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″
The curtain was drawn on stage two of the 100th Giro d’Italia with UAE Team Emirates’ Italian rider Roberto Ferrari crossing the finish line in second place.
It was an impressive display by the 34-year-old in the hilly stage from Olbia to Tortoli, as he finished behind Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), who claimed the top position on the podium and leads the general classification.
Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) ended his day just behind in third place.
Speaking afterwards, Ferrari said: “This was a tricky sprint that definitely gave an unexpected result. My legs felt great and I am pleased placing second. After I was part of the lead group I gave my best to remain at the front of the bunch sprint.
“I’m very satisfied with my results and the great performance of the entire team in the climbs and descents. We are looking forward to tomorrow where we are aiming to have another top result.”
1 – Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) – 221km in 6h05’18”, average speed 36.298km/h
2 – Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
3 – Jasper Stuyven (Trek – Segafredo) s.t.
1 – Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal)
2 – Lukas Postlberger (Bora – Hansgrohe) at 4″
3 – Caleb Ewan (Orica – Scott) at 8″
Stage three is a shorter 148km ride, best suited for sprinters.
It starts in Tortolì and finishes in Cagliari for the fourth time in the Giro’s history. The final 10km has a number of roundabouts which may impact the breakaway group but the home stretch of 800m with wide asphalt roads are likely to make for a good sprint finish.
UAE Team Emirates’ Sacha Modolo crossed the finish line at the first stage of the 100th Giro d’Italia amongst the top five alongside Caleb Ewan (ORICA – Scott), Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo).
Modolo was in great form, garnering a significant fifth place as Austrian Lukas Poestlberger (BORA – Hansgrohe) was victorious.
“I am pleased with the outcome of today’s stage,” says Modolo. “Today’s stage was a good opportunity to try and clinch the Pink Jersey. Mohoric supported me until Ferrari was able to launch me into a long sprint unfortunately it was a bit too late as Lukas Poestlberger (BORA – Hansgrohe) had closed the gap between him and the sprinters.
“I would like to congratulate Poestlberger for a fine performance. I am in good form and this is only the beginning. I am looking forward to the upcoming stages and would like to thank my team for all the support.”
Stage two is hillier than the opening day of the Giro; the riders start in Olbia with three long climbs and a flat finish of 1.8km on wide roads to Tortolì.
Whilst the riders from the Giro compete in stage three of the Giro from Tortolì-Cagliari on Sunday, 7 May another eight UAE Team Emirates riders will be racing in Switzerland at the Gran Premio Citta di Lugano.
This is a hilly course that starts and finishes in Lugano, with an average gradient of 4.4% peaking at 20.3% in sections.
Riders loop the 23.2km circuit eight times over the 184.9km course. Emirati cyclist Yousif Mirza commented on the change to racing in Europe over the UAE: “The Gran Premio di Lugano race will be my second race in Europe, and my goal in this race is to help my teammates take a win. European races are very different to those in the Middle East so I am trying to adapt myself to racing in Europe conditions.”
Joining Mirza in Lugano is a UAE Team Emirates line up of Anass Ait El Abdia, Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni, Filippo Ganna, Oliviero Troia, Vegard Stake Laengen and Federico Zurlo.
TOP FIVE RACE RESULTS FOR STAGE ONE
|1||Lukas Poestlberger (BORA – Hansgrohe)||05:13:35|
|2||Caleb Ewan (ORICA – Scott)||…..|
|3||Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal)||…..|
|4||Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo)||…..|
|5||Sacha Modolo, UAE Team Emirates||0:00:10|
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE ONE
|1||Lukas Poestlberger (BORA – Hansgrohe)||05:13:35|
|2||Caleb Ewan (ORICA – Scott)||00:00:04|
|3||Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal)||00:00:06|
|4||Pavel Brutt (Gazprom – Rusvelo)||00:00:09|
|5||Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek – Segafredo)||00:00:10|
|6||Sacha Modolo, UAE Team Emirates||00:00:10|