Tirreno-Adriatico 2018, Landa gets the up-hill finish – Caruso new leader

Mikel Landa (Movistar) wins Tirreno-Adriatico 2018 stage 4! The Basque rider achieves a terrific success on the top of Sassotetto up-hill and once again proves he is one of the fiercest competitors when the road ascends. Movistar leader takes the success over Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) and George Bennett (Lotto Nl-Jumbo), overtaken along the last 300 meters by a decisive attack of the Spaniard. Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) and Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) were part of the five leaders that competed for the stage success and respectively finish in fourth and fifth, six seconds behind the stage winner. The chasers’ sprint is won by Tiej Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), who shows an excellent resistance on long and selective climbs. Plenty  of bad luck affected Geraint Thomas, who had a mechanical problem with 1,2 kilometers to go. Because of Thomas’ loss, Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) retakes possess of the leader’s jersey

As soon as the race starts six riders break out from the peloton, which appears to have decided to let the break go even further at this early stage in the race. The protagonists of today’s breakaway are partially the same of yesterday and the day before ones: green jersey holder Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) and orange jersey leader Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia). Together with the two unshakeable riders of this Tirreno-Adriatico by now are Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ), Krists Neilands (israel Cycling Academy), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexander Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo). Our breakaway of six brave riders achieve a maximum advantage of 6 minutes with 90 kilometers remaining. The gap, otherwise, kept swinging all along the central stages of racing.

From 160 kilometers to go a number of crashes starts to occur. The first rider who rolls out this unlucky series of events is Tom Dumoulin. Team Sunweb leader falls on the ground along the descent leading to Belforte del Chienti and he is forced to abandon the race due to various scratches and abrasions. Soon after is Daniel Moreno’s turn: EF Education First rider crashes and looses the attachment of one of his shoulders and gives up. Moreover, Giacomo Nizzolo pulls back because of an aching knee: the Italian was affected by a crash throughout Omloop het Nieuwsblad and he still does not bear intense efforts.

Nicola Bagioli takes all the KOM sprints whereas Jacopo Mosca gets both of the intermediate sprints. Team Sky rules the pace in front of the group: Salvatore Puccio and Nicholas Castroviejo are the ones who have led the group the most. At first the gap drops because of Sky’s effort aimed to keep a high tempo but once the British squad lessened the speed the gap returns above 4′ of width. At his time Mitchelton-Scott, Lotto Nl-Jumbo and Bahrain-Merida move up to the front and start to jump across the gap. As soon as he wins the intermediate sprint, Mosca gives up and, one at a time, all the leaders lose contact from Neilands, who leads the race solo with over 10 kilometers remaining. Vlasov succeeds in chasing the Latvian’s wheels but soon after the peloton swallows both the leaders.

In the meantime yesterday winner Primoz Roglic touches his front wheel with another rider’s back one and falls on the ground. Astana moves up to the front and leads the group at an astonishing speed: with 5,5 kilometers to go Miguel Angel Lopez puts into effect his teammates’ work and attacks. Firstly Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), then Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) and soon Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) succeed in breaking out of the bunch and in this order reel in Lopez. With 3,7 kilometers to go Majka attacks again and open a 100 meters advantage over the chasers. Simoultaneously to the Polish effort in the front, Mikel Landa attacks and no one in able to follow the wheels of the Basque, who reel in Aru and Hermans and, together with them, joins Majka in the lead with just over 2 kilometers to go.

Lopez suddently stops to pedal and gives up and pretty soon breaks off the bunch together with Chris Froome, who proves to be far from his best shape. With 1,2 kilometers to go a sensational turn of events occurs: Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is victim of a mechanical problem and Romain Bardet (Ag2r la Mondiale) attacks. The Frenchman’s try has short life, unlikely to George Bennet’s one: the Kiwi succeeds in chasing the four leaders just after the break crossed the flamme rouge. With 5 men in the lead, at first Aru attacks but his attempt does not worry Majka, Bennett and Landa. The former has a try without benefitting of his effort and the latter counter-attacks opening a gap which reveals sufficient to cross the finish line with his hands up, devoting his win to Michele Scarponi. Caruso, who finished six seconds behind the stage winner, reconquers the leader’s jersey.


Tirreno-Adriatico stage 4 Results

1 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team 06:22:13
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:00
3 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 00:00:00
4 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:06
5 Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy 00:00:06
6 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 00:00:06
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:06
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:06
9 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:06
10 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac 00:00:06

Tirreno-Adriatico General Classification

1 CARUSO Damiano BMC Racing Team 10 17:14:49
2 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Team Sky 0:01
3 KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb 0:11
4 LANDA Mikel Movistar Team 0:20
5 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky 0:26
6 URAN Rigoberto Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:31
7 BENNETT George Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:33
8 FORMOLO Davide BORA – hansgrohe 0:34
9 BENOOT Tiesj Lotto Soudal 0:36
10 POZZOVIVO Domenico Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team 0:41
11 ROSON Jaime Movistar Team 0:44

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