Vandevelde wins as Contador shows form

Christian Vandevelde of the United States claimed Wednesday’s fourth stage of the Paris-Nice while Astana’s Alberto Contador showed just why he is the race favorite in the early season classic. Garmin’s Vandevelde pulled clear of a small breakaway group in the later stages of the 173.5 kilometer leg from Vichy to Saint Etienne and crossed the line 14 seconds clear of a chasing group containing Contador. The Spaniard had stretched his legs on a third category climb approaching the finish and quickly opened a significant gap over the other main contenders, He was reeled in by a small group on the descent, but made up time on home rider Sylvain Chavanel, who hung on to the overall race lead after his stage win of the previous day.