The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 4
1st – Tim Wellens
2nd – Michael Woods
3rd – Enrico Battaglin
The cliché of “hardly a flat bit of road all day” applied here on Stage 4 from Catania to Caltagirone, even with only 2 categorised climbs. 202km long, the finish to the stage was rolling, and there was quite a sting in the tail with the finish being a kilometre long ascent at 8.5%, maxing out at 13%. With a hilly, twisty finale on narrow road, it was a hard end to a tough day.
Rohan Dennis holds onto the Maglia Rosa, riding well to stay in the front of the race through a chaotic finale. Enrico Barbin holds onto the KOM jersey after a day in the break where he took the maximum amount of KOM points. Viviani held onto the Points jersey, while Max Schachmann retained his Young Riders’ jersey, somehow finishing in the main group despite crashing with 2.5km to go.
Enrico Barbin showed his face in the break again, on the hunt for KOM points, while Marco Frapporti from Stage 3’s break was again out the front. Jacopo Mosca, Maxim Belkov and Quentin Jaregui joined them. They were kept on a pretty tight leash though, gaining a maximum advantage of 3 and a half minutes.
The Winning Move
A frenetic run-in to the final incline included a crash at a pinch point with 7km to go, nearly halving the bunch. The pace didn’t let up from there, and with a kilometre to go, Tim Wellens, Tosh Van Der Sande, Jack Haig, Simon Yates, and Sam Bennett found a gap on the descent into the final kicker.
That group was brought back halfway up the final climb, and Enrico Battaglin came around them to lead it out with 400m to go. That was a touch too early though, as Tim Wellens and Michael Woods came around Battaglin, with Wellens too strong for Woods.
The Surprise Packets
A huge effort by Irishman, Sam Bennett who rode superbly on a very hard stage. He was there till 400m to go but when the uphill sprint started he threw out the anchor.
The GC movers and Shakers
Simon Yates and Davide Formolo stole 4 seconds on their rivals by finishing 4th and 5th, with a time gap coming just after them to the group with the majority of GC Contenders. Yates is now 17 seconds behind the Maglia Rosa, while Tim Wellens is only 19 behind – is he a sneaky GC chance?
The crash with 7km to go, and frenetic pace afterwards caught out several GC contenders – Chris Froome and Lopez lost 21 seconds in the finale as Froom's poor start continued.
Pello Bilbao, Dominico Pozzovivo and Thibaut Pinot all remain in the top 10, while Tom Dumoulin is still in 2nd, one second behind Rohan Dennis.
12th – Rohan Dennis (1st on GC)
31st – Ben O’Connor (33rd on GC @ 1.07, 6th on Young Riders)
45th – Jack Haig
73rd – Adam Hansen
107th – Mitch Docker
134th – Zak Dempster
163rd – Chris Hamilton
From Agrigento to Santa Ninfa, stage 5 is 153km and covers more rolling Sicilian roads. Three more category 4 climbs, none particularly testing, before another uphill finale. A 1.1km climb of 6% will take the riders to the flamme rouge, before a flat last kilometre, with a few nasty corners included
With another punchy run-in, this one’s built for similar guys to who we saw fight it out on Stage 4, but the final climb isn’t quite as hard, while the sprint is held on the flat part over the top. Think less “uphill sprinter” and more “sprinter that’s not smashed after an uphill”. We’ll take a punt on Diego Ulissi.
See you back at the social club,