Movistar’s Richard Carapaz held on for victory on stage four of the Giro d’Italia in Frascati but Primoz Roglic was the big winner as a late crash hit his rivals and saw him extend his lead in pink.
A touch of wheels a little over five kilometres from the finish saw several riders hit the deck and caused a shake-up of the general classification.
There had been much speculation as to whether the slight uphill finish would suit a sprinter or a punchier rider but in the end only a small group was left to contest the stage, with Roglic and Carapaz the only one major general classification hopefuls among them.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates was in the next group on the road alongside Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Bob Jungels (Deceunick-QuickStep), conceding 16 seconds to Roglic, but the big loser was Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.
The Team Sunweb rider, second in this race last year, already looks out of the reckoning this time around as he crossed the line more than four minutes after Roglic, bleeding heavily from his left knee.
Roglic now leads by 35 seconds from Yates, with Nibali a further four seconds back.
The win could also bring Carapaz back into the reckoning after a disappointing opening time trial, with the bonus seconds leaving him 81 seconds off pink in 16th place.
Yates’ fellow Lancastrian Hugh Carthy of EF Education First is 13th, 76 seconds down, while Team Ineos’ Pavel Sivakov sits in 17th, 84 seconds back as the team’s best-placed rider.
The crash completely split the peloton with only seven riders left in the front group to contest honours at the end of the 235km stage from Orbetello.
Carapaz attacked in the final few hundred metres and though Lotto-Soudal’s Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan set off after him, the Ecuadorian had just enough to hold on.
For the second straight day, it was a nervy, chaotic finish to end what had been a long, slow day with riders taking it easy over the rolling 235km stage.
An all-Italian three-man break formed of Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Marco Maestri (Bardiani CSF) and Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) had been allowed a lead which stretched to 11 minutes at one point but the peloton stepped up the chase in the final third of the stage.
The catch was made with 10km to go but moments later came the crash which could yet prove pivotal in this Giro.
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Fernando Gaviria was handed victory in Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia on Monday after Italian national champion Elia Viviani was relegated – despite finishing first – for dangerous sprinting in the race for the line.
It was a messy end to a stage which, for the first three-quarters, was taken at a relatively easy pace.
“Today, I arrived second,” said Gaviria. “The winner of the stage is Elia Viviani.”
Watch more of his reaction above:
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann held off Elia Viviani to collect his first Giro d’Italia stage win in Fucecchio on Sunday.
The 205km second stage from Bologna came down to a sprint finish in which the German national champion, making his Giro debut this year, had the power to hold off Italy’s national champion.
Australian Caleb Ewan of Lotto-Soudal came in third behind the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider, with UAE Team Emirates’ Fernando Gaviria fourth.
The bunch finish meant there was no change at the top of the general classification, in which Team Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic holds the pink jersey with a 19-second advantage over Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates.
Two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida is a further four seconds behind the Lancastrian in third place, with Tao Geoghegan Hart of Team Ineos in eighth place, 35 seconds off pink.
After Saturday’s time trial, Sunday’s stage set off from Bologna in damp conditions, with an eight-man breakaway quickly setting off up the road and building a lead of four-and-a-half minutes.
Bora-Hansgrohe did a huge amount of the work to chase them down on the approach to Fucecchio, with the catch made inside the last 10 kilometres.
The team looked to have blown their advantage inside the final 1,000 metres as others swamped them on the front, but Ackermann kept his cool and launched his attack right on cue.
“I’m so happy, this is my first chance to win a stage and we did it great,” said Ackermann, selected by his team ahead of Irishman Sam Bennett, who won three stages of last year’s Giro.
“I think that all the team is more motivated and it’s good for the next three weeks.
“We saw with 250 metres to go that none of the sprinters had started the sprint. I decided to take my speed and go full gas and luckily it was enough.”
The three-week race continues on Monday with a 220km stage from Vinci to Orbetello which again offers promise for the sprinters.
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