stage 4

The Etna Day

The Giro d’Italia was back on its original soils on Tuesday, on the fourth day of racing. After a great weekend in Hungary, the riders flew to Sicily on Monday before the first major mountain stage scheduled today. The Etna therefore stood in front of the riders for the first summit finish. Lennard Kämna took the win on the volcano while Arnaud Démare and his teammates already think about stage five and the expected bunch sprint.

On Tuesday, the Giro returned to Italy, and more specifically to Sicily. The first stage on its lands led the riders from Avola to Mount Etna and was therefore made for the pure climbers. Mathieu van der Poel was set to concede his pink jersey on this day, which meant the breakaway had a really good shot at making it all the way. This is the reason why the fight lasted for some twenty kilometres before fourteen runners managed to make a decent gap. Their advantage even increased to more than ten minutes, before some favourites teams decided to control. Despite a gradual acceleration from the bunch as they approached Etna, and a lot of riders dropping in the back in the last ten kilometres of the climb, the fugitives did get the better of the GC contenders. Lennard Kämna (Bora-hansgrohe) got the win ahead of the new leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo). The Groupama-FDJ riders came to the finish several minutes later. “We knew a breakaway of ten to twenty riders could make it”, explained Benoît Vaugrenard. “Attila could follow the moves if he had the legs. Unfortunately, he did not today. Since he was not going for the stage win or for the general classification, we did not ask him to hold on to the favourites group”.

“We know what to expect”, Ramon Sinkeldam

The former pink jersey crossed the line more than ten minutes later while his teammates from the “sprint” group finished more than twenty minutes after the winner. “Arnaud’s group had to go through this day as well as possible, and to just finish within the time limit,” added Benoît. “The start was quite difficult before the breakaway went”, said Ramon Sinkeldam, who was on the Etna with Arnaud Démare for a training camp just recently. “There was a good tempo all day. Then in the final, it was not too difficult for us in the gruppetto. We dropped at the bottom, with 25 kilometres to go, and we had a lot of time to finish. It was still a hard day anyway”. They will now recover the best they can before their next big goal scheduled on Wednesday, in Messina. “Tomorrow is a sprint,” added Ramon. “We did a similar stage two years ago, when Arnaud took his first victory. This time, the climb is even further from the finish so it will be more difficult to drop the sprinters. We’ll need to be careful anyway. We also did a recon of this climb when we were here on training camp, so we know what to expect. We will go full for the bunch sprint tomorrow”.

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