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Giro d'Italia 2015: Stage 4


Welcome to live coverage of the Giro d'Italia stage 4 from Chiavari to La Spezia

Welcome to stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia. It's another beautiful day in Italy as the riders continue to sign on before the start. This was the scene in Chiavari this morning.

Let's start with some good news this morning. There was obvious concern about Domenico Pozzovivo after his nasty looking crash yesterday. The good news is that he is ok and hasn't broken any bones. You can read a full update on his condition here.

Michael Matthews secured Orica-GreenEdge's second stage win of this year's Giro d'Italia, his second in the pink jersey. This is how yesterday finished.

The stage win earned Matthews a few bonus seconds and extended his lead in the overall classification. However, with another lumpy stage today, Orica-GreenEdge will have to work hard to defend the jersey. Here are how things stand just ahead of the stage start.

And the riders are off!

The attacks are already coming with a LottoNL-Jumbo rider just ahead of the main peloton.

While the riders try to form a break, we have some more news on Pozzovivo. The race organisers have announced that the Italian is out of hospital.

Adam Hansen is now out front and trying to form a break. Nobody wants to go with him though and he's left dangling a few metres ahead of the peloton. Hansen was in the breakaway yesterday, which was actually his birthday. He spoke to Cyclingnews after the stage.

Here is what the riders face today.

The mountains classification leader Pavel Kochetkov made an appearance near the front of the peloton. With a climb coming so early in the stage, will he make an attack to keep his position in that jersey?

After a few solo attempts we now have a group of around 6 riders off the front, initiated by CCC Sprandi, with more riders looking to bridge the gap.

That group has been brought back and for the third time today, Sylvain Chavanel is trying it alone.

135km remaining from 150km

There is no abating at the front of the peloton and Vini Fantini have a dig as they hit the first climb of the day.

Gianni Meersman has already been dropped. He suffered a heavy crash yesterday and it doesn't look good for his Giro d'Italia.

There's a group of around 10 riders out front now and this looks like it could be the one to go but we'll have to wait and see.

If he can hang on to the finish today, it could be another stage victory for Michael Matthews. Yesterday we took a closer look at the Scott Foil that he's riding at the race and you can see that here.

129km remaining from 150km

The front of the peloton has flattened out as they slow the pace down. It looks like we've got our break of the day, as Kochetkov tried to bridge the gap.

The front group has split up and we now have four riders off the front. They are Franco Pelizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Andrey Zeits (Astana) and Mauro Finatto (Southeast).

126km remaining from 150km

The four leaders have been brought back into that second group on the road and Zardini has another go. He really wanted to get away today but nobody follows him.

Pellizotti has set off in chase of Zardini who is approaching the summit of this third category climb.

It appears that Roman Kreuziger has made it into that big group ahead of the peloton. Are Tinkoff-Saxo planning something or are they just trying to take the pressure off?

123km remaining from 150km

Zardini appears to be distancing Pellizotti on the descent. However, the duo have a 24 second lead on the big group behind with the peloton close to two minutes behind.

The gap to the peloton increases to 3.33 but the chasers are closing in on the two leaders. They're only 17 seconds behind.

Team Sky and Etixx-QuickStep have been doing some work on the front of the main group, with Tinkoff-Saxo taking a bit of a back seat after two hard days on the front.

More attacks coming off the front of the group, this could take a long time to settle down with such a big group out front, as Michael Matthews makes his way back to the peloton after taking a comfort break.

There are only 17 seconds between the latest escape attempt and the big chasing group. Here is a list of the riders that have been confirmed as part of the group.

There is a crash in the middle of the peloton. Calvin Watson and Eugenio Alafaci have been involved along with Tinkoff-Saxo's Chris Juul Jensen.

Alafaci was caught up int he accident on stage two when a spectator tried to ride along with the bunch. You can take a look at the astonishing incident here.

Ten riders have now formed a splinter group ahead of the big group on the road. Those riders are: Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin), Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), and Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo).

The group has now expanded to 14 riders with Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Mauro Finatto (Androni Giocattoli) and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida) joining them.

98km remaining from 150km

Several members of the second group on the road appears to have eased up, but they'll have a long wait for the peloton. Dario Cataldo (Astana) is chasing the leaders though but he's 1:00 behind.

There are actually 16 riders in the leading group, they are: Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin), Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge), Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Mauro Finetto (Southeast) and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Amdrey Amador (Movistar), Jonathan Mosalve (Southeast).

Cataldo is doing his own time trial here. He's closing the gap but it's not coming down that quickly. It could take him a lot longer to get across to that 16-man group.

90km remaining from 150km

With the help of Zeits, Cataldo is now in the leading group. We now have 17 men at the head of the race.

89km remaining from 150km

Among the riders in this chasing group are Atapuma, Puccio, Kreuziger, Szmyd and Kochetkov.

86km remaining from 150km

Despite having a rider up front, Tinkoff-Saxo are working on the front of the peloton. Curious decision.

83km remaining from 150km

The chasing group has now made contact with the leaders, it is a huge group out front with 81km to go.

Ok, so here we go. The riders who are in that massive group at the front are:

79km remaining from 150km

78km remaining from 150km

Crash for Martin Keizer after he collides with a young spectator. The spectator is currently being looked at by the race doctor.

It's not the first time a rider has got entangled with a fan. On stage two a fan tried to ride along with the peloton but ended up causing a crash.

Keizer has made it back after that collision with a fan.

Pellizotti and Montaguti have a small gap on the other leaders on this descent.

Problems for Danielson as his chain appears to get jammed. Danielson is riding through injury at the moment, he was one of the riders to come down on stage 2.

69km remaining from 150km

There is a lot of movement at the front and it's having an impact as riders go off the back. Visconti and Amador now going together along with Pellizotti.

66km remaining from 150km

It looks like we've lost around 10 riders from that lead group but Cannondale, Sky, and Movistar all have more than one rider in the escape.

Simon Clarke is the best placed rider of the front group at just six seconds behind Michael Matthews. His teammate Esteban Chaves is also within striking distance of the maglia rosa.

Colbrelli and Moinard are the next to have a go. It's going to be survival of the fittest for the escapees as the group continues to be reduced by these attacks.

Moinard and Colbrelli continue at the front on this descent as the peloton finally reach the start of the climb, still led by Tinkoff-Saxo.

Keizer has joined Moinard and Colbrelli now. Visconti is also there.

Colbrelli takes the points at the intermediate sprint as more riders join up with this front group.

Chad Haga has to do a little bunny hop to avoid a crash as he overcooks a corner.

56km remaining from 150km

Zardini has gone again and he is followed by Amador and Zeits.

53km remaining from 150km

It's Colbrelli in that front group of four but he has just been distanced.

52km remaining from 150km

Monfort and Formolo have now made it to the front group, bringing their number up to 6.

Monfort and Formolo have now made it to the front group, bringing their number up to 7.

Michael Matthews is dropped as the main peloton is decimated on this third category climb.

51km remaining from 150km

Hesjedal is another rider that is struggling on this climb as Astana put the hammer down. Contador looks isolated with only Michael Rogers for company.

Sky have two riders with Porte while Uran looks like he's on his own.

Simon Clarke has made it over to the leaders. That's good news for Orica-GreenEdge after Matthews lost touch with the peloton. He could still keep the maglia rosa in the team.

The chasers have crossed the top of the second climb of the day 25 seconds behind the leading group.

Our apologies, Clarke was not in the front group on the road but the second. He looks like he's struggling after spending yesterday in the break also.

44km remaining from 150km

Behind these seven leaders the remaining escapees have split into two groups. The first is just 24 seconds behind while the second is at 1:24.

Formolo takes the full points at the top of this second climb as the gap to the chasers grows ever so slightly.

40km remaining from 150km

Astana have five riders in the peloton while Sky have three and Tinkoff-Saxo have two.

Montaguti, Pellizotti and Zardini are chasing the leaders but they appear to be losing time. They're now almost two minutes back.

Matthews has lost a shed load of time to the peloton. He is over five minutes back and he'll definitely be waving goodbye to his maglia rosa.

The peloton did bring the gap down to under six minutes but it's slowly growing again as they ride along a plateau before the descent proper.

32km remaining from 150km

The gap is coming down at an astonishing rate. The leaders now only have 4:20 on the peloton.

Monsalve is attacking alone. He has just nine seconds on the chasers.

Pellizotti and Zeits are feeling the pace and they've both cracked.

30km remaining from 150km

The peloton has been reduced to less than 30 riders and the gap to the leaders has come down to 3:17.

24km remaining from 150km

There is still one climb to go today. The climb of Biassa begins with 18km to go and crests with just 10km to the finish. Most of that is descent and it could be an opportunity for someone to attack and take the victory.

16km remaining from 150km

Latest time check has maglia rosa Michael Matthews almost 13 minutes back. The peloton are now only 2:10 minutes behind the leaders.

There has been a lot of chopping and changing in this front group but here is how is looks with just 15km to go.

Clarke is the virtual maglia rosa and could still take it even if the leaders are caught by the peloton.

Tom Danielson was in the break earlier today but he's now back helping out Ryder Hesjedal who was dropped on that climb. Lots of big contenders losing out today.

13km remaining from 150km

Visconti and Moinard are chasing down Formolo who is about to begin the final climb.

Formolo only has a handful of seconds ahead of the two chasers and they can see him ahead on the climb.

12km remaining from 150km

Also in that group of favourites is Lotto-Soudal's Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

Rogers has been dropped and Alberto Contador is now on his own in the group of favourites.

Dont' forget though, Kreuziger is still out front. He can drop back if his team leader needs him.

Niemiec and Nieve are the next riders to go from that group of favourites. Who'd have thought we'd see the race blow up like this today?

Formolo is still out front alone ahead of Visconti and Moinard. A great ride by the young Italian.

Tiralongo takes up the pace setting in the peloton after another Astana rider dropes off. Aru still has two riders with him though.

10km remaining from 150km

Aru goes ont he attack and he's quickly followed by Contador and Porte. Van Den Broeck is chasing the trio.

The Aru group has already caught the second group of favourites and Contador now has Kreuziger with him.

Uran has been distanced and is chasing back on.

Formolo can almost see the top of the final climb as he passes under the 10km to go banner.

Formolo is on the descent towards La Spezia. He has over 30 seconds on the two chasers.

8km remaining from 150km

Simon Clarke has been dropped from the main group but Orica-GreenEdge still have Chaves who could keep the maglia rosa in the team.

Uran is nowhere to be seen in this group of favourites. He couldn't respond to the attack of Aru.

5km remaining from 150km

Davide Formolo has 5km to go. The Italian is only in his second year as a professional and this is his first Grand Tour. If he were to win today it would be his first as a professional.

3km remaining from 150km

Formolo is wriggling all over the bike. It's going to be touch and go for the 22-year-old.

2km remaining from 150km

Flamme rouge for Formolo

Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana now pulling in the group of favourites but this is for Formolo

Davide Formolo wins stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia

What an incredible day of racing capped off by a great solo win from Formolo

Simon Clarke wins the sprint for second puts himself into pink

Clarke celebrating like he won the stage though, let's hope he hasn't made that mistake.

Monsalve took third place with Aru, Contador and Porte all finishing safely within that second group on the road.

The new maglia rosa Simon Clarke says after the stage that he knew Formolo was up the road. "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."

Here is the top 10 from today's stage:

With the pink jersey changing hands here is how the GC looks after stage 4.

Stage winner Davide Formolo spoke following the stage. He said: "I tried to go in a breakaway in 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."

That's it from us today. We're already building a gallery and full race report, which you can find here. Subscribe to our Youtube page for reaction from the stage too and don't forget to tune in tomorrow for live coverage of stage 5.

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