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Tour of the Alps stage 4 – Live coverage

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Stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps brings the peloton from Naturns to Pieve di Bono by way of the climbs of the Passo Castrin, Passo Campo Carlo Magno and Boniprati. The longest stage of the race also brings it to its highest point atop the Castrin and features more climbing than any other day this week. Roll out is at 10.50 CET.

Simon Yates (BikeExchange) remains in the leader's green jersey after his commanding victory at Feichten im Kaunertal on Tuesday. He holds a 45-second advantage over Pavel Sivakov (Ineos), while Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) are all just over a minute down.

General classification after stage 3

-168km

Almost immediately, a break forges clear, with Larry Warbasse (AG2R-Citroen), Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Omer Goldstein (Israel Start-Up Nation), Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa) and Romain Hardy (Arkéa-Samsic) opening a lead over the peloton.

Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) is also in the move and a couple of more riders try to get across on the short climb out of Naturns.

The leading group expands to eight riders, though their advantage is still a slender one for now: Larry Warbasse (AG2R-Citroën), Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Omer Goldstein (Israel Start-Up Nation), Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Romain Hardy (Arkéa-Samsic), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Natnael Tesfazion (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).

-158km

Groupama-FDJ are setting the tempo in the peloton in pursuit of the escapees. Thibaut Pinot is more than 13 minutes down after struggling on stage 2. The Frenchman is still suffering with a lingering back injury and his Giro d'Italia participation is very uncertain as a result. The remainder of this race - and today's stage in particular - will be telling in his final decision.

-149km

-141km

It's been a rapid start to proceedings but now the race is tackling the lower slopes of the Passo Castrin. Gazprom-RusVelo are now leading the peloton and the break's lead has dropped further, to 21 seconds.

-139km

Three members of the first break try their luck again. Márton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Julen Amezqueta (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Natnael Tesfazion (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) are off the front in the company of Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R-Citroën) and Nikolay Cherkasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo). Ben Zwiehoff (Bora-Hansgrohe) is also trying to get across.

-136km

After the initial kick upwards at the base of the Passo Castrin, the road flattens out for several kilometres around Sankt Pankraz, and riders who were distanced from the peloton on the lower slopes are fighting their way back on. It's a temporary respite, however, as the road soon rears up again for another 15km or so.

As the gradient stiffens, Larry Warbasse (AG2R-Citroën) attacks once again and this time he has another rider from Israel Start-Up Nation for company as one Chris Froome goes with him.

Simone Ravanelli (Androni-Sidermec) and the irrepressible Márton Dina (Eolo-Kometa) also bridge across. This quartet holds a slender lead over the peloton.

-129km

Froome, Warbasse, Dina and Ravanelli don't last long as a quartet. Another spate of attacks in the peloton sees this front group expand to a dozen or so riders, but it's all still very fragmented. 

Nicolas Roche (DSM) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Premier Tech) are among the riders who have joined this front group of 15 or so riders, but the situation is very fluid on the Passo Castrin.

Seven riders are now left in front, but with a narrow lead over the green jersey group: Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain Victorious), Nicolas Roche (DSM), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Premier Tech), Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R-Citroën) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo)

For the first time, however, there seems to be a semblance of order descending over the peloton on the upper slopes of the Castrin, and the Froome group is taking advantage of that détente to stretch out their lead.

Two more riders made it across just before the drawbridge went up: Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) and – who else – Márlon Dina (Eolo-Kometa). This group of nine has a lead of more than a minute over the peloton and their advantage is still rising.

-125km

-124km

The break's lead drops to just north of two minutes as Team BikeExchange take up the reins in the peloton. There are a number of other dangermen besides Grossschartner in this move as Sanchez, Pernsteiner and Ghebreigzabhier all began the day less than three minutes down on Simon Yates.

-118km

The Campo Carlo Magno, incidentally, is the other side of Madonna di Campiglio, and the Giro gruppo descended that way early in the stage to Laghi di Cancano last October. Confusingly, the first climb of that stage was the Madonna di Campiglio but it was branded as the Campo Carlo Magno as the race continued through the ski station (where Ben O'Connor had won the previous day) and climbed on to the summit. 

-112km

-102km

It's been some time since Chris Froome was at the head of a bike race in a break like this. The Briton is the worst-placed of the nine escapees on GC, having begun the day some 27 minutes down on Simon Yates.

-99km

Into the Val di Sole for the nine leaders, who retain a lead of more than 2 minutes as they pedal towards Malé.

-80km

-78km

The Campo Carlo Magno is named for Charlemagne, who per local lore passed this way en route to his coronation in Rome in 800AD. It appears the name was only adopted early in the 20th century, mind, at the instigation of a hotelier in the area.

-76km

Nicolas Roche, incidentally, has been named in DSM's squad for the Giro d'Italia, where he will flank Romain Bardet and Jai Hindley in the 24th Grand Tour of his career, an Irish record. The second man in the standings, incidentally, is Roche's godfather Sean Kelly, with 21 Grand Tour appearances.  

-72km

The Campo Carlo Magno is the toughest climb on the agenda today but it's perhaps a touch too far from the finish to encourage much adventure among the favourites, particularly given the long trek through the valley that follows.

-68km

-65km

The sense of urgency rises suddenly in the peloton on the descent of the Campo Carlo Magno and the break's lead drops to inside a minute.

-50km

-46km

Simon Yates still has all six of his BikeExchange teammates for company at the head of this peloton, while Sivakov sits amid a phalanx of Ineos riders just behind them.

-38km

The peloton is currently bowling along the valley some 1:16 down on the break, but the road rises again shortly for the short, unclassified climb towards Sella Giudicarie, which shouldn't cause undue problems. The category 2 climb to Boniprati follows with 17km to go. The ascent is 10km long with an average gradient of 6.8%. The toughest section comes 3km or so from the top and provides an obvious springboard for attackers. The summit comes 6.9km from the finish and it's followed by a rapid drop to the line in Pieve di Bono.

-34km

-32km

Aleksandr Vlasov has his Astana teammates around him queued up just behind the BikeExchange pace-setters in the peloton. The pace is brisk on Selle Giudicarie and, as expected, there are no attacks from the green jersey group.

-30km

-28km

-24km

-21km

PIEVEDIBONO ITALY APRIL 22 Christopher Froome of United Kingdom and Team Israel StartUp Nation Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier Werkilul of Eritrea and Team Trek Segafredo Nicolas Prodhomme of France and Ag2R Citroen Team Luis Leon Sanchez Gil of Spain and Team Astana Premier Tech on breakaway during the 44th Tour of the Alps 2021 Stage 4 a 1686 to stage from Naturns to Valle del Chiese Pieve di Bono TourofTheAlps TouroftheAlps on April 22 2021 in Pieve di Bono Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

-19km

-18km

-17km

Winner Anacona takes over now on behalf of his leader Nairo Quintana. The front group has shed several components on the lower slopes and there are only around 30 or so riders still in contention.

Anacona climbs with no fewer than five Ineos on his wheel. Ivan Sosa, Gianni Moscon, Daniel Martinez and Sebastian Henao are here to accompany Pavel Sivakov.

-15km

-14km

-13.5km

-13km

Simon Yates does have one teammate for company in this group - Nick Schultz is still here in what is an increasingly select front group. Hugh Carthy moves up alongside Yates to keep an eye on Ineos' pace-making out in front.

-12km

Domenico Pozzovivo (Qhubeka-Assos) is dropped from the leading group.

-11.4km

Sivakov appears to be suffering and Martinez has knocked off the pace... Simon Yates takes over in pursuit of Carthy.

Sivakov has been dropped and Martinez has relented to wait for him. Meanwhile, Yates and Dan Martin have led an elite group across to Carthy at the head of the race.

-11.8km

-10.5km

Further down the mountain, Romain Bardet is trying to chase the leading group, while Sivakov appears to be in considerable difficulty further behind him again.

Yates and Martin join Vlasov at the head of the race, and this trio is pulling away from the remnants of the front group.

-9.7km

-9.5km

Martin hasn't given up the ghost and he is chasing the two leaders by himself. Bilbao and Carthy haven't managed to bridge across to the Irishman.

-9km

-8km

-7km

Dan Martin was third across the top, and he has been joined by Pello Bilbao. They are just 12 seconds down on Yates and Vlasov. Hindley, Carthy and Cepeda are the third group on the road.

-5km

Dan Martin crashes on a hairpin... He was too fast into the corner but mercifully he managed to scrub off a lot of speed before bailing out into the ditch. The Irishman appears to be unhurt and he quickly remounts but his hopes of stage victory have gone.

-3.5km

-3km

-2.5km

-2km

-1.5km

-1km

Yates lost hold of Bilbao's wheel but he manages to get back across as the road flattens out. Vlasov, too, is desperately trying to get back on...

Vlasov latches back on just as Pello Bilbao opens the sprint...

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) wins stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps. 

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Premier Tech) has to settle for second. Simon Yates (BikeExchange) comes home in third.

Simon Yates retains the green jersey while Bilbao will move up to second place overall after Sivakov's travails this afternoon.

Nairo Quintana took 4th on the stage at 58 seconds. Jefferson Cepeda and Hugh Carthy came in at 1:06, while Rubern Guerreiro, Romain Bardet and Gianluca Brambilla followed at 1:16.

The on-screen graphics suggested that Dan Martin had been giving chase behind Bilbao after his crash but the Irishman was outside the top 10 on the stage.

Result

Dan Martin came home 2:35 down on Bilbao. He falls out of the top 10 on GC as a result.

General classification

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) wins stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Jai Hindley (DSM) was also a faller on that most technical descent. Like Martin, the Australian managed to remount and complete the stage but he slipped out of the upper reaches of the GC.

Today marked the fourth anniversary of the tragic death of Michele Scarponi and Pello Bilbao has dedicated his victory to the memory of his teammate. "Today was a special day and I wanted to have this victory. I knew this was a perfect finish for me. After losing some seconds at the top of the climb, I was convinced I could go back in the front group. These descents are not something to do every day. It’s not possible to take that risk every day but today was a special day. I wanted to dedicate this victory to Scarpa, to Michele, so I gave it everything."

"Everybody who met Michele wanted to dedicate a win to him today," Bilbao says. "For sure, Luis Leon [Sanchez] was in the break with the same idea. He’s always been special  for us and I just want to dedicate this special victory on his anniversary."

For the second year in a row, Simon Yates looks poised to win his final race before the Giro d'Italia after he claimed Tirreno-Adriatico last September. "I tried to do something in the climb there. Bilbao was the only guy I didn't want to arrive with on the descent. We all saw how quickly he can go down there. From a GC point of few it was a good day. It was a really hard start, the team controlled all day. I tried to win for those guys but today I found a faster guy," he said, insisting that nothing was decided ahead of tomorrow's final stage. "There's always a threat, anything can happen. We'll try to do our best and we'll see from there."

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) wins stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

A full report, results and pictures from today's stage are available here. We'll be back with more live coverage of tomorrow's concluding stage to Riva del Garda.

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