Slovenian Jan Polanc conquered the prestigious Giro d’Italia fourth stage to Mount Etna on Tuesday as Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels took the race leader’s pink jersey.
Climbing specialist Polanc, who races for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) team, was part of a four-man breakaway that pulled free early in the 181 km ride from Cefalu.
Despite being left on his own for the last 16 km of the 18.1 km climb to the summit, Polanc held on to solo over the finish line in just over 4hr 55min.
Jungels, of Quick Step, takes over the race lead from teammate Fernando Gaviria, a sprint specialist who was left trailing early on the ride to Europe’s highest active volcano.
Speaking seconds after the stage finish, the stage winner Jan Polanc said: “It’s amazing. Probably nobody expected the breakaway to succeed. We were only four guys to make it work and we didn’t have a big gap for the last climb. It was probably the hardest day of my life. I’m very happy. To repeat the victory I got in 2015 in the first mountain stage is wonderful.”
The new race leader Bob Jungels said: “I didn’t really believe Fernando Gaviria when he said I’d take the Maglia Rosa over from him. It’s always a dream but you have to be a bit lucky. The team did a great job. We had be clever. I would like to keep the jersey for longer than last year but we have a big stage on Sunday at the Blockhaus. It will be more for true climbers like Quintana but I hope to stay in the lead as long as possible.”
1 – Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) – 181km in 4h55’58”, average speed 36.693km/h
2 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) at 19″
3 – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) at 29″
1 – Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
2 – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) at 6″
3 – Adam Yates (Orica – Scott) at 10″