Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia didn’t disappoint as the GC battle was brought to life by Mikel Landa on the final climb. It was a long and gruelling day in the saddle from Piacenza to Sestola, with riders taking on 187km in the pouring rain.
The stage started with an early breakaway of over 20 riders, including Jan Tratnik. The break saw two riders attack with the gap from the peloton going over 6 minutes as they took a minute over the rest of the breakaway.
With 20km to go, and on the final descent, Bahrain Victorious took control with the descending expertise of Matej Mohorič while Rafael Valls pushed the pace on the climbs causing riders to fall off the back of the group. The opportunity came with 4km to go, and Landa was the first of the GC favourites to attack, dropping some of the big favourites.
The accelerations came a bit too late for the stage victory, but it ignited the GC. Tratnik held on to 5th after being in the breakaway all day, while Landa took time off some of his rivals in the GC.
Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) managed to win the stage in the breakaway while Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up) moved into the Maglia Rosa.
Gorazd Štangelj, Head Sports Director, commented on the strong ride from the team today:
“Let’s say that today’s stage was a kind of strange one. This morning, we knew that it might be difficult to predict what would happen in a stage like that and riding this kind of stage under heavy rain and hard conditions. Everybody was sure that the Maglia Rosa would get a new owner, so nobody could’ve been sure who will control the race and what will happen. It was normal that 25 riders went in a breakaway out of, let’s say, potential and possible GC, and I maybe do not completely agree with the tactics of some strong teams, but then, we did our race. In the end, I may say that we tried to race in the best possible way to arrive in the finale aggressively. We were aware that Mikel had good legs and that we have a strong team, and I find it important to mention that Jan Tratnik managed to go successfully in the breakaway and had a great race. But unfortunately, the final kilometres were a bit too steep for him to bring home something more. The whole team did a great job today, and all our riders did their job, and even more than that was. We really rode as one”.
Mikel Landa shared his thoughts after the stage: “It was all day up and down, and the weather also made the race difficult. In the end, I look at my rivals, and I didn’t see looking good faces around me, so I tried. After the stage, I can smile, but 20 km before the finish line, I didn’t smile at all. I hope to recover a bit, and then we will have to face a challenging stage again, tomorrow and further on”.
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— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com