Hello and welcome to our live coverge of Tirreno-Adriatico. Stage 4 takes us over 223 very lumpy kilometers from Foligno to Fossombrone.
More fun and games today in Tirreno-Adriatico! 221 km to cover today, and virtually all of it up and down. Not real mountains, though, more like one of the very bumpy Belgian Classics.
The race kicks off in about 10 minutes with the neutralized start, with the sharp start another 10 minutes later.
Here is our GC going into today's stage. There will be some changes by the end of the day, but many of these riders have good chances of staying in the top ten.
1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 10:37:19
2 Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:07
4 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
5 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:22
6 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
7 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
8 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:27
9 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:47
10 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Sky
Yesterday was a day for the sprinters. We do not expect to see them up front at the end today. Although Sagan is always a possiblity!
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 5:26:45
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
5 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
7 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
10 Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM
Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF) leads the points rankings, followed by Stepan Kuriyanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
And the race has finally started!
Over in the mountains classification, Natnael Berhane of Cofidis leads, followed by Alaphilippe and Sebastian Schönberger (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM).
We have young riders too! Laurens De Plus of Jumbo Vismo is the youngest -- opps, make that the top-ranked -- with Sunweb's Sam Oomen and Soren Kragh Anderseon right behind him.
All 156 riders who finished yesterday started again today, and you will be greatly surprised -- or not -- that they are all still together. Gruppo compatto, so to say.
Let's take a look at the course. Things start out in a nice rolling manner for roughly the first half of the day. But then the fun (?) starts.
The first major hurdle of the day comes with some 55km to go, the Villa del Monte. On the whole the gradients aren't too bad -- except for those 18% and 19% sections, of course.
We have a solo breakaway! Mads Pedersen of Trek Segafredo has taken off and 1:30 on the field already!
200km remaining from 223km
After 23 km, we have a 10 man break with a nearly two minute gap. Let's see if we can't get some names.
And our break group is: Nans Peters (AG2R), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani), Marcus Burghardt (Bora-hansgrohe), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Luis Mas (Movistar), Giovanni Visconti (Nerri Sottoli), Jenthe Biermans (Katusha-Alpecin), Robert Power (Sunweb) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Segafredo).
197km remaining from 223km
This group is moving! After 26 km, they already have 4:19 on the field!
193km remaining from 223km
30 km and now 5:15! Either this break is really fast or the field is taking it easy for the moment and saving itself for later. Probably a combination of the two.
@deceuninck_qst Sat, 16th Mar 2019 10:40:35
There's a lot going on today, like the Queen Stage of Paris-Nice. Feel free to jump back and forth between our live reports for T-A and P-N.
To get back to the course, there is a lovely little 9.2km circuit to be covered twice near the end. It includes the I Cappuccini climb, with sections of 10.6% gradient. The final km is flattish to slightly rising.
182km remaining from 223km
The gap is now up to a whopping 8:40!
Jumbo-Visma has recognized that this gap is rather large, and has moved to the front of the filed to lead the chase.
We would be very very surprised to see this stage end in a bunch sprint, but we had a very interesting one yesterday, with Elia Viviani taking a clear win. Read about it here.
Giacomo Nizzolo crashed early yesterday, leaving quantities of skin on the road and dripping blood from his left arm. But the Dimension Data rider still went on to finish fourth on the day.
Viviani says he is "scared" that some riders are still doping, and he worries that teams might close down because of that.
150km remaining from 223km
Only 150 km left today! Our group has a gap of roughly 9 minutes, and the nasty little climbs are yet to come.
The UCI has backtracked on applying stiff fines and ranking point penalties if riders arrive late at race sign-on, after the peloton threatened to go on strike before the final stage of the UAE Tour.
The gap is dropping! Now all the way down to 8:30!
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) are rivals on the bike and good friends off the bike. Gaviria recognizes, "this is just sport".
We are 92 km into the day -- still not halfway!
In some non-racing news, Sky's Vasil Kiryienka has been diagnosed with cardiac anomaly, which is why he hasn't raced yet this season. He is being treated for it, and we all wish him the best.
Meanwhile, the gap has gone back up to nearly 9 minutes.
After 105km, we have finally crossed the nine minute mark. The gap is now 9:03.
Peter Sagan had been ill just before this race, and it has taken him a stage or two to get back into form. His sprint for second place yesterday surely showed he has recovered. Will we see him up front at the end again today?
The gap just keeps on growing! It is now 9:26. Time to start figuring the odds on this group staying away to the end.
Our virtual leader is CCC's Joey Rosskopf.The American came into the stage as 35th overall, only 1:59 down on Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
The break group is approaching the day's first mountain ranking, the Vella del Monte.
The Villa del Monte is the climb that features a maximum gradient of 19%.
As expected, with teh group on this ferocious climb, the gap is dropping and is now at 8:15.
Visconti has taken the top points at the climb, followed by Maestri, Powers and Peters.
The bunch is still on its way up.
The gap has indeed plummeted, all the way down to 7:02. Astana is now leading the chase.
The gap has indeed plummeted, all the way down to 7:02. Astana is now leading the chase.
Here's a surprise: Geraint Thomas has abandoned the race!
Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) is the next to cimb off his bike.
The gap is way down now, 5:58.
Sky just said that Geraint Thomas had to withdraw "due to stomach issues".
75km remaining from 223km
Just under 75km to go and the gap is 4:59.
There are still 3 more climbs to come, including two times over the tough Cappuccini.
We have covered 152 km so far. We stlll have not only those three climbs to go, but also the two intermediate sprints.
Jumbo Visma's Koen Bouwman has had to leave the race with lower back problems.
Visconti just dropped back to the team car and picked up not only a bidon but also a slip of paper. He studied it and handed it back, looking not too happy. No doubt it was a listing of the difficulties still to come today.
62km remaining from 223km
The peloton is flying along now and has cut the gap to 3:57.
How does Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) plan to do today? "I hope to be up there with the best again."
The break group is on its way up the Cartoceto, the second ranked climb of the day.
3:31 back, Astana has taken over control of the peloton. Looks like they have their full team up at the front of things.
A few more details here about G. Thomas leaving the race with a wonky tummy.
Maestri wins the intermediate sprint and the gap is down to 2:25.
Rosskopf had a nice little lead on the group on the descent, but misjudged a corner. Nothing bad happened, but he is now in the midst of the group instead of ahead of it.
Back in the chasing field, one of the Astana riders had to go off the road and onto the grass for a few meters. Tight quarters!
Jumbo-Visma now has two riders at the head of the field.
We have a number of nasty crashes at the moment.
Tony Martin slid out and went under the guardrail. Laurens De Plus crashed as well, as did Sylvain Diller and Katusha's Boswell. We hope everyone is ok.
We understand that the wind has blown dirt on to the road, which caused the crashes.
The peloton has split now. The gap up to the front is only 1:21 with 47 km to go.
We are happy to see De Plus on the bike and going again. We hope the others are as lucky.
Boswell has had to abandon. He did not look good after that nasty crash.
Mas has taken off from the front group. Astana still leads the chase, 1:07 back and 44km to go.
Sagan has dropped off the back of the field.
Tony Martin is back on his bike.
De Plus has caught up with the field again.
AG2R's Peters is giving chase to Mas and should catch him momentarily.
The field is now only 16 seconds behind the remnants of the break group.
Mas and Peters are together now.
A group has vroken from the peloton, and Lutsenko is taking a slight lead over Dumoulin.
All of the former break group has been caught now. Lutsenko leads things with a tidy little gap over a group including Dumoulin, Fuglsang, Yates, Roglic, Clarke and Wellens. Just over 35 km to go.
Alaphilippe, Pinot and Poels also in this group. Lutsenko has 20 seconds.
The Astana rider is building up his lead. He is flying along, and the chasing group of favourites is not really working together.
Fuglsang is in that chasing group and is doing all he can to keep the pace down.
27 km to go, including that closing circuit with the nasty climb, but Lusenko has now built up a one-minute gap.
Actually, he has 33 seconds on the Yates chase group, and 58 seconds on the third, larger group.
Dumoulin now moves to the front of the group Actually it looks as if they have decided to wokr together and be serious about the chase.
The chase group is: Fuglsang, Formolo, Alaphilippe, Clarke, Benoot, Yates, Roglic and Dumoulin. Pretty high-powered group!
Those eight are 38 seconds back, and a larger group is at 1:05. There must be gruppetto somewhere further back.
Lutsenko crosses the finish line for the first time. Behind him, the larger third group is catching the group of favourites, and they cross the line some 50 seconds later.
Another crash, in the rear of one of the chasing groups.
Lutsenko looks to be on his way up the climb. So are the chasers, a bit further back.
Clarke and Howson crashed back yonder, but apparently are ok.
15 km to go and 54 seconds for Lutsenko.
Lutsenko's bike sips on a left hand curve, he goes across the road to the right hand side, though the leaves and whatever, and then continues on his way. Respect!
He came into this stage only 1:13 down on the lead, so he has good chances today. Although his little mishap brought the gap down to 45 seconds.
Lutsenko has picked up his lead and crosses the finish line for the penultimate time and again has nearly a minute on his chasers.
The chasers are working hard to catch Lutsenko. Roglic, Fuglsang an Yates have pulled away and are only 35 seconds back with 6 km to go.
Dumoruin jumps from the group to try and join those three chasers.
The trio is now only 11 seconds back.
Only 5 km left to go!
Dumoulin's efforts didn't pay off and he is back in the big group.
Lutsenko crashes agian!
He is up instantly but tht costs time, and he doesnt have much of that.
He is in the last km and has 8 seconds.
That was it. caught with only 600 meters to go.
Now they all look at one another - who will go first?
Roglic led the way to the line, then he, Yates, and Lutsenko all sprinted for the win. LUtsenko had enough left to beat the others and take an unbelievable but well-deserved win.
Lutsenko is exhausted, having given his all along the way. No doubt the emotions are also extremely strong, too. Winning is always powerful, but after that second crash and then being caught, he must really be beside himself.
The top ten on the stage:
1 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 05:16:29
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma #3 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
5 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:09
6 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 00:00:23
7 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
8 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
Yates easily retains his overall lead, with Roglic second and Dumoulin moving up to third. We will have the top ten GC shortly.
Top ten in GC:
1 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 15:53:42
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 00:00:07
3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 00:00:50
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:00:56
5 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb
6 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 00:01:06
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 00:01:16
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 00:01:19
9 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 00:01:21
10 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First 00:01:25
Sunweb's Sam Oomen has taken over the Best Young Rider jersey.
That is all from today's action. Make sure to tune in tomorrow for more.
That is all from today's action. Make sure to tune in tomorrow for more. You can find results, a report and photos from today's stage, here.
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