7 May 2013

Giro d'Italia Stage 4 Policastro Bussentino - Serra San Bruno

Yesterday's two climbs really started to separate the contenders in this year's Giro.

The first of yesterday's climbs, San Mauru Cilento saw a group of six up the road, though with their gap already coming down, only 3'42" ahead of the peleton. But riders including the first Maglia Rosa Mark Cavendish OPQ had been dropped on the ascent, but Cav was only 28 seconds off the pace and not in the Autobus bringing up the rear which was over a minute down, he was to catch the peleton on the descent.

However, up at the front Vini Fantini rider Fabio Taborre set off from the leading pack in a bid for a long solo ride to the finish, as behind the breakaway Sky had come to the front of the peleton to ride at a tempo to bring the race altogether. When Taborre hit the slopes of the Sella di Catona he had opened a gap of 1'11" ahead of the rest of the group he had reached the previous summit with and 2'33" ahead of the peleton.

On that climb first Sky and then Garmin-Sharp started to boss the peleton. The slowing group and then Taborre were absorbed and then spat out the back of the peleton. Then with about 3km to the summit last year's champion Ryder Hesjedal GRS went on an attack after Rigoberto Uran SKY had opened a few bike lengths gap, but he was soon brought back in. But it wasn't to be his last attempt. However, this attack did see Salvatore Puccio in his pink jersey dropped from the confines of his Sky team mates. When they reached the summit there was a group of 33 left.

Then on the descent Hesjedal went again along with Luca Paolini KAT and Valerio Agnoli AST went up the road descending fast but others soon caught them up, when the descent flattened out a little. Then Paolini went solo with 6.5km to go. Behind him the Blanco Team took up the pursuit and Michele Scarponi was in third wheel when into one hairpin, first Scarponi the 2011 champion came off and the two Blanco riders collided with the wall, while the rest of the group came past unscathed.

In the end Paolini crossed the line 16 seconds clear, which with his time bonuses would leave him 17 seconds clear in the Maglia Rosa. Next over the line was a group of 16 lead by Cadel Evans BMC, then Hesjedal but also including Samuel Sanchez EUS, Bradley Wiggins SKY, Robert Gesink BLA and Vincenzo Nibali AST amongst others. Scarponi after his crash was a minute down on Paolini.

Today's stage again has a kick up at the end with first a category 3 climb of Vibo Valentia then the final category 2 climb of Croce Ferrata a mere 7km from the finish. It will be another day that those serious for the GC will be going out to steal seconds of the bonus seconds for a top three finish.

Once again expect to see a small selection at that final summit and don't expect many who may be dropped unless by only a handful of seconds to get back on the final run in, it is almost flat this time and not a twisting and complicated descent.

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