After his solid time trial start in the Netherlands, Mikel Landa (Team Sky) recognised that he did not have his best day on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, and the Spaniard was briefly missing from the favourites group on the hardest slopes of the stage’s final unclassified climb.
Italian TV commentators were quick to pick up that Basque climber was briefly not at the front of the main as it splintered close to the summit of the unclassified ascent near the finish at Praia a Mare on the steepest ramps of up to 18 percent. Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang accelerated at the head of the pack as the news was radioed through.
But despite this brief setback, Landa rode back strongly and almost instantly into contention over the top of the climb, with Sky team-mates Nicolas Roche and David López both supporting Landa strongly then also finishing in the front group of 24 riders. Twentieth on the stage, Landa is now 16th overall.
As he pedalled away from the finish, Landa explained to Cyclingnews that overall he had come through the stage well despite the ferocious acceleration in pace on the last climb.
“The teams with fast riders but no sprinters tried to blow out the sprinters by going all out on the last climbs, and it was extremely fast on that final [unclassified] ascent, particularly the last part,” Landa said.
“I didn’t have my best day today, but I was up there with the best.”
Once over the top, Landa said that he had had no problems on the technical seven kilometre descent to Praia a Mare. “The descent was tricky,” he told Cyclingnews, “but Astana kept up a good pace there and I ended up coming through fine.”
“I’ve got through this day and I’m ready for another.”
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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