Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) claimed victory on the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia to Praia a Mare with a well-timed attack in the final kilometres. Tom Dumoulin and his Giant-Alpecin team chased hard to deliver the Dutchman into second and put him back into the pink jersey after Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) was dropped from the peloton on the final climb.
"I’m really happy because we did a great job as a team. Valerio Conti was exceptional in the way he dragged the attack away. I gave it everything on the climb and was worried I’d be caught on the descent but I hung and got it. When I looked around with 10 metres to go, I realised I’d got it. It’s a special moment.
"It’s a really nice feeling. I’m from Italy so it’s great to win in the Giro. When I was small I dreamed of things like this, it’s a beautiful emotion. I started the season very well, of course in the Classics I was very up and down and I’m very happy that I kept my form into the Giro and it was perfect today.
"Of course, we had Mohoric in the break this morning and we wanted to let the others to the work and rest behind. When the break went it was a bit nervous again and Conti was excellent in getting into that second group and that helped me to get across to him. I was a bit scared that if I attacked on that final climb that I wouldn’t have the legs at the end. Conti was great and he did a great job to do most of that climb for me."
Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida)
"We’re a team that is looking for stage wins. We don’t really have a GC contender and we don’t have a Kittel either so it’s not always easy to get wins. Of course, we had a plan, we had the legs as well, it was a great move.
"I gave everything, I gave my soul on the road for Diego to get up that climb. Of course, we have a great relationship. I race with my heart for him and it was a great victory. I’m glad he won."
"It was actually a bit harder than I expected. We knew it was a tricky final and probably too hard for Marcel. When we were riding on it I thought this is definitely too hard for Marcel so we decided to make it a hard race and to try and take pink. We did that but then the race went really uncontrollable actually, after the second GPM, but we had different cards to play with because we had Georg Preidler and Chad Haga close in the GC. They did really well and Georg was in that last breakaway and was the best placed rider so it was perfect because we didn’t need to chase. We were hoping that he would take the pink because he really deserved it but then we caught it back and I’m back on the podium again.
"It was very uncontrollable but we just gambled. We had different cards to play with and we hoped for that. We were gambling that other teams would close it back and they did. I think that it was a nice final to watch on TV but not the right winner, I hoped to win."
"My objective is to try and get a result, to try and get a stage win. I had a go and I had this chance to take some GPM points and hopefully a jersey. It went really well today. It’s not easy to defend the blue jersey but I’ll give it a try. I’m still looking for a stage win.
"It’s made me feel a lot better about things. I’ll try to look after it and try to keep it."
"Of course I’m disappointed that I lost it. In the ideal scenario I would have liked to keep it as a long as possible but it was only one day so I’m very happy that I had it. It was a very tough stage, with a lot of up and down. It was a very fast race too and that made it impossible for me to defend the jersey.
"It’s very special. I felt a bit Italian now because this is also brings a bit of Italian characteristics with it (the pink jersey). Just the colours are really cool. I really loved having all the pink on the bike and my clothing. The fans, of course, they know what it means to have that jersey and it was great to have it, even for one day."
"I gave it a go but in truth I didn’t feel great, I woke up feeling a bid bad. I tried to go early with 40km and later. I could have waited and done better, but that’s racing. I want to thank team for giving me a chance.
"This was a good test for the team and we showed we were united and worked well together. We want to win the Giro d’Italia and he’s on form, so am I. Who knows, perhaps there will be more chances for me later in the race.
"I’m a Moser and so there’s pressure on me but I try not to be effected by it. The media talked about me being the fourth generation Moser to wear pink but I try to take something positive from it."
"We tried to do something today and split the peloton with 30km to go. They the guys worked for me. Pirazzi got away once and then they tried to set me up for the sprint. Unfortunately my pedal broke and that put an end to my chances.
"I think we all suffered in the heat today on the climbs. We always need time to get going and that was the case today."