Buongiorno and welcome to live coverage of stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.
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Hello and welcome to the start of stage 4 of the Corsa Rosa.
The riders are lining up in the sun in Catanzaro and will soon begin the neutralised sector.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) is on the front row in the pink jersey. He also has pink touches on his shoes and pink par tape on his bike.
It seems that everyone has made it to Italy from Netherlands and enjoyed the first rest/travel day.
The crowds are huge in Catanzaro as the Calabrian city hosts a stage start for the first time.
The riders are riding the 7.5km transfer to Km 0.
That means they will ride a total of 207.5km today. We will have coverage of all the action.
The stage is a day for the sprinters but the rolling finale will be making for an exciting race.
The official road book describes the stage as 'wavy'.
The stage is wavy, but the first 120 km are virtually uncomplicated.
The route winds its way along wide fast-flow roads, with a few tunnels in between. Past Cetraro Marina, the route takes in the Bonifati climb and dives into the ss. 18, then it leaves the trunk road to tackle the second categorised climb of the day in San Pietro (with high gradients along the first half).
The route grows harder after the intermediate sprint in Scalea, with many climbs and descents, and twists and turns that lead into the final 10 kilometres.
The sun is out for the first stage in Italy, with temperatures of between 24-26C. however there is a slight breeze from the sea that could help any attacks to break up the peloton and distance the sprinters.
The riders have enjoyed a gentle descent from the centre of Catanzaro to the official race start in the valley. The flag will soon drop and we can expect the first attacks.
@Lotto_Soudal Tue, 10th May 2016 10:23:30
We have some early images of Kittel in the pink jersey via social media. It seems he has also gone for pink gloves and a pink helmet, as well as pink bar tape.
Here's another image of Kittel in pink as the riders roll out of the start.
The stage of now officially underway and we're awaiting the first attacks.
There is a climb after 5km that could inspire attacks. However Kittel or the other sprinters could also want to contest the first intermediate sprint that comes after just 35km.
After 8km of racing no break has formed so far.
This is the stage profile. You can see the climbs in the second half and especially the rolling roads of the finale.
Here we go! we have a first attack.
Boem (BAR), Mohoric (LAM) and Rosskopf (BMC) on the attack. They lead by 20 seconds but will the peloton let them go?
The three jumped away after 15km.
They were joined by Matthias Brändle (IAM) to create a four-rider attack.
180km remaining from 200km
After 20km of the stage the four have a gap of 3:00. The peloton sees happy to let go out front.
@katushacycling Tue, 10th May 2016 10:48:38
@MeridaProRoad Tue, 10th May 2016 10:48:33
@BMCProTeam Tue, 10th May 2016 10:52:32
This is Kittel's spare bike with pink bar tape.
It seems that Nippo Vini Fantini is chasing the break after the Italian team failed to place a man in the move.
Nippo has brought the gap down to 1:45.
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This is the current GC after three stages. With the rollig finale and time bonuses of 3-2-1 at the intermediate sprints and 10-6-4 at the finish, Kittel and Etixx face a tough job defending the pink jersey.
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step 9:13:10
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:09
3 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:00:15
4 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:17
5 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:21
6 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:22
7 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling 0:00:23
8 Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling 0:00:25
9 Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
10 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:00:26
11 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:28
Nippo are desperate to close down the attack or at least get a rider in it. Their case has made for a fast start to the stage.
These are the special jersey wearers during today's stage:
Maglia Rosa (pink), General Classification, sponsored by Enel - Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step)
Maglia Rossa (red), Sprints Classification, sponsored by Algida - Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step) - Jersey worn today by 3rd in classification, Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
Maglia Azzurra (blue), King of the Mountains Classification, sponsored by Banca Mediolanum - Maarten Tjallingii (Team Lotto NL - Jumbo)
Maglia Bianca (white), Young Rider Classification, sponsored by Eurospin - Tobias Ludvigsson (Team Giant - Alpecin).
This image shows (L-R) Tjallingii, Kittel and Viviani. The jersey missing is the white jersey of obias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin).
The four jersey wearers are given a special front row place at the start of each stage.
160km remaining from 200km
After almost an hour of racing the break of four riders leads by 1:10. They will have to fight hard if they want to stay away.
The early break of the stage.
Five riders from Nippo are working on the front, trying to pull the break back.
Marcel Kittel seemed relaxed and happy at the start, we will see how he handles the late climbs during the stage.
The gap is down to 30 seconds. We can expect a new break to form if these four are caught.
Race radio confirms the fast start. The riders covered 50.1km/h in the first hour.
It's been a tough first hour for Dimension Data.
@TeamDiData Tue, 10th May 2016 11:34:32
@BMCProTeam Tue, 10th May 2016 11:39:25
The race is on the Calabrian coast now, on plan flat roads. However the break is about to be caught.
There were huge crowds in the Netherlands and huge crowds in Catanzaro for the start of stage 4.
The peloton was about to close down the break but they have surged clear again.
The gap is back up to 1:50.
Nippo is still trying to get into the break and Eduard Grosu is in no-man's land between the two group.
@Etixx_QuickStep Tue, 10th May 2016 12:01:00
It seems the Etixx team is concerned about the finale of the stage, with DS Davide Bramati driving up to study the roads during the rest day.
Grosu is fighting on alone trying to go across to the break.
To read more about the pitfalls of the first week of the Giro d'Italia, click here.
There are several rolling stages, hilly finishes and a long climb up to the finish in Roccaraso on stage 6.
Grosu is still 1:00 back but the peloton is slipping back an is at 4:00.
The riders are heading up the Calabrian coast and are close to half way point now.
The riders will soon reach the feedzone and then soon after it is time for the first climb of the stage.
The four breakaway riders are working smoothly together as they head up the coast.
Kittel is at the back of the peloton after drifting back to speak to his team car.
The Etixx team is leading the peloton but the pace is steady.
Other teams are lined out behind Etixx, Astana also up front.
The roads are straight with the stunning sea on the rider's left and Calabrian hills on their right.
97km remaining from 200km
We're over the halfway point on today's 200km stage and the leaders have just 2:30 on the peloton. After a valiant effort, Grosu has been reeled back in leaving just four men out front.
One of the riders that could be in contention today is Arnaud Demare. Despite not yet winning a stage, the Frenchman has been making headlines in the past few days with the news that his Milan-San Remo victory is under investigation. His team manager Marc Madiot has responded to the news, saying that he's not worried about the investigation at all.
Fabian Cancellara and Matteo Tosatto having fun out on course with Cancellara giving Tosatto a gift of a pine cone. Well, it's the thought that counts.
87km remaining from 200km
With Grosu brought back, the peloton has eased up again and the gap is gonig back out again. David de la Cruz leads the bunch for Etixx-QuickStep with the gap now 3:15.
Marcel Kittel looking comfortable in the bunch at the moment. He is sitting in fourth wheel behind three of his teammates. It's a tough finale today and Kittel is going to have a tough job to keep hold of that maglia rosa. His 100% record in the Giro d'Italia road stages is almost certainly going to be stopped.
Fabian Cancellara also looking pretty happy today. He says that he's now through his illness and he's hoping for better fortunes in the coming stages. The Chianti time trial will obviously be a big goal for him.
Both Kittel and Cancellara were among our 10 riders to watch, as was the former maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin. Click here to find out who else made out list.
The leaders are onto the first classified climb of the day Bonifati, as the gap has come back down to just under the 3-minute mark.
Mountains classification leader Maarten Tjallingii is now near the front of the bunch as he looks to keep the blue jersey for at least another day.
Ruben Plaza has dropped back to the team car on this climb. He will be one of the key riders for Esteban Chaves when the race hits the mountains.
Most of the GC teams are up near the front of the bunch. Behind Etixx-QuickStep are Astana, Giant, LottoNL-Jumbo and there are a few Movistar men as well.
Lars Bak has been dropped from the bunch and is sitting behind one of the BMC cars.
74km remaining from 200km
Mohoric attacks and Rosskopf follows.
Mohoric is quickly caught but he attacks again but is caught by Boem this time. He wants the points at the top of the climb.
Now it is Rosskopf that has a go but Boem sails past him. Rosskopf is second over the KOM with Mohoric in third. Brandle couldn't keep up with his breakaway companions and sets his own pace to the top.
Mikel Landa is making his way back to the peloton with the help of Mikel Nieve. He must have had a mechanical problem. There's no panic for the Spanish rider and he easily makes it back.
Tjallingii is keeping station near the front. Will he have to attack for the points or will he be allowed to roll over at the head of the peloton?
The escape group has come back together for the descent and their advantage is going up again and is now at 3:30.
This year's Giro d'Italia has three rest days and yesterday the riders had their first one to allow them time to travel from the Netherlands to the south of Italy. We took the time to talk to Giant-Alpecin's Chad Haga, who is making his comeback from a serious injury. We posed him some of your questions and you can read his answers here.
Today's finish is probably a little harder than it initially looks on the road book. Astana leader Vincenzo Nibali believes that it will be one for the punchy riders.
"It’s actually quite a very strong climb, 18 per cent, everyone needs to be alert. I think it will be very good for explosive riders. I think that we’ll need to control things a little bit."
With the first climb done and dusted it is feeding time for the peloton. Lots of riders heading back to team cars as Cristian Rodriguez tries to squeeze more bidons than most into the back of his jersey.
The next ascent of the day is the climb of San Pietro, a 5.3km effort that peaks at 11 per cent.
56km remaining from 200km
The riders are approaching the second categorised climb of the day -San Pietro.
@katushacycling Tue, 10th May 2016 13:37:50
DS Davide Bramati is in the Etixx team car and spoke to Italian TV:
"After the break got away, we backed off with the chase. We think it's right we did our bit earlier but now Giant-Alpecin is on the front because it looks like Dumoulin wants to take the jersey back."
"We've got more than Kittle in the team and so we'll see what happens in the finale."
As the riders hit the climb, the four team cars behind the break have been stopped and so dropped back behind the peloton.
The gap is falling fast on the climb as the four breakaway riders struggle.
Marcel Kittel is near the back of the peloton. He is trying to limit his effort on the climb but the Giant team is setting a fast pace to try to spit out the sprinters.
Viviani has also slipped out the back. It will be interesting to see if the sprinters get back on.
Kittel is also slightly off the back, on Cancellara's wheel. He has two teammates with him.
Demare is also off the back, as in Caleb Ewan. All the sprinters are struggling on the climb.
51km remaining from 200km
Gruppo Compatto! The peloton is all back together.
There is still a kilometre to go on the climb. Kittel is breathing deep with his mouth wide open.
Caleb Ewan has his jersey open as he tries to limit his losses. The warm weather is also making for a difficult day.
Over the top of the climb Cunego and Pirazzi sprint for the mountain points.
Cunego got it but Pirazzi pushed him hard. Both have now sat up.
@TeamSky Tue, 10th May 2016 14:00:58
Kittel and other sprinters reached the summit 1:30 back.
The Astana team is now leading on the descent. Some sprinters may get back on but the final 30km of the stage is packed with other lesser, but tough climbs.
The road book describes the final as so:
The final kilometres are rather bumpy. With 10 km remaining to the finish, the route takes in the very steep Via del Fortino climb (with ramps topping out at 18%), and then drops into Praia on wide and curving roads that pose no real challenge. Beware of two tunnels in the first part of the descent (the least steep).
The home straight is 2,500 m long, on 7.5-m wide asphalt road, just curving slightly 400 m before the finish.
Modolo and Greipel were also dropped on the climb but look set to get back on soon.
@Etixx_QuickStep Tue, 10th May 2016 14:08:11
The peloton is lined out on the long straight roads of the descent. Kittel is off the back with 30 seconds to pull back.
The riders are back on the coast roads and immediately the attacks begin.
@EquipeFDJ Tue, 10th May 2016 14:16:45
Kittel is back in the peloton. But who knows how much it has hurt his legs.
Meanwhile we have another attack up the road. This time two AG2R rider have jumped away.
The two are Bonnafond and Dupont.
35km remaining from 200km
We have more riders on the attack.
No one team has control of the race at the moment.
At the same time other riders are trying to take on late bottles.
Bonnafond and Dupont are working together but hoping other riders come across the gap.
There are 15 riders chasing the two Frenchmen.
30km remaining from 200km
The 15 chasers are attacking each other rather than working together.
Vincenzo Nibali spoke about the dangers of the stage before the start to Italian television.
“We’ll see what happens. It’ll be an aggressive stage. In the finale you’ve got to be careful. The final climb is definitely not easy, you need to be up there, watch out, be carful and see what happens.”
The chasers have caught the two AG2R riders but they are all fighting a headwind.
Etixx has Serry and Jungels leading the chase at the head of the peloton.
Moser is in the front group. He is fifth in GC and so could be on the way to taking the pink jersey.
25km remaining from 200km
We have another reshuffle, with six riders edging clear.
However the peloton can see them, the race is coming back together.
Diego Ulissi spoke about the chances of the sprinters this morning at the start on Italian television.
“There’s a real chance that some of sprinters could stay on they're still very fresh. We’ll see who stays on in the finale."
Serry is in the attack, meaning that Etixx is not chasing.
Damiano Cunego (Nippo) has jumped from the peloton to try to cross to the attack of seven riders.
The race is now on a short climb on the outskirts of Scalea.
This is the start of the rolling roads. Hold onto your seats!
Cunego has tried to push on with the attack but the peloton is coming after them.
The Movistar team has now taken over the chase at the front of the peloton. They are trying to shut down the remains of the attack.
Wow! The riders are on a stunning twisting descent back to the coast. This is racing in the south of Italy.
Upfront De Marchi (BMC) is working to drag a group clear. Other riders are in the middle between the peloton. The race is very fluid at the moment. This could end in a sprint or a break could stay away.
15km remaining from 200km
The final climb starts with 10km. It is also followed by a twisting descent.
The attacks have spat out the sprinters again. Kittel has been distanced. We look set to have a new race leader after the stage.
Lampre is going for up front, with a teammate working for Ulissi.
Caleb Ewan is also out of the back.
Movistar has five riders on the front, with Astana lined out behind them.
The attackers have a gap of 20 seconds. Kittel is another 50 seconds back.
11km remaining from 200km
Valerio Conti is working for his Lampre leader Ulissi.
He's dragged the group clear of the peloton.
It will be fascinating to understand who is also in the attack group.
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) is there for sure. Today is his birthday.
Here we go! The attackers hit the Via Fortino.
Moser attacks from the peloton. He's chasing glory and the race leader's pink jersey.
The climb is snaking up the hill.
Ulissi is pushing the pace in the attack, as others struggle.
Ulissi is out of the saddle on the 18% section. He gets a gap but can he stay away?
Behind the GC riders are emerging, as Moser is caught.
The rest of the attack is caught by the peloton. Ulissi is out front.
The climb hurt but the false flat will hurt even more.
The peloton is split into several groups.
7km remaining from 200km
There are two tunnels on the descent. Ulissi emerges from the first an is still 15 seconds clear.
There is a group of 15 or so riders chasing him.
Ryder Hesjedal is one of the GC guys off the back of the front group.
Brambilla of Etixx tried to go off the front of the chase group but he has been cased down.
Hesjedal is trying to convince the riders in his group to work together. He's close to 1:00 back.
3km remaining from 200km
Ulissi is pacing his effort. He still leads by 13 seconds.
The Lampre rider cuts a corner at speed as he drives on.
Behind the Bardiani team is chasing with two riders. One is Colbrelli and he's a fast finishers.
2km remaining from 200km
It will be hard for Ulissi. He's on the long finishing straight now.
Scarponi attacks to line out the chasers.
1km remaining from 200km
Ulissi is fading but he's still clear. He can win if he has something left.
Here he comes!
Dumoulin is chasing to save a chance of taking pink.
At the line Ulissi wins it with arms in the air.
Dumoulin takes second an so will take back the pink jersey.
It was a tough, very selective finale, that was always going to crack the sprinters.
Ulissi won by just 5 seconds. Steven Kruisjwick was third, with Valverde taking the sprint.
Nibali was sixth in the sam time.
After three days in the Netherlands, Ulissi gives Italy its first stage win of 2016 on home roads.
This is the provisional stage result:
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida 04:46:51
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 00:00:05
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:00:06
5 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha
8 Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast - Venezuela
9 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
Dumoulin is back in pink and lead Bob Jungels (Etixx) by 20 seconds.
Ulissi is third, also at 20 seconds.
This is Ulissi's fifth stage win at the Giro d'Italia.
At the line Ulissi wins it with arms in the air.
"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."
Ulissi enjoys his moment on the podium, spraying the spumante high and wide. He also holds up five fingers to point out his stage wins here at the Giro.
On the podium, Dumoulin pulls on the pink jersey again.
He's slowly getting used to the protocol and kisses and also opens the spumante.
As he celebrates, other riders cross the line, finishing the stage.
The only consolation for Kittel is that he pulls on the red points jersey and will wear it on stage five to Benevento.
Moreno Moser (Cannondale) had a shot at taking the pink jersey. He made an attack but was soon pulled back.
“I gave it a go but in truth I didn’t feel great, I woke up feeling a bit bad. I tried to go early with 40km and again 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.”
Dumoulin talked about his day.
"It was a hard finale and we made it hard on the second climb and we dropped Kittel too. But then it was uncontroled racing, so we decided to put our guy in the break. He made in it and we thought he’d have a chance but it wasn't to be."
After pulling on the pink jersey and doing some initial interviews, Dumoulin is on the rollers, warming down.
@GiantAlpecin Tue, 10th May 2016 15:43:03
The riders are heading to their hotels along the Calabria seafront. They've earned a massage and dinner after an intense stage.
We have some other changes in the jerseys for tomorrow;s stage:
Maglia Rosa (pink), General Classification, sponsored by Enel - Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant - Alpecin)
Maglia Rossa (red), Sprint Classification, sponsored by Algida - Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step)
Maglia Azzurra (blue), Mountains Classification, sponsored by Banca Mediolanum - Damiano Cunego (Nippo - Vini Fantini)
Maglia Bianca (white), Young Rider Classification, sponsored by Eurospin - Bob Jungels (Etixx - Quick-Step)
We have the first images of Ulissi winning in Praia a Mare.
Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF):
“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.”
This is a great image of Ulissi winning alone with the chasers unable to catch him.
Here's Dumoulin in pink. He's having a great Giro so far but has played down his overall hopes.
Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) was gutted to lose the pink jersey after just a day.
“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.”
After two sprint wins by Kittel, Ulissi got the win and the kisses today.
As the dust settles on the stage, enjoy our full stage report an photo gallery. We'll be adding photos as they arrive from our photographers Tim De Waele and Roberto Bettini.
Click here for the report and photo gallery.
If you want to enjoy the video highlights of the stage and see Ulissi's strong attack in the finale, click here.
We've also got all the initial reactions from the protagonists of the stage.
That's it for today's live coverage from the Giro d'Italia, join us tomorrow for more as the riders continue to head north.
Wednesday's stage is over 233km and follows a rolling inland route from Praia a Mare in Calabria to Benevento in the Campania region behind Naples.
The final kilometre rises at 3% and comes after a tight ix-kilometre finishing circuit in town. As they say, there's never an easy day at the Giro d'Italia.
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