Giro d'Italia (st. 4)
Movistar Team keeps Pedrero, Samitier into top-20 overall in Giro d’Italia as Démare (GFC) wins first bunch sprint in the race, into a field reduced by the mountains.
/ Today’s route
It was the fourth, and final, stage through Sicily in the 2020 Giro, before travelling this very Tuesday back to the Italian Peninsula. It was also the first chance for the sprinters, though there would surely be teams willing to make things hard for those less suited to the climbs into the main ascent of the day: Portella Mandrazzi (Cat-3; 19.6km at 4%), located halfway through the 140km route from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena.
/ Weather report
It wasn’t as warm as on Monday’s approach to the Etna, with around 22ºC in the eastern part of Sicily, some headwind and, fortunately, a slimmer chance of rain, only in the final stages, after the Etna ascent was affected by some drops near the top.
/ Keys to the race
- Joao Almeida’s Deceuninck-Quick Step and other squads, such as Groupama-FDJ, made sure the early break wasn’t a threat for the sprint. Only three riders were able to leave the group: Frapporti (THR), Gradek (CCC) and Simon Pellaud (ANS), the last ‘survivor’ from that move as he was caught with 22km to go. Until the foot of the Cat-3 climb, UAE Team Emirates, Cofidis and Groupama were leading the bunch, four minutes behind the escapees; at Portella Mandrazzi, Bora-Hansgrohe’s pace took several sprinters out of the group, with Trek-Segafredo also pulling at the descent.
- The Movistar Team had a somewhat calm day: the Blues only had to regret an early crash for Eduardo Sepúlveda, without any consequence, as he was struck by a falling Pieter Weening (TFS), who slipped when trying to grab a bottle from his team carer. The Telefónica-backed squad kept his group together and almost in full strength over the GPM of Portella Mandrazzi, only missing Albert Torres, who came back with about 30km to go.
- The Menorca native was actually the man in charge of taking Antonio Pedrero and Sergio Samitier to the finish safely, the Blue duo remaining at the front of the bunch and staying into the overall top-20. Arnaud Démare (GFC) won a milimeter sprint against Peter Sagan (BOH), while Joao Almeida (DQT) kept the Maglia Rosa by putting 2″ on Caicedo (EF1), tied with the Portuguese rider after his win yesterday, at the bonus sprint.
/ Upcoming goals
Wednesday will bring the first ‘marathon stage’ of this Giro, over 225km and a demanding route between Mileto and Camigliatello Silano. The second part of the race will be quite lumpy, with the climb to Triolo (Cat-3, 111km); a subsequent 70 kilometres full of ups and downs; and, most importantly, the Valico di Montescuro (Cat-1). It’s a 24-kilometer (!!) ascent, at 5.6% average gradient, with a central section at 12% and whose summit will be just 12km from the end. The descent also contains some sections one could quality as ‘pedalabili’, as Italians say, so it isn’t easy, either. Will we again see some moves from the GC contenders?
Cover picture (c): Movistar Team