photo credits @ Tirreno-Adriatico
Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) climbed to a stunning victory in stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico today, after GC leader Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) suffered a mechanical problem inside the final 3 kilometers and lost the blue jersey as a result.
In an awesome show of strength, the Spanish rider bridged across to a breakaway group that got away on the final climb, and battled it out with Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) and George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo).
Aru attacked inside the final 800 meters but the trio of Landa, Majka and Bennett came past him and it was Landa who had the fastest sprint after a grueling stage.
The stage win is Landa’s first of the season but was richly deserved after he played a big part in a four-man breakaway that set up the sprint finish on a tough final climb.
Back in the chase, some cat and mouse tactics allowed the pack to close the gap to little more than a matter of seconds, but Landa surged clear in the final few hundred meters, holding off the challenge of Majka and Bennett, crossing the line with a fist bump to the chest.
Further back down the mountain there was drama for Team Sky as Thomas dropped his chain inside the last kilometer, with a struggling Chris Froome dropping back to try and help minimize the losses.
As result of his mechanical failure Thomas lost valuable time waiting for a replacement bike, finishing the stage 40 seconds down on Landa, and lost the race lead to former overall leader Damiano Caruso (BMC).
Caruso now leads Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) overall by 11 seconds, with Landa in third at 26 seconds. Thomas slips to fourth place at 26 seconds with three stages remaining.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 Stage 4
1. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, in 6-22-13
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, at same time
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 6 secs
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
9. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at same time
General Classification After Stage Four
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, in 17-14-49
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 11 secs
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 20 secs
4. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 26 secs
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at 31 secs
6. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 33 secs
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 34 secs
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 36 secs
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 41 secs
10. Jaime Roson (Esp) Movistar, at 44 secs
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