Full live coverage of the first big GC hit-out of the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia.
- Stage 3 report: Gaviria rides into pink after crosswinds blow peloton to pieces
- Stage 4 preview: Mount Etna a fitting stage for Giro d'Italia's leading characters
- Froome hit by car on training ride
Good morning, and a warm welcome to Cyclingnews' live race centre for stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia. And I mean that - we're heading up a volcano today. Yes, the early rest day is out of the way, and it's time for the first summit finish of the race, and therefore the first big hit-out between the overall contenders. Mount Etna awaits.
We're in Cefalu, on the island of Sicily, after the race transferred from Sardinia on the rest day yesterday. The stage will get underway at 12.00 CET.
Before we go anywhere, let's get this bit of essential reading out of the way. It's Barry Ryan's preview of the stage, complete with a detailed look at the 17.9km climb and what we might expect from the GC men on this early test.
Our race leader is present and correct - here's Fernando Gaviria speaking to Eurosport. The Colombian earned the pink jersey by winning a thrilling stage 3 which was blown apart by his Quick-Step team in the late crosswinds. You can catch up with how that all played out right here.
Here's how the GC stands. It will look nothing like this in six hours' time, mind.
1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 14:45:16
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:00:09
3 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:13
4 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
5 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida
6 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 0:00:17
7 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data 0:00:23
9 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
10 Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
All eyes on this man
Vincenzo Nibali signs on in his home region of Sicily in the 100th edition of the Giro. The Bahrain-Merida riders hails from Messina - indeed, he is known as 'the Shark of Messina' - which is where tomorrow's stage finishes, and there's no shortage of excitement at the prospect of him taking the race lead today and riding into his hometown in pink tomorrow.
One of our men in Italy, Stephen Farrand, spoke to Nibali, and his coach Paolo Slongo, about today's stage, and you can read their thoughts in this piece, which includes a nice headline pun from Mr Farrand.
The riders have rolled out of Cefalu for the start of the stage. They'll face a short neutralised ride to kilometre-zero, whereupon the start proper will be given and the attacks will come from the breakaway hopefuls.
A minute's silence was held on the start line in memory of Wouter Weylandt, who tragically lost his life at the Giro six years ago to the day.
The flag drops and stage 4 is underway. There should be no shortage of interest in getting into the break today.
@giroditalia Tue, 9th May 2017 10:12:23
We have some riders on the attack, including Eugenio Alafaci, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg, Jan Polanc, and Pavel Brutt. Others clip off in pursuit, while the peloton remains close at hand.
It looks like Davide Villella and Quentin Jauregui are half a minute behind that quartet. The peloton is just over a minute back at the moment.
The quartet extends its lead to two minutes as they make their way along Sardinia's northern coast. Villella and Jauregui have been absorbed back into the bunch.
161km remaining from 181km
This looks to be the day's breakaway. There's a big climb looming, however, before the 60km mark, and it remains to be seen how much the peloton - namely the teams who missed out - will slacken the leash.
Eugenio Alafaci (Trek-Segafredo)
Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data)
Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates)
Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo)
The breakaway riders add another minute to their advantage - three minutes now.
Chris Froome hit by car
There has been some big news today as Chris Froome was run down by a driver in a hit-and-run incident while out on a training ride. Froome posted a photo of his mangled Pinarello, damaged beyond repair, on Twitter, bug thankfully informed us that he came off physically unharmed. Here's the story:
147km remaining from 181km
Quick-Step lead the peloton but they take their foot off the gas and the gap to the break goes out to more than five minutes.
After BMC co-leader Rohan Dennis lost a heap of time on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how Tejay Van Garderen fares today. Also interesting is what he's riding and, thanks to our very own Josh Evans, we have detailed look at the American's BMC bike, complete with photo gallery and spec sheet.
134km remaining from 181km
It has been a zippy start to the day, with the breakaway covering almost 47 kilometres in the first hour of racing.
In 10km time, the riders will hit the first of the two climbs on today's route, the Portella Femmina Morta. It's a long one, at a beastly 32.7km, but is ranked as second-category given the fairly gentle gradients - averaging around 5%.
A first shot of the break from the race organisers
The official average speed for the first hour of racing was a shade under 51km/h.
With the Mount Etna test coming so early in the race, will the GC contenders take a conservative approach, or will some be tempted to grasp the opportunity to make differences? Only time will tell, but Team Sky's Geraint Thomas is expecting action.
An update from the Cyclingnews car at the Giro, which is nearing the finish line. Barry Ryan tells us that it's chilly and misty over the top of the fist climb, which seems to go on forever, without being difficult. At the base of Etna the conditions are sunny and clear.
121km remaining from 181km
5:05 is the gap as Polanc leads the breakaway quartet up the lower slopes of the first climb.
@quickstepteam Tue, 9th May 2017 11:24:18
Quick-Step are lined out on the front of the peloton with all their riders - the pink jersey of Fernando Gaviria last in line. They're setting out a steady, gentle rhythm at the moment.
6:15 is the gap now as the four breakaway men, still led by Polanc, are making considerably more effort than the peloton.
"We are not going to see the one who will win the Giro, but maybe the one who will lost it"
That's what Movistar DS Jose Luis Arrieta told Eurosport this morning. He adds that it will be a 'waiting game' and hints that Quintana won't strike out today, explaining that the Colombian will feel stronger and stronger as the race goes on.
113km remaining from 181km
6:50 is the gap now
As the breakaway riders extend their lead to the seven-minute mark, questions must be asked of how this stage will play out, and whether they have any chance of staying away to the top of Etna.
Quick-Step are setting tempo (albeit a slow one) at the moment and if they continue to control the race then the break is unlikely to make it. But Quick-Step aren't going to be able to defend Gaviria's jersey, so it'll be interesting to see what happens if they stop riding. The breakaway would need several minutes at the base of Etna as that's certainly not going to be ridden slowly by the favourites.
110km remaining from 181km
The breakaway quartet comes through the narrow streets of San Fratello and the road dips down slightly before they have to tackle some of the steeper gradients on the way to the half-way mark.
106km remaining from 181km
8 minutes now for our breakaway men.
Gaviria may only have one race day in the pink jersey but he also held it through the rest day and didn't waste the opportunity to show it off.
Susan here, jumping in for a while.
The field is going through a heavily wooded section. In fact, one can barely see the road from above!
Everyone is still patiently wending their way up this not so steep but seemingly endless climb. Quick Step of course at the front of the peloton.
A Bahrain Merida riders has now moved up front, ahead of Quick Step. And the gap increases, heading up to 8:20.
Rohan Dennis has abandoned the race.
@BMCProTeam Tue, 9th May 2017 12:13:56
Dennis crashed near the end of stage 3, "seriously jarring his neck". We hope he is ok!
It is Luka Pibernik of Bahrain Merida who is leading the peloton now.
There was a moment of silence before the stage started this morning, in honour of Wouter Weylandt, who tragically died in a crash in this race six years ago today.
93km remaining from 181km
The gap had risen all the way to 8:28 and is now down to 7:23. We still have 93km to go.
A two-man sprint to the mountain ranking, won by Janse van Rensburg. Much to the displeasure of Polanc, and we actually saw a little bit of pushing and shoving in anger after the line. And it is probably good that we couldn't hear what was being said.
Bahrain Merdia firmly in control at the front. Gaviria is about fourth wheel, looking around for his teammates and wondering why he is there....
87km remaining from 181km
The gap is now under 7 minutes.
Daniel Teklehaimanot (DI Data) has taken the next KOM points, leading the peloton over the summit.
Rohan Dennis gave it a try today, but his injuries from Sunday's crash were just too much.
78km remaining from 181km
Bahrain Merida has now turned the leadwork back over to Quick Step. The gap is now 5:53.
@TrekSegafredo Tue, 9th May 2017 12:50:05
We are having a series of punctures here. First Orica Scott, now Dimension Data.
Thanks to Susan for taking the reins briefly. It's Patrick back now, here to take you through the final 75km of this all-important stage.
The peloton is coming through the feed zone part-way down this descent, and doing so 5:40 in arrears of our four breakaway riders.
Vincenzo Nibali is believed to be the only of the principal contenders to have reconnoitred both climbs on today’s stage. According to Il Corriere della Sera, Nibali rode the final 130 kilometres of the stage in a little over five hours on the Tuesday after Milan-San Remo, using a camera to record the climb and descent of Femmina Morta and the final ascent to Mount Etna.
Crash. This descent comes through some narrow town roads with tight bends and Katusha's Alberto Losada has come down. He's on two feet but is clutching his shoulder.
Replays show Losada's bike in the middle of the road, the tyre loose from the wheel. The doctor arrives and, after a quick check, shakes his head. It looks like he'll play no further part in the race.
Replays show Losada's bike in the middle of the road, the tyre loose from the wheel. The doctor arrives and, after a quick check, shakes his head. It looks like he'll play no further part in the race.
61km remaining from 181km
The breakaway riders near the bottom of the climb and they have a lead of six minutes over the peloton, which is still being led down by a line of Quick-Step riders.
The breakaway riders are off the descent and on the drag to the first intermediate sprint of the day.
Alafaci loses ground as the gradients ramp up quite severely. Brutt strikes out to mop up maximum points.
Here's a shot of Mount Etna to whet the appetite for what's to come
The peloton nears the intermediate sprint point and Gaviria skips away to mop up the final point.
50km remaining from 181km
6:10 is the gap as we enter the final 50km of racing.
Minor problem for Tom Dumoulin, who is off the back and among the cars as he tries to regain contact with the back of the bunch.
The road is heading gently downhill and we have just three riders out front, as they didn't wait for Alafaci after that intermediate sprint. The moustached Italian is chasing at more than a minute back.
Let's check in again with Barry Ryan, who's safely ensconced in the press room at the top of Mount Etna.
"The final climb is tougher than the approach in 2011," he says. "While there's the 12% section with 8km to go, a likely springboard for an attack seems to be between 5 and 4km to go. The road kicks up there, it's quite sheltered and doesn't let up for almost a kilometre.
"The wind is not at all as strong as in 2011, though flags are fluttering in the final 2km, so it's possible that it might pick up later in the afternoon. Otherwise it's overcast at the top, but no rain as yet."
Quintana is off the back, chasing on with a couple of teammates. A comfort break for the Colombian, I think.
42km remaining from 181km
Alafaci is now nearly three minutes back - we're not going to see him at the head of the race again.
The three remaining breakaway riders press on. They're coming towards the second and final intermediate sprint.
Brutt once again takes maximum points at the sprint. This time he's unchallenged by his companions.
38km remaining from 181km
Bahrain-Merida take over from Quick-Step again, putting Valerio Agnoli on the front. They certainly seem interested today.
@inrng Tue, 9th May 2017 13:39:26
36km remaining from 181km
That's it for the downhill today. The break hits the short uncategorised climb to Ragalna.
A reminder of the stage profile. Only a short climb and a portion of flat separate the riders from Mount Etna.
Gaviria once again clips off the front of the bunch to mop up the last intermediate sprint point.
Orica-Scott put birthday boy Svein Tuft, 40 years young today, on the front now. The Australian team were working for Caleb Ewan in the sprints earlier in the race but today it's all about Adam Yates, fourth overall at last year's Tour de France.
The breakaway still have a decent margin (six minutes) but, with other teams chipping in and raising the pace on the approach to Etna, it's highly unlikely that they'll be hitting the climb with enough of a lead to entertain hopes of the stage win.
Here's a first shot of Rohan Dennis climbing off his bike and into the BMC team car.
And here's Losada in the medical van
31km remaining from 181km
The pace is high in the bunch, which is splitting slightly behind.
None of the overall favourites will want to be badly positioned going into the final climb, and there's plenty of movement now towards the head of the bunch.
Brutt is dropped from the break on this preliminary climb. Alafaci has just been caught by the peloton.
'Etna is my mountain'
One rider who will not be lacking in motivation is Paolo Tiralongo, who at 39 years of age is riding the final Giro of his career. A native of Avola on Sicily's Ionian Coast, Tiralongo has used Etna as his altitude training base since 2004. Like the rest of his Astana team, he is seeking a stage win on this Giro in remembrance of the late Michele Scarponi.
"I've already won three stages of the Giro but never in Sicily. It would be beautiful to repeat the feat of Mario Fazio, a native of Catania who won there in 1949," Tiralongo told Gazzetta. "Etna is my mountain. I'm in my thirteenth and final Giro. Finishing with a victory up there would top it all."
@Lotto_Soudal Tue, 9th May 2017 13:58:49
26km remaining from 181km
Polanc is the man doing the work in what is now a breakaway duo. Mouth agape, the Slovenian looks strong.
The gap is still at five minutes with just over 26km to go.
A reminder that the final climb up Mount Etna begins with 17.9km remaining.
25km remaining from 181km
Polanc and Van Rensburg are over the top of that short preliminary climb and they are now on the approach to Etna.
Plenty of riders joining Greipel in that early gruppetto. Gaviria is still at the front of the peloton.
Chris Juul-Jensen, Adam Yates' roommate and closest domestique here, drives the pace on the front of the bunch, as Movistar start to move up.
The road flattens out and even dips down now for the peloton. This is the approach to the climb, and the pace is really high now.
Trouble for Polanc as he overcooks a corner on a downhill section. He sprints back up to Van Rensburg.
Handbags in the peloton as Javi Moreno grabs Diego Rosa by the back of the jersey. It's getting aggressive out there.
19km remaining from 181km
4:30 is the gap now
It's absolutely full gas in the peloton on the approach to the climb. Riders are almost full on sprinting at times here.
LottNL-Jumbo take it up. Steven Kruijswijk is their man and said he's feeling confident today, despite already having lost 13 seconds on the opening day.
17km remaining from 181km
The breakaway duo hit the climb of Mount Etna! And they do so witha lead of 4:19
Confusion in the peloton as lots of riders misjudge a corner, some going the wrong way. Katusha riders are down. Lots more have been left behind having got it all wrong.
Crazy scenes at the Giro. We're not sure exactly if any GC riders have been affected by that.
There was a right-hand bend but the road was open ahead and no one seemed to know what line to take. Gaviria careered off to the left while the confusion behind started to cause the crashes.
Zakarin crashed, but it looks like he was back up quickly.
16km remaining from 181km
Meanwhile back in the race, Polanc has dropped Van Rensburg and is making his way up Etna alone.
Kruijswijk also caught up there after his teammates had hit the front. He was quickly back up and away, though.
15km remaining from 181km
Polanc has a lea of 3:45
Bahrain and FDJ have men on the front of the peloton on the lower slopes of the climb.
Gaviria has sat up - that's the end of his spell in pink.
We talked about the local lad, and indeed he serves up the first attack on Mount Etna. The Italian is over 7 minutes down on GC.
14km remaining from 181km
Tiralongo didn't waste much time and is going from range here. Too far out? Perhaps, but he knows this climb better than anyone else.
Problem for Van Garderen who doesn't crash but has to unclip. That's an unwelcome disruption for the American, who now finds himself towards the back of the bunch on these early narrow roads with a hard task to move back up.
Tiralongo is brought to heel.
Bahrain set the pace but Polanc is digging in here and is managing to hold his lead. He still has 3:50.
13km remaining from 181km
Brutt is absorbed back into the bunch.
A reminder of the profile of the climb
Attack from Pierre Rolland!
The Cannondale-Drapac rider is turning his attention away from the Tour de France and GC this season, in favour of the Giro and stage wins. He has already lost a couple of minutes, which should put him in a strong position to earn the Cannondale team a first WorldTour win in two years on a day such as this.
Pello Bilbao (Astana) sets off in pursuit of Rolland but he's not making much of a dent for the time being.
10km remaining from 181km
Rolland has 15 seconds over the peloton. This looks promising.
Tiralongo has been dropped now. The dream is over. Plenty of other riders now finding themselves in difficulty, too.
Polanc pulls up alongside the UAE team car, where the DS mostly shouts 'vai!' (go!) out of the window. With 3:10 with 10km remaining, it's not beyond the realms of possibility.
Mechanical for Mikel Landa!
The Spaniard gets a wheel change but it's not a quick one. He's now chasing back to the peloton alone.
9km remaining from 181km
Rolland has 35 seconds over the peloton, but it's still a really big ask to stay away.
Landa, still alone, makes his way up through the cars now.
@inrng Tue, 9th May 2017 14:34:37
8km remaining from 181km
Franco Pelizotti attacks! That's Nibali's teammate.
A Movistar rider follows. It's Winner Anacona.
Landa now has a teammate with him. Philip Deignan has received the order to drop back to pace the Sky co-leader back up.
8km remaining from 181km
Ben Hermans hits the front for BMC to keep things under control.
Deignan brings Landa back to the bunch. The job is not done though - he'll need to get back up towards the front.
Polanc has a lead of 2:37 over Rolland. The peloton is 30 seconds back.
Pelizotti and Anacona have been brought back but remain near the front of the bunch for their respective leaders.
7km remaining from 181km
Polanc is struggling now, showing real signs of suffering as he has to deal with some of the stiffer gradients.
Back in the bunch Hermans continues to set pace. The overall favourites are up there towards the front but they're enjoying the swift but steady pace at the moment.
6km remaining from 181km
Rolland grimaces and turns a big gear but he looks comfortable out there. He only has 20 seconds, though.
Attack from Igor Anton, the Dimension Data climber.
The Basque rider hardly gets a gap at all before being passed once again by Hermans.
Rolland is in sight.
5km remaining from 181km
Rolland is caught.
5km remaining from 181km
So, we have a solo leader, Jan Polanc, with a lead of 2:05 over the reduced peloton.
Hermans pulls over and now Bahrain take it up with Pelizotti and Siutsou.
5km remaining from 181km
Polanc goes under the 5km to go banner. He seems to have recovered somewhat after those double-digit gradients.
The peloton is really thinned out now as the riders make their way through the dark, ashen rock from the volcano.
It's still the calm before the storm in the peloton. The favourites look comfortable.
4km remaining from 181km
A brief dig from Quintana, who gets out of the saddle and swings over the right slightly. He's not on the attack, but is the Colombian warming up for something?
The peloton continues to thin as Siutsou hits the front. Quintana and Thomas are up there towards the front.
3km remaining from 181km
1:45 for Polanc, who drives out of the saddle
It's Siutsou, Thomas, Quintana, followed by three Astana riders and Pinot, who's moving up now.
Nibali, some way down in the group, swings over, just checking who was on his wheel. Lots will be watching him today.
3km remaining from 181km
Jesper Hansen (Astana) attacks
The 26-year-old Danish climber gets a decent gap. No panic from the favourites.
Bob Jungels is still up there towards the front of the group. This climb will suit a diesel engine such as his.
The group is in echelon formation now - the wind must be blowing on the exposed mountainside. Carlos Verona takes it up for Orica as Siutsou pulls over.
The Giro champion takes off under the 3km to go banner.
Quintana's teammate brings the Sicilian to heel.
That spells the end for Jesper Hansen.
2km remaining from 181km
Polanc has 1:06 now with just over 2km to go.
That Nibali attack has provided a further selection in the reduced bunch. It has calmed down again slightly now.
Igor Anton goes again and is followed by Hansen, who now accelerates and drops the DiData man.
@inrng Tue, 9th May 2017 14:58:44
Hansen only has a small gap as the bunch comes back, led by Verona.
Dumoulin accelerates now! Pinot is on the wheel, same for Zakarin.
No gaps but it's lined out now as Zakarin comes through. And the Katusha riders goes now!
Wow. Zakarin gets a sizeable gap really quickly. He's away.
1km remaining from 181km
Flamme rouge for Polanc! He has 47 seconds....
Zakarain's ungainly shoulders shake as he puts in maximum effort. Still waiting on a time check but he has a promising gap.
Polanc is straining with the effort. Can he do it?!
Final 500 metres for the Slovenian. He's going to do it. He still has more than 30 seconds.
Polanc comes towards the line as the gradients ease. He looks behind and knows he has it in the bag
Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) wins stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia
Polanc zips up the jersey and raises his arms in celebration as he comes to the line. Incredible stuff.
Zakarin crosses the line now, some 20 seconds back.
Here comes the bunch. They're not far behind. Thomas wins the dash for third.
Jungels finished in that group and so he should be our new race leader.
Pinot was fifth on the stage after sprinting against Thomas for those four remaining bonus seconds.
Zakarin finished 10 seconds ahead of the other favourites, and claimed 6 bonus seconds over all but one of them. That means he has almost recouped the 20 seconds he lost earlier in the race. A good day's work.
Stage top 10
1 Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 4:55:58
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:19
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:29
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
6 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
7 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
An extremely happy Jan Polanc speaks to the TV cameras
“It was amazing today. Probably nobody expected the break to arrive to the finish, we didn’t have big gap before last climb, and we were four all day, so it was difficult but I’m very happy. After 2015, to repeat the victory on the first mountain stage, it’s incredible for me – I’m really happy. Thanks to my team, my family, and all those who supported me. I can’t describe a moment like this.
“The climb was difficult with a constant headwind, especially after a long break. It was probably the hardest day of my life.”
General classification after stage 4
1 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 19:41:56
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:06
3 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:00:10
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
A first shot of the stage winner
@TeamSky Tue, 9th May 2017 15:18:40
@quickstepteam Tue, 9th May 2017 15:21:50
Polanc sprays the champagne on the podium. And he's soon back again, pulling on the blue jersey as the new leader of the mountains classification.
Here's Tejay Van Garderen speaking to Eurosport
“It was quite a quick day, with a stiff tailwind in the beginning. A good break got away and we didn’t go too hard up Portella Fammina Morta. But then it was really nervous in lead-in to Etna, lots of towns, cobblestones, and narrow streets – Italian style. The climb to Etna was hard but there was a stiff headwind in the final so a lot of moves were cancelled out. People’s legs were a bit too fresh, maybe, so we’re going to have to wait until later to see some big action, but I’m kind of starting to get a sense, going by facial expressions and body language, how the rivals are.
"I think most guys finished on the same time. Bob [Jungels] is a good rider, he’ll be happy to keep pink maybe through the time trial, but once we hit that third week it’s a different ball game.”
@giroditalia Tue, 9th May 2017 15:31:06
You can find our report page at the link below. Full results to follow shortly.
Bob Jungels wore the leader's jersey last year, and he's back in pink once again
And Jungels speaks
"It's incredible again. It's exactly like last year, taking the maglia rosa from a teammate. To be honest, I didn't really expect it today because it was a hard climb and there were lots of good contenders, but I have made lots of progress, and I rode a clever race on the last climb. I know i'm in good shape - I saw that two days ago - and I had a good rest yesterday. For sure the Giro is already a success for us, and everything else is a bonus.
"To be honest there are some stages like Sunday on Blockhaus where riders like Quintana will take some time on me, but also on Tuesday we have a long time trial. There's always pros and cons, but I'll stick with my plan, try to do my best on GC, and just keep calm."
Here's Team Sky's Italian DS Dario Cioni speaking to Eurosport
"I said this morning the big goal was not to lose time. We knew with the headwind on the final climb it would end up quite a tactical race, where it would be difficult to see big gaps. Taking bonus seconds is something we spoke about – racing smart to save that bit of energy to get bonuses.
"We spoke about it, and on a climb like this if it’s a relatively big group, with a headwind, it’s hard to ride away, so it made sense to save something for bonuses. Zakarin went off earlier, so it would have been better to get six seconds, but four is good also."
You can find our full round-up of snap reactions at the following link:
@friebos Tue, 9th May 2017 15:57:52
We've just heard that Alberto Losada finished the stage. He was the last across the line some 38 minutes behind Polanc, but he finished, and that's an incredible feat. The Katusha rider was in real trouble when he crashed on the big descent. He was clutching his shoulder and we even saw him in side the medical van receiving treatment. Chapeau.
Fancy a comprehensive stage report, full results, and 40 photos? Look no further...
Jeremy Roy has just posted this photo on Twitter. The Frenchman crashed when some riders went the wrong way ahead of that final climb. OUCH.
@katushacycling Tue, 9th May 2017 16:38:39
So, that was the first big GC hit-out of the 2017 Giro, but it didn't serve up any significant time gaps, and neither did it give too much of an indication of a potential hierarchy.
The GC men will now have to wait a few days - though there are a couple of stages where they'll have to be alert - before the next big showdown. It will come on the Blockhaus summit finish on Sunday's stage 9. A rest day follows but then it's straight into the 40km time trial. That is a crucial phase of this Giro ahead of the battle for pink in the final week.
We stay on Sicily tomorrow for stage 5, which finishes in Vincenzo Nibali's home town, Messina. It should be another opportunity for the sprinters.
That's it from us today. We'll be back here with full live coverage of that stage tomorrow, and in the meantime we'll have all the news and reaction from Mount Etna from our reporters on the volcano. Thanks for your company today. Ciao.
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Wout van Aert to use 'battery-saving mode' and trust his sprint at World ChampionshipsBelgian bearing favourite status and home pressure lightly
Invani men's summer jersey reviewAn affordable, well-balanced reversible cycling jersey that can double up as an outdoor and indoor racing option
Jumbo-Visma-bound Hagenes celebrates Norway's first junior World title'It's nice to make a little bit of history' says 18-year-old
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