCLING 2006, Vincenzo Nibali

Image credit: Imago

Giro d'Italia
Di Luca reclaims pink jersey
16/05/2007 AT 15:34
Stefan Schumacher also seemed to be struggling as he lagged 14 seconds behind Nibali at halfway, though he rallied and maintained his pace well in the latter stages, finishing just 6 seconds back.
But in the end it was George Hincapie (left) who proved strongest, giving his team a much needed boost. Resplendent in his unmistakeable white shades, he entered the finish area almost exactly level with Nibali. A quick glance at the clock prompted him to rise out of the saddle and squeeze out the last drops of energy. He crossed the line in first by the narrowest of margins to take control of the leader's claret jersey.
The surprise performance of the day, in the negative sense, came from Quickstep's Tom Boonen. The Belgian is by no means a time-trial specialist, though on Sunday he almost seemed disinterested, cruising round the course in a highly disappointing 21'25, almost a minute and a half behind Hincapie.
Whether or not he was keen to preserve himself for the Vuelta remains to be seen, though the World Champion's hopes of victory in this Tour are almost certainly over.
General classification after stage 4
1. George Hincapie (U.S. / Discovery Channel ) 13:32:35"
2. Stefan Schumacher (Germany / Gerolsteiner ) +3"
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Liquigas ) +11"
4. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne ) +15"
5. Manuel Quinziato (Italy / Liquigas ) +31"
6. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / Francaise des Jeux ) +32"
7. Joost Posthuma (Netherlands / Rabobank ) +34"
8. Alexei Markov (Russia / Caisse d'Epargne ) +50"
9. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain / Rabobank ) +51"
10. Alessandro Ballan (Italy / Lampre ) +52"
Giro d'Italia
Liquigas savour success
15/05/2007 AT 17:38
Giro d'Italia
Liquigas upstage Savoldelli's Astana
12/05/2007 AT 21:10