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Challenge Illes Balears – Dionne Falls but Finishes Stage 4

February 8, 2006 – According to Canada’s Charles Dionne (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Stage 4 at Challenge Illes Balears hurt.

Italian winner Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) finished the 150.6K stage in 3:47:10 beating Spain’s Antonio Colom (Caisse d’épargne/ÃŽles Baléares) and David Bernabeu (Comunidad Valenciana) in the sprint. Dionne finished 22:34 back placing 125th.

The stage between Soller and the Port of Soller gave riders a taste of four long Cat 2 climbs. “It was pretty difficult,” admitted the athlete from Saint-Rédempteur, who is known for his sprinting abilities. “I looked at the stage profile and knew it was going to be extremely difficult. It wasn’t a long stage, but the four climbs were more or less eight kilometers each.”

Right after the start a slick 500-metre climb gave Dionne some hesitation. “I was in a chase group when I fell in a corner. I think my wheels were more slippery than I thought. When I realized it I wasn’t riding aggressively.”

The 26-year-old athlete suffered only a few ankle scratches, rejoined a pack of twenty riders, and was still able to finish the stage. Efforts to catch the lead group were unfruitful however, as the leaders sprinted for King of the Mountain and other primes.

“On the second climb, the pack exploded. I found myself in a group of roughly twenty riders. After that climb most of them abandoned the stage. I continued alone for the rest of the race. I think I must have done 75K by myself,” continued Dionne.

He affirmed that he gained some positive experience from the stage. “I knew it was going to be hard, and it was. In terms of suffering, I said to myself, I’d better suffer now in order to prepare myself for the next time. I finished the stage, so I have some satisfaction from that.”

Thursday’s Stage 5 will be contested over 149.3K between Magalluf and Palmanova. Five climbs are on the program – three Cat 2s and two Cat 3s. “Tomorrow won’t be easy. Some riders were saying it’ll be worse than today’s stage. However, the more of them I do, the better I’ll get.”

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