Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) has won stage 4 on the Tyrrhenian coast after a solo effort after he darted out of an 11-man leading group on the final climb, 10km from the finish. Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant – Alpecin) chased hard, with his Dutch compatriot Steven Kruijswijk (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo), but those two had to be content with second and third places respectively. Dumoulin recovered the leader’s jersey.
Ten kilometres after leaving Catanzaro, Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Matej Mohoric (Lampre-Merida) and Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) rode away from the peloton. Former world hour record holder Mathias Brändle (IAM Cycling) joined them five kilometres further on to form a leading quartet. Italian team Nippo-Vini Fantini, dissatisfied with having missed the move, chased hard but failed to bridge the gap. Their Romanian rider Eduard Grosu then found himself in no man’s land between the escape and the peloton. 51km were covered in the first hour of racing!
The maximum advantage of the four leaders was only 3’30” and they were reeled in with 51km to go. 3km later, a few sprinters, including the Maglia Rosa, Marcel Kittel, were dropped on the San Pietro climb. Kittel was able to regain the peloton once but not twice, as the racing became harder during the last twenty kilometres. Lampre-Merida’s Valerio Conti rode hard enough to bring ten riders with him and his captain Ulissi made a smart move on a steep section, and stayed away to claim his fifth stage victory at the Giro d’Italia since 2013.
Stage winner Diego Ulissi, in the post-race press conference, said: “Like last year, our team’s goal was to win at least a stage at the Giro d’Italia and we have already got it on Day Four. We’ve started the race on the right foot. I was going well all year but I hadn’t won yet. I’m really happy and it was amazing to see a young team-mate like Valerio Conti riding flat out for me without saying a word. At the end, [sport director Orlando] Maini was yelling. My ears hurt more than my legs”.
Tom Dumoulin, Maglia Rosa, said during the post-race press conference: “We knew the finale would be hard but we didn’t know if it would be too hard for Marcel [Kittel]. My team wanted the Maglia Rosa again. I’ve realized this morning at the start what it means to be in pink in Italy when I saw Marcel being pushed around. It’ll be my turn tomorrow”.
Marcel Kittel, Maglia Rossa: “I’m a little bit sad that I’ve lost the pink jersey. I knew it could happen. It’s still a very nice Giro for me. My first experience in the Maglia Rosa and my first day of racing at the Giro in Italy have made it a nice day in my life. Now I’ll look for more stage wins but without pressure. My team remains strong and focused”.
Bob Jungels, Maglia Bianca: “Maybe what I’ve done today is a good indication of the shape I’m in. I did quite well. I was trying to pull the sprint for [Gianluca] Brambilla but it wasn’t possible to close the gap to Ulissi. I hope to keep the white jersey. I’d normally say that I’ll aim at the Maglia Rosa the day of the time trial but the guy ahead of me in the overall classification is Tom Dumoulin! To be in the Maglia Bianca is already something big for me. This is my first Grand Tour with Etixx – Quick-Step. I’m healthy and I’m looking forward to the two coming weeks”.