Discuss: Soudal’s disappearing act on Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia
Aurélien Paret-Peintre outlasted his breakaway mates to take a two-up sprint against Andreas Leknessund in Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia. The 175 km stage into the southern Apennine Mountains was up and down all day and the winning move didn’t go clear until more than 75 km in when a group of seven broke free.
The pack seemed pretty comfortable with that state of affairs, and never chased hard enough to make a catch likely. Left to their own devices, the seven escapees got sharp on the final climb, trading attacks between Nicola Conci, the Trek-Segafredo duo of Toms Skujinš and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier before Paret-Peintre and Leknessund got clear and dropped Ghebreigzabhier late. Leknessund didn’t really contest the sprint, as the time gap to the chase was enough to put him in pink by :28 over Remco Evenepoel, who crossed the line in a small group led not by his Soudal-Quick Step team but the rival Ineos Grenadiers.
All of which raises a few questions:
When Ilan van Wilder dropped off the pink jersey group late on the climb, it left Evenepoel entirely without teammates. It’s common for teams to give riders a “day off” but it’s very much NOT common to leave a leader isolated like that. Evenepoel was obviously fine physically, but without a teammate he’s one flat tire from disaster. Is Soudal up to the task of supporting Remco?
Should Ineos have chased harder to keep Evenepoel in pink?
Trek juuuust missed out on a stage win for the second day in a row. What’s more, today was the anniversary of Wouter Weylandt’s death in the 2011 Giro, always a poignant moment for the team. They’re racing aggressively; how long will it be until they get one right?
And of course: Wednesday’s Stage 5 is a 171 km ride from Atripalda to the seaside town of Salerno. It’s lumpy to start but flattens out late. Breakaway again? All comes together for a sprint? Who’s your pick?
- Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Ag2r-la Mondiale)
- Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) @ :02
- Toms Skujinš (Trek-Segafredo) @ :57
- Vincenzo Albanese (EOLO-Kometa) @ same time
- Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck) @ 1:02