For the third day in a row, the sprinters fought for victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. The Norwegian Jonas Abrahamsen almost made it from the breakaway, but Jonathan Milan ultimately took the win in Giulianova, on the Adriatic coast. This fourth stage did not create real gaps in the general classification, but Romain Grégoire is now twenty-six seconds behind the new leader, also the day’s winner. The Frenchman remains sixth before two decisive stages for the overall.

On Thursday, and after four days of racing, the Tirreno-Adriatico bunch was set to reach the Adriatic coast. This again resulted in a long stage, featuring more than 200 kilometers, between Arrone and Giulianova, in Abruzzo. A proper climb was also on the day’s menu, but its location, more than 130 kilometres from the finish, did not seem ideal for an aggressive race to happen. The breakaway was even able to establish itself from the start, with Lorenzo Quartucci (Team Corratec-Vini Fantini), Davide Bais, Mirco Maestri (Polti Kometa), Alex Tolio (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X Mobility) and Alexander Kamp (Tudor) in there. A few teams did try to get rid of the pure sprinters on the day’s only classified climb, but the peloton then came back together on the descent. From then on, a more usual scenario took over, and the break was able to enjoy a six-minute lead before the teams interested in stage victory organized. “All the sprinters hoped it would end with a bunch sprint today, so this race pattern took place,” indicated Yvon Caër.

“Tomorrow, another race begins”, Yvon Caër

Forty kilometres from the finish, the gap with the leaders was reduced to two minutes, but the fight proved harder from there on. At the first time on the finish line at Giulianova, Maestri, Kamp, Abrahamsen still had one minute, and even managed to get over an unclassified hill, with ten kilometres to go, with a 30-second margin. “There was a lot of tension, especially in the final which was quite technical and descending,” said Yvon. “Everyone was fighting for position, whether for the sprint or to avoid splits. It was stressful. Romain discovers what it’s like to stay in the front at WorldTour level when there is a lot of rubbing shoulders. Once again, Clément, Olivier, Cyril did a very good job.” The breakaway trio got to the last, slightly uphill 1600 metres with a very small lead. Kamp and Maestri surrendered, but Abrahamsen kept on going and took advantage of a slight “looking at each other” phase in the bunch entering the last kilometre. The Norwegian tackled the final straight in the lead, but the best sprinters still managed to catch him just before the line, and Jonathan Milan took it all. “Fabian was well positioned at the bottom of the final climb, but he probably lacked a bit of strength to be able to keep up with the best,” added Yvon.

The Swiss rider eventually took eighteenth place on the line, a few ranks ahead of Romain Grégoire (24th), still sixth overall. “Tomorrow, another race begins,” Yvon concluded. “Romain should have more opportunities to show himself. These profiles suit him.” On Friday, the peloton will have to cover the San Giacomo climb (12 km at 6%), whose summit will be reached twenty-four kilometres from the finish.