Pascal Ackermann takes fourth place and the lead in the points classification on a dramatic fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia
Today the riders could expect another long day in the saddle. The fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia stretched over 223 km from Orbetello to Frascati, a town southeast of Rome. The parcours featured no significant ascents, nevertheless almost 2,300m elevation gain had to be taken on. The first few kilometres were flat before the peloton reached the first and only climb of the day in Manciano, which was a fourth category climb. The course subsequently remained flat but the final stretch was somewhat challenging. The final kilometres around the outskirts of the Italian capital went over undulating terrain and contained several tricky curves. The finishing straight initially went slightly downhill before the stage concluded with an uphill and ever so slightly twisting finish, which had an average gradient of 4.4 per cent but ramped up to 7 percent over some sectors. Right from the start of the stage, three riders escaped and their advantage over the main field extended to a maximum of 12:30 minutes. However, after 65 km on the road, Lotto Soudal and Groupama-FDJ came to the front in an attempt to bring the breakaway back, and as a result their advantage began to shrink to a more manageable time of 7 minutes. With 85 km to the finish Pawel Poljkanski came to the front of the main field to assist Deceunink - Quick-Step and UAE Team Emirates in bringing the gap down further. A little later on, further BORA-hansgrohe riders joined Pawel at the head of the field to drive the chase of the leading trio out in front. At 25 km to go several teams attempted to position themselves at the front of the race to reel back the escapees who after having being out in front all day eventually were caught. Back in the field a small group of riders including Cesare Benedetti crashed but fortunately he was able to mount his bike and continue the race. Shortly afterwards a second crash took out some the favorites and as a result the field split. Pascal Ackermann was in the front group who made their way to the uphill finish. With 500m to go R. Carapaz attacked but nobody was able to follow him and he sprinted first over the line. Pascal came in fourth position and regained the Maglia Ciclamino. His teammate Rafal Majka was able to hold on to 6th place in the general classification.
01 R. Carapaz 5:58:17
02 C. Ewan +0:00
03 D. Ulissi +0:00
04 P. Ackermann +0:02
From the finish line
"It was a super hard stage. It was hectic, everybody was nervous and it was dangerous due to the curves in the road. The guys kept me up front but then there was a crash and I believe one of our guys were also involved. We put the hammer down but in the end I didn't have the legs. But I think we can still be happy with the result today."
- Pascal Ackermann
“The goal for today was to bring Pascal in a position from where he could partake in the sprint. We knew that the finale would be very difficult, but eventually he made it there at the end. He was able to contest for the win, but after 235 kilometres with strong winds and a very long distance to ride, he didn’t have the legs anymore, to compete with strong climbers like Carapaz or uphill sprint specialists like Ewan. Despite that, we are not disappointed. It was yet another strong placing by him and other chances are definitely yet to come. Our GC riders were also able to avoid the crashes and did not lose much time.”
- Jens Zemke, Sports Director