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Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) and Andreas Leknessund (Crew DSM) shared the honours on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia to Lago Laceno, with the Frenchman successful the stage and the Norwegian taking the maglia rosa after a tough time out entrance within the break of the stage.
As anticipated Remco Evenepoel and his Soudal-QuickStep workforce let the break and so race management go, with Leknessund finest positioned within the breakaway of the day after a great opening time trial and with out shedding additional time within the early levels.
Paret-Peintre and Leknessund emerged from the seven-rider breakaway on the climb to Lago Laceno, with the AG2R Citroën rider stronger within the dash after Leknessund gave his all within the hope of taking the race lead.
Evenepoel and the opposite total contenders completed 2:01 behind Paret-Peintre and Leknessund, and so the Norwegian’s dream got here true. It got here all the way down to a handful of seconds and a six-second time bonus for second place on the stage, however Leknessund pulled on the pink jersey.
Evenepoel is now second total at 28 seconds, with Paret-Peintre third at 30 seconds.
Leknessund additionally took the perfect younger rider’s white jersey, releasing Evenepoel from all of the podium obligations. Certainly, he shortly disappeared to the Soudal-QuickStep workforce bus.
Paret-Peintre had sensed he might win the stage and so dug deep to chase Leknessund when he tried an assault close to the highest of the climb. When Paret-Peintre opened up his dash, he acquired a niche and had an opportunity to zip up his jersey and rejoice an enormous win.
“My foremost goal this 12 months was the Giro, I simply educated rather a lot for at the moment, for these three weeks,” he stated.
“We knew at the moment was a day for the breakaway, so it was an essential day for the workforce as a result of we got here to take a stage win and for GC. It was an ideal day for me. The breakaway was tremendous exhausting to make. After, till the end was tremendous exhausting, however I am tremendous pleased.
“I do know I am sooner than him, so we collaborate till the end line. I believe he takes the maglia rosa so everyone’s pleased, possibly.”
Leknessund was emotional and pleased.
“I clearly went for the stage and knew that the pink was attainable,” he stated after shedding a couple of tears crouched on the bottom.
“I made one assault to drop Aurélien Paret-Peintre, however he got here again on the descent, and my legs have been hurting a lot.
“It is tremendous particular to be in pink. It is like, that was the objective earlier than the stage, however as everybody is aware of, it is exhausting. Biking shouldn’t be really easy. To really make it’s unbelievable.”
The way it unfolded
The riders rode into central Venosa to signal on beneath gray skies with pressure and rain within the air. If stage 3 to Melfi was flat and uneventful for a lot of the day, stage 4 to Lago Laceno was clearly going to be very totally different.
Everybody was anticipating a battle to get into the early break and maybe the primary showdown between the general contenders. Remco Evenepoel had hinted he would let the maglia rosa go, and so anybody nonetheless well-placed total however not a real total contender needed to attempt to take pink. Others merely needed an opportunity at a stage victory.
As quickly as race director Stefano Allocchio dropped the flag to begin the stage on the outskirts of Venosa, the assaults started and didn’t cease for 2 hours. Each rise within the highway, each descent and each break up within the lined-out peloton sparked an assault.
Ben Healy (EF Schooling-EasyPost) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) have been energetic early on, as have been Brandon McNulty (UAE Crew Emirates) and fellow American Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan). There have been far too many to say all of them. Nevertheless, each transfer was chased down by a rival workforce, time and again, because the riders rolled by the hills to the southwest of Venosa.
For a second, Evenepoel was in a chase group, then João Almeida was compelled to chase with a number of teammates, because the tempo stayed excessive and a few riders, together with Evenepoel’s teammate Josef Černý have been compelled to chase and undergo within the lengthy line of workforce automobiles. It was a tough time out for everybody.
The Passo delle Crocelle (7.2km at 5.1%) got here after a quick 50 km of racing however solely heightened the strain within the race and the dedication of the assaults.
Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and Marco Firgo (Israel-Premier Tech) tried to pressure a transfer on the climb, however others closed them down because the King of the Mountain factors acted as an additional carrot. Certainly Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) appeared up entrance after which kicked away to seize the 18 factors and lengthen his lead within the blue jersey competitors. The Frenchman is having fun with a second within the highlight in his ultimate Giro d’Italia of his profession.
The lengthy descent, like a lot of the primary half of the stage, raced within the rain, sparking a number of crashes. Michel Hessmann (Jumbo-Visma) went down first, then Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech), Diego Ulissi (UAE Crew Emirates), Luca Covili (Inexperienced Venture-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Stefan De Bod (EF Schooling-EasyPost) tangled collectively.
Simply earlier than, with 95km to race, and sarcastically on the descent fairly than a climb, the break of the day shaped straight away. The general contender and most breakaway riders have been drained and needed to keep away from taking extreme dangers within the rain.
All of the sudden seven riders acquired away. Within the transfer have been Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), his teammate Toms Skujiņš, Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Andreas Leknessund (Crew DSM), and Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën).
Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) tried to chase throughout alone, however the peloton had determined to let the transfer go, and he was unable to shut the hole on seven riders working collectively.
The hole rose shortly because the breakaway sensed their likelihood, and Leknessund realised he might take the maglia rosa. He began the stage simply 1:40 down on Evenepoel however must mark Aurélien Paret-Peintre, who was solely 33 behind him.
With 80km to race, Albanese received the intermediate dash, with the hole to the peloton at 3:30.
The Valico di Monte Carruozzo climb got here quickly after, and the riders climbed into the mist within the southern Apennines. The hole was at 4:30 at the beginning and about the identical on the summit as Ghebreigzabhier led the break excessive to attain the 18 KOM factors. Armirail properly eased up and slipped again to the peloton.
One other lengthy, gradual descent took the Giro into the Campania area of Italy and nearer to Naples, Salerno and particularly Lago Laceno.
The valley highway allowed the peloton to take a ultimate pure break and take off their rain jackets. Evenepoel lastly peeled off his leg heaters whereas driving on the entrance and in addition stopped for a rear wheel puncture. He additionally opted to alter his entrance wheel in a sort of pit-stop, sparking debate on the explanation. Was it for tyres for the now dry roads, for a greater gear choice or for lighter wheels?
No matter, he slowly moved again as much as the entrance. The dip in tempo allowed the break to increase their lead out to five:30 with 25km to go, and so Soudal-QuickStep went on the entrance, and Černý rode a quick, regular pursuit tempo.
Because the attackers began the 9.6km Colle Molella climb as much as Lago Laceno, the hole to the peloton was 4:20. The seven knew they might battle for the stage victory. Conci was the primary to assault, spitting Barguil out the again. Skujiņš tried to shut the hole as everybody suffered after a tough time out entrance.
Albanese cracked as Ghebreigzabhier, Paret-Peintre, and Leknessund pushed on.
Behind, solely 30 or so riders remained within the peloton, with Evenpoel alone after Jan Hirt did an extended activate the entrance at the beginning of the climb. Is the Belgian’s largest weak spot his workforce? Ineos Grenadiers appeared to suppose so and positioned 5 riders on the entrance to set a excessive tempo. Evenepoel simply sat on their wheel and hoped for the perfect.
With 4 kilometres to go, Leknessund distanced Ghebreigzabhier and Paret-Peintre, however the Frenchman steadily fought his approach again on and was even first to the highest of the climb to take the KOM factors with 2.9km to race.
The highway flattened as they handed the lake edge, and the 2 even started to play video games to keep away from main out the dash.
But because the end line neared, it proved to be no contest. Paret-Peintre kicked exhausting, and Leknessund cracked in ache and disappointment.
Nevertheless, Leknessund quickly after he realised he was within the pink jersey, and he turned solely the second Norwegian to ever put on the maglia rosa, some 42 years after Knut Knudsen.
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