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Giro d'Italia stage 4 – Live coverage

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Buongiorno and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.

As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are signing on in Catania. 

As you may have seen, Ineos have confirmed to Cyclingnews that Geraint Thomas won't start today after his nasty crash during stage 3.

Click this link for the full story on Thomas' decision to abandon the Giro d'Italia.

Geraint Thomas out of Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas finished the stage despite his injuries

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The riders are signing on and the absence of Geraint Thomas confirms he will not continue in the Giro.

Cyclingnews European Editor Barry Ryan is at the start in Catania and spoke to Ineos DS Matteo Tosatto.

He revealed that Thomas has a small fracture in his pelvis that makes it dangerous for him to race on. 

 “Geraint woke up this morning and was able to walk far better than he could last night but still had some pain, so we decided to some extra scans in hospital. An x-ray didn’t show it but he’s got a small fracture in his pelvis. He can walk and could even ride his bike but it’d be dangerous to race," Tosatto told Cyclingnews.

Tosatto added: 

"When Geraint crashed he’d seemed to hurt himself but he got going again. We knew he’d suffered a big blow but moved up to the front of the peloton and we were hopeful he could limit any loss. But when they began to go hard, he had a lot of pain in his leg.

"His goal was win the Giro and so it was a blow to his moral when he lost 12 minutes. But life goes and and we’ve got to stay strong and think of the future.

"We started the Giro d’Italia aiming to win it and he showed he was on great form in the opening time trial. Sadly that’s cycling, there are moments of joy, sadness, celebration and pain."

Ineos do not have a second team leader for the Giro and so will now try to win stages. 

"We’ve got to look ahead, there are 18 chances for us to win stages. Our team is strong, we’ll change our goals and keep racing," Tosatto said.

"We’ve got the two time trials that suit Rohan Dennis and Filippo Ganna. Our riders are fighters and we’re optimistic we’ll do well." 

Ineos doctor Phil Riley gave further details on the fracture. 

“Geraint had an MRI and a CT scan this morning which revealed a small undisplaced fracture in the lower part of the pelvis which wasn’t picked up on the X-rays yesterday. As a precaution he will be withdrawn from the race as it's an injury that could easily be aggravated,” he said.

Geraint Thomas after crossing the finish line on Mount Etna

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Geraint Thomas said he wanted to start today but the fracture changed everything.  

“It’s so frustrating. I’d put so much work in to this race. I did everything I could and feel like I was in just as good, if not better shape, than when I won the Tour. I was feeling really good. So for it just to end like this is gutting," he said via Ineos.

“I was really up for starting today. I woke up and wanted to start with the boys and at least help them go for stages over the next few days, but deep down I knew something wasn’t right, so we went to get these extra scans. It does make the decision easier when there’s a fracture in some ways, because obviously I don’t want to do anymore damage.”

The riders are in the 7.1km neutralised sector. 

As the riders prepare for the official start, we can see new race leader João Almeida in the pink jersey.

Yesterday's stage included a number of dramatic moments, with Caicedo winnnig the stage,  and João Almeida taking pink by just a few hundreds of a second - the difference between him and Caicedo.   

To read our full report, study the full results and our huge photo gallery, click here:  

Giro d'Italia: Caicedo wins on Mount Etna as Thomas, Yates lose ground

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here we go! the director's car accelerates and the stage starts.

The stage is only 140km long, it is expected to finish in a sprint but there is the long, gradual climb of Portella Madrazzi, that could have an impact on the race. 

We have the first attacks and the break seems to have gone. 

Geraint Thomas posted his own message on thoughts about his crash on social media.

We have three riders in the break. The peloton let them go from the off, with the sprint teams clearly thinking the climb will not be a problem and that they can chase and catch any break. 

We will see on and over the climb.  

130km to go

Riders in the peloton are stopping for natural breaks. That helps the trio of attackers open their gap to 2:00.

Elia Viviani has still to win a race since moving to Cofidis. He is upbeat that today could be his day.

The three riders in the break are: 

Simon Pellaud (Androni)

Kamil Gradek (CCC)

Marco Frapporti (Vini Zabu)

Their lead is up to 3:30 as Groupama lead the chase, thinking of Arnaud Demare and the sprint finish. 

The riders are riding near the coast, with the road rising and falling as it passes through small villages and fields.  

This was the view during the ride out of Catania.

11km to go

After some climbing, the road descends for a spell through Giarre and Fiumefreddo. Soon after the climb begins.

The climb is close to 20km long but is very gradual, with a gradient of just 4%. 

This video shows the stage profile and how the climb could make it difficult for the sprint teams to keep the break under control. 

Fortunately they also have 40km of flat roads before the finish to chase them down.

Mikkel Bjerg of UAE is also on the front, helping controlling the breakaway. He was 3rd in the opening TT, worked long and hard on stage 2, was in the break of the day on stage 3 and is doing it again today. Respect. 

Crash! A touch of wheels means Ben Swift goes down.

A UAE rider is also involved.

With 95km to go, the gap to the break is still at 4:00.

The chase is on as the start of the climb approaches. Cofidis have put a rider on the front to up the pace. 

Viviani seemed up beat this morning and convinced it can be his day.

Another crash!

Caused by a bidon yet again.

It's Pieter Weening of Trek. He took a bidon but then hit it and crashed hard. 

He got caught-up with his bike and crashed hard. He also took down a rider from Movistar. 

Fortunately Weening is up and riding again. He seems in pain but is moving.

The Movistar rider involved was Eduardo Sepúlveda.

85km to go

The road starts to climb now. 

It's time for the intermediate sprint and Frapport leads the riders over the line and so takes 12 points. 

There are some lesser points available for the sprinters in the bunch. Will they sprint? 

Sagan, Demare and Gaviria are looming.

Ulissi leads the points competition and is ready to sprint too.

 Gaviria beats Matthews for the 5 points. Sagan and Ulissi was there too. 

If you're just joining us, the big news of the day is that Geraint Thomas didn't start today. 

Click below for the full story. 

Geraint Thomas out of Giro d'Italia 

It was a dramatic stage to Mount Etna yesterday. To fully understand what happened after Thomas and Simon Yates lost time, check out our analysis by Barry Ryan.

'No control at all': Thomas and Yates' Etna setbacks blow Giro d'Italia wide open 

The road to the summit of the Portella Mandrazzi winds up along the valley. 

Behind in the peloton, Bora seem ready to up the pace and perhaps try to hurt some of their rival sprinters.

Domenico Pozzovivo was forced to stop but is being helped back to the peloton by a NTT teammate.

The Bora tempo is hurting some in the peloton and spitting out some sprinters.

There is still 8km to climb and so Bora could shape up the stage today and help Sagan's chances by shaking out the peloton.  

Pellaud is leading the trio in the break but they have lost a minute as the climb hurts. 

Young Italian Matteo Fabbro is setting the fast pace on the front for Bora. 

Bora's work is paying off.  Fernando Gaviria has been spat out of the peloton.  

Elia Viviani has also been distanced. 

Their teams are trying to pace them so they can hopefully get back on during the long descent and 40km ride to the finish on the north-eastern tip of Sicily in Villafranca Tirrena.

Alvaro Hodeg of Deceuninck is also dropped. They will form a chase group but it will be a pursuit match all the way to the finish.

Despite Bora's acceleration, Arnaud Demare is still in the peloton. He is hurting but hanging on.

Upfront the gap to the peloton for the trio has melted to 1:20. They are going deep but Bora have spoilt their chances of staying away.

Sagan is also suffering but is ready to go deep in the hope the pace hurts his rivals.

He is on the radio, asking who has been dropped so he can judge if the surge in pace is worth it.  

Pellaud atttacks as the summit near. He wants to take the 9 KOM points and open a gap for the descent. 

The roads are wet due to the mist.

Pellaud takes the 9 KOM points, with the peloton only 1:25 back.  

Trek are leading the peloton to protect Nibali on the wet, misty and technical descent.

The road are wet and slick but then dry in other parts. 

Ciccone went wide on one curve. Others are being more careful.

Groupama noticed that Demare was in the peloton over the summit.

Pellaud is trying to defend fast in the mist. He lost his sunglasses but seems happy.

The roads are soaked now but Pellaud tucks low on his bike trying to find speed.

A marshall flags a wet hairpin as the roads twists and turns. The peloton is lined out in the thick mist.

The peloton hits the sector of cobbled roads. The road in this part of Sicily are often made from Volcanic rock slabs that are polished smooth by all the cars. 

Fortunately it is a short sector.  

Riders in the peloton slow to stay safe but Trek is still pushing the pace.  

This is what the volcanic-paved roads look like. 

50km to go

Pellaud still leads the peloton by 1:30. Bora is riding with Trek and will no doubt drive the pace on the flat to ensure the rival sprinters don't get back. 

Pellaud can see the coast now and the road is drying out. 

The peloton is at 1:25 but lined out and splintered.

40km to go

Bora is still driving the peloton, making it hard for UAE to drag Gaviria back up. 

They have 40km to try but it will be a big ask.  

After losing team leader Geraint Thomas due to a fractured pelvis on stage 3 of the Giro d’ItaliaIneos Grenadiers have been forced back to the drawing board and – for the second time in just a matter of months – must re-set their game plan after losing their GC lynchpin. 

Cyclingnews Editor Daniel Benson analysis how Ineos might try to bounce back.

What next for Ineos Grenadiers after Geraint Thomas' Giro d'Italia departure?

Geraint Thomas rides behind his Ineos teammates

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

with 30km to go, Pellaud leads the peloton by 50 seconds. in there are Sagan and Demare, with Gaviria and Viviani close to getting back on.  

Viviani is in a first chase group and gets back, with Gaviria's group not far back.

It'll be fascinating to see how the sprint shakes out and who has a strong lead out and who is tired after the chase.

With 25km to go, the race follows the coast. There is a slight cross wind from the riders' left but it is only 20km/h. 

Pellaud is first at the intermediate sprint but João Almeida wins the sprint to take second and gain two bonus seconds. His teammate Ballerini took the final 1 second bonus.

That means João Almeida opens up a two-second lead in the GC. 

If he and Jonathan Caicedo finish in the peloton and on the same time, Almeida will stay in pink. 

22km to go. 

Pellaud is caught as Bora and Groupama drive the pace at 50km/h to stop Gaviria getting back on.

The Gaviria group is 30 seconds down but have been chasing for a while now. 

20km to go

Viviani is already back on.

12km to go and the pursuit match is on. Gaviria seems fresh on the wheel of his UAE teammates but they look tired. 

The gap is 35 seconds now.

This is as much a psychological battle now, rather a sprint battle.  

However all the work by Bora and Groupama could leave them tired and exposed, helping Viviani and Cofidis.

6km to go and it seems the Gaviria group will not get back to contest the sprint.

Indeed, they sit up with 6km to go and throw in the towel. No sprint for Gaviria today.

Up front the sprint teams are forming to lead out their rider. 

The finish is testing today, with three turns in the final two kilometre.

The final 500m are along the seafront with the wind blowing from the riders' right. 

Alvaro Hodeg has also failed to catch the peloton and so won't contest the sprint.

This will be Demare- Viviani-Sagan battle.   

Isreal also fancy their chances, perhaps with Cimolai.  

2km to go! 

Israel lead out. 

The roads are wet!

Cofidis have 3 riders for Viviani but here come Groupama.

Groupama lead out.

Sagan leads out but Demare came up. 

We need a photo finish but Demare gets it! 

Sagan and Demare kicked at the same time but the Frenchman held his speed just a little longer and won it with a bike throw. 

Davide Ballerini of Deceuninck was also up there. 

Viviani was on the wheels, squeezed through one gap but then couldn't find a way through. 

We're still waiting for the official result but it seems Demare got it.

Demare is heading to the podium area, he seems to have been confirmed as the winner.

Official results have confirmed Demare beat Sagan, with Ballerini third.

This is the top ten for the stage

1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 3:22:13
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
6 Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
7 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9 Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
10 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren

The peloton was spread down the road and so several GC riders had to fight to stay on the wheels and not lose time. 

Two Vini Zabu riders crashed at the finish and remained on the ground. They are being treated by the race paramedics.

Groupama seem happy to see Demare take his 11th win of the 2020 season.

It was close but this photo shows Demare won it.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Demare admitted he was surprised to win after such a close sprint.

It was this close. 

Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) retained his pink jersey and indeed extended his overall lead, going head-to-head with Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) for the bonus seconds and the second intermediate sprint. 

The two were tied for time ahead of the stage and, despite Caicedo’s best efforts to grab pink, Almeida got the better of him and now leads the race by two seconds.

VILLAFRANCA TIRRENA ITALY OCTOBER 06 Joao Almeida of Portugal and Team Deceuninck QuickStep Pink Leader Jersey during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 4 a 140km stage from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena girodiitalia Giro on October 06 2020 in Villafranca Tirrena Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

This is the new general classification after stage 4:


1 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 11:06:36
2 Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:02
3 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:00:39
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:44
5 Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:55
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:57
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:01:01
8 Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:13
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:15
10 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:17

There are lots of questions about Miles Scotson's late attack. 

He was trying to force other teams to chase but that made it harder for Demare to win. 

He got a great lead out by Jacopo Guarnieri and then finish it off with superb speed.   

Here's Demare on the podium.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick Step) extended his lead to two seconds thanks to taking second place in an intermediate sprint. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is a great image of the sprint finish and just how close it was on the line.

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

To see our growing photo gallery, full report and full results, click below.

Giro d'Italia: Démare victorious in Villafranca Tirrena as Thomas drops out

(Image credit: Getty Images)

João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick Step) talked about the battle for the time bonus and for the maglia rosa.

This is another nice image via Groupama-FDJ.

Demare said of his win: 

“I thought I was second or third and then they told me I won,” Démare said after a long wait for officials to review the photo finish and confirm the second Giro stage win of his career.

“I have luck on my side. It’s special. It was the bike throw that made the difference.” 

These are the brief highlights of the stage, including the close sprint finish. 

After the stage finish i n Villafranca Tirrena, the teams dashed to Messina to catch the short boat ride to the Italian mainland for stage 5 in the Calabrian hills.  

Unfortunately Vini Zabu rider Luca Wackermann is in hospital after a crash near the finish. He and teammate Etienne van Empel hit the barriers after a TV helicopter was accused of flying too low and blowing the barriers into the road. 

Giro d'Italia: Wackermann taken to hospital after TV helicopter accused of blowing barriers into the road

Before we wrap-up our live coverage from stage 4,  we wanted to share some big tech news after Canyon announced the launch of the new Canyon Aeroad, more than a year since a prototype appeared beneath Mathieu Van der Poel ahead of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships. 

Click here for all the details. 

Canyon launches new Aeroad for 2021

New Canyon Aeroad 2021

(Image credit: Canyon)

Thanks for joining us for all our live coverage. We'll be back on Wednesday with full pre-race, all stage and post-stage updates as the Giro d'Italia climbs into the hills of Calabria for stage 5 from Mileto to Camigliatello Silano. 

With a major climb late on the 225km stage, it should be another very interesting stage.

We'll leave you with this great sprint shot of the sprint by Bettini Photo. 

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

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