What better place to notch up your first ever Grand Tour victory than at the Giro d’Italia. The young Italian Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) did just that as he held off the group of favourites to win in La Spezia. Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) fought hard to keep up with the favourites, and in the process earned himself at least a day in the maglia rosa.
Formolo’s victory was not the only surprise of the day with Astana upping the ante and decimating the peloton on the final climb. Several riders were left with their overall ambitions taking a severe dent, with Fabio Aru (Astana), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Richie Porte and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal) among some of the few favourites to come out unscathed.
Here are a selection of reactions to the action packed Giro d’Italia stage 4.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)
"It was a really hard day. We knew that it would be hard and it was as difficult as I expected. In front we had Kreuziger so it was good for us… It was key to have somebody in that big group. The group was a very good one and Kreuziger helped us and calmed us down a little.
"Astana didn’t really want any surprise. They put an amazing rhythm on both the climb and the descent and there’s still a long way to go.
"They weren’t really big mountains but if we keep on this pace then the race is going to happen regardless. The heat makes it harder of course and the humidity isn’t great for us but we’ll see day by day."
Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin)
“Today we went full gas all day. On the first climb we rode a nice tempo and in the bunch we had 25 riders. Luckily we had Roman in the front group so Tinkoff didn’t work. I tried to go in a breakaway on the second last climb but the other riders caught me. I tried again on the last climb and luckily I could go to the finish line alone. Amazing."
“Today was my day... I’ve got another few gears to go through yet. It’s going to help me improve my career and give me confidence. It’s my first Giro so it’s already a dream to win a stage and we’re going to help Ryder Hesjedal to try and win something.”
Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge)
“You saw the emotion crossing the line. I was just stoked to keep the jersey in the team. I knew Cannondale were just up the road but I just couldn’t hold the emotion in to know that I was going to take the jersey and keep it in the team for another day.
“The plan was always to ride for a sprint yesterday and it’s never enjoyable being ridden back by your own team but I wasn’t disappointed at all. I went into yesterday’s stage fully aware that that was the plan so I knew that’s what it was going to come down to. I was just glad to be able to bounce back today and show that I’m going well and I deserve to have the jersey for at least a day.
“As you saw the last couple of days, we’re not going to go down without fighting. We’re up for the challenge whatever that might be. Esteban is a class climber and I think the guys will really have to wind the speed up to get rid of him. As you saw when they caught him on the top of that last climb he just jumped in no worries, I didn’t have the same experience. It took me half the descent to get back on but I got back on which is the main thing.”
Fabio Aru (Astana)
“It was a ridiculously hard stage and it was really warm today. The team was great and I want to thank them for their work.”
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