Giro d'Italia Stage 4 Preview
The stage was quite unusual today, a long day in the saddle with one rider in the breakaway, caught with still two hours of racing to go. The wind was present all day long, but it came as a tailwind which as a consequence didn't cause splits, but the crashes did. It was a tense affair all day long but in the end the sprinters were happy with how it went, it was purely for them to fight out for the stage honours and Elia Viviani proved the fastest on the day, but was later disqualified over a risky move on Moschetti, hence Fernando Gaviria was the stage winner, in front of Arnaud Dèmare and Pascal Ackermann.
Positive: Gaviria's sprint was incredible, in the last kilometer he flew past the peloton in amazing fashion and launched his sprint very early, but the headwind meant he was able to come from behind and finish in front. Trek have been racing well, the only team today to make an actual move in the winds, and Ciccone has slowly been building a big amount of points to his KOM tally, as Dèmare in the intermediate sprints.
Negative: Carapaz, Pozzovivo and Kangert lost 46 seconds today, Tao Geoghegan Hart lost 1:28 minutes making for significant time losses. The wind didn't cause mayhem but the tension that came as a consequence did.
Stage 4 will be a rougher challenge, it's a very rolling stage through the Lazio region without any real dificulties but with a very long distance, 235 kilometers and the finish represents well the stage as a bulk.
The final 20 kilometers are very rolling with no real flat parts, and the run-up to Frascati is uphill which will make for a dificult finish, suited for punchy sprinters and the more explosive type of puncheur. The final 2Km have a 4,4% average gradient with a couple of 6/7% sections.
From kilometer 63 to 93 it is a very dangerous section for tomorrow's stage, the wind will be as strong or stronger than today, reaching 40Km/h at some sections from the side. And from then on the wind will pretty much come as a crosswind for most of the day, diminishing it's intensity as the stage finish draws closer. But the point is there is definetely space to create splits tomorrow, but likely too far for them to be decisive.
It's set to be another very nervous day, splits will make the peloton ride in a constant swarm formation for sure as today, with the exception of the final part of the stage where it can stretch out. There won't be any mountains, the gaps between overall contenders will only appear surely due to hazzards, but depending on how the stage goes there's a chance they might take a part in the stage's contention.
With that said, it should be one for the sprinters, but it's far from an easy finish with such ondulation, especially the final 2Km uphill. Gaviria, Viviani, Dèmare, Ewan can all climb these bits, it really isn't easy to differenciate who won't be able to fight for the win tomorrow even in normal circumstances. Maybe Ackermann is the less suited sprinter of the main group, but to discard him completely would be too much.
With the gradients on the finale there are some other riders who can more easily be in contention, Matteo Moschetti was very strong today and should also be good for tomorrow, it will open up things more for riders like Juan José Lobato and Andrea Vandreame in this scenario. Puncheurs like Diego Ulissi, Valentin Madouas and Tony Gallopin are also to be looked at mainly in a last-minute attack.
From the climbers a stage win may occur but only if the race is split in the crosswinds, from those Dumoulin, Roglic and Yates should have a minimal say.
⭐ Lobato, Vandreame, Ulissi, Madouas, Gallopin, Roglic, Cimolai, Gibbons
Dèmare hasn't looked like the strongest sprinter, but he can surely climb what's due for tomorrow, and he's my call because I've seen Groupama ride very well these days, the squad is fully focused on him and he seems the only rider looking to conquer the points jersey, he is likely more motivated than the others I would say. I'm liking how he's riding so maybe he's the one to win tomorrow.
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