photo credits @ Tirreno-Adriatico
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) claimed a crash-marred stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico today, after the Slovenian rider fended-off Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) in an uphill sprint in Tortoreto.
Meanwhile, Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) wrested the blue leader’s jersey from Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers),. after the Italian rider was distanced with 2.5km remaining.
The stage began at Greccio and headed out to the coast at Torreto, where the riders took on three laps of a closed circuit that featured a tough 4.6km hill each time, with Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) being the first rider to animate things.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Yates were the first riders to bridge up to the Frenchman at the summit, and only fifty or so riders remained in touch over the other side, including the blue jersey Ganna.
In their meantime, Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) were among the riders distanced. However, both riders managed to fight their way back on during the next lap, only to be dropped again on the second ascent of the climb. They repeated that fightback on the final lap, though it was already apparent that the climb to the line was beyond their range.
Oddly, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) lost contact with the front group on that penultimate ascent, even if the Briton also managed to scramble down the descent and latch back on in the closing kilometers, where he worked to keep Ganna placed at the head of the bunch before his late tangle with Van Aert.
A severely reduced peloton entered the last lap at high speed, with little chance for an attack during the final 4.5km haul to the line.
Nevertheless, Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) and Damien Howson (Q36.5) attacked with 1.7km remaining, but they were swept up in the final kilometer, where Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) attempted to break clear.
Roglic first took up the reins with 400m before Victor Lafay (Cofidis) led out the sprint. The Slovenian proceeded to unleash a fierce acceleration during the final 200m to hold off the fast-closing Alaphilippe.
Earlier in stage, a small breakaway group containing Valerio Conti (Corratec), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Israel-PremierTech), Lukas Eriksson (Tudo Pro Cycling), Filippo Magli (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) and Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) rode clear of the peloton during the opening kilometers, later opening up an advantage of seven minutes.
At one point, Eriksson took over the virtual GC lead from Ganna, but it was clear the peloton were keeping a close eye on the break, as it was eventually reeled in with around 70km to ride, not long before the Tortoreto circuit began.
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