Peter Sagan seizes ciclamino jersey after photo-finish second in tense Giro d’Italia stage 4 sprint
On the last day in Sicily before moving to the Italian mainland, the Giro d’Italia made sure the riders had something to remember, with a fast-paced day predicted to end in a sprint. The 140km stage profile was dominated by a climb, but riders would make short work of this third category ascent and would be focused on the finish. Knowing that the faster riders would have their eye on the end of the day, the break did their best to put some time between themselves and the bunch, the trio of escapees building a lead of four minutes. This dropped rapidly when the BORA-hansgrohe riders took to the front in the final 50km, having made short work of the day’s climb. The team’s fast pace over the ascent helped distance some of the sprinters, and this didn’t stop once the climbing was done, Matteo Fabbro once again pushing the pace hard. Wet and rainy conditions on the descent forced all of the riders to hold off at a time when the advantage could be reduced, but once back on the flat, it was back to full speed and with 22km, the last remaining member of the break was caught. The high speeds caused a split in the peloton in the last 10km, and with Paweł Poljański and then Maciej Bodnar on the front, the select lead group created even more distance. Turning left onto the Villafranca Tirrena seafront, Peter Sagan surged ahead, starting his sprint early, his tyres barely maintaining traction as he pushed for the line. It came down to three riders in the finale and a nervous wait for the results of the photo finish. With barely a centimetre separating them, Peter took second spot in an intense end to the stage, but his strong performance was enough for him to take the Ciclamino Jersey of points leader.
01 A.Démare 3h22’13”
02 P.Sagan +0:00
03 D.Ballerini +0:00
From the Finish Line
"Today, I went all out for the win. It was such a close finish, I didn't know who was first, second, or third, we all came to the line together and we had to wait for the photo-finish. I did my best and sprints often go this way. At times I won by a few centimetres, and at times it was like today. Our plan today was to go very hard on the climb in order to see what happens. I'm very satisfied with the team's work, they did a great job and in the small group in the finale we were with Viviani, Démare, and a few others. I get to wear the ciclamino jersey, but I lead by a few points and I'll try to keep it.” – Peter Sagan
"Today our goal was to go for the win with Peter. We let only a small group go away, three riders, and then on the big climb of the stage, we put in a big effort to either drop the sprinters or at least make the race hard. Nearly all of the sprinters were dropped, except Démare and Matthews. In the finale, once again, the guys did a tremendous job, pulling hard and making it impossible for Gaviria's group to bridge the gap. In the end, we lost by a hair's breadth but there was nothing more we could do. Peter gets now the ciclamino jersey, he's in good form and in fact on the climb he was asking to go faster, in the sprints he's getting closer, so we look forward to a victory." – Jan Valach, Sports Director