Tim Merlier – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage five –– GETTY IMAGES
Live coverage starts at 1.30 pm (BST)
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage four at the Giro d’Italia, the 177-kilometer run from Modena to Cattolica. Following yesterday’s brutal scene in the Apennines that saw yet another surprise winner when breakaway rider Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) landed his first victory on European soil, today’s pan-flat course should offer the riders some welcome respite.
A day of riding in the rain across a series of challenging climbs will affect some riders more than others, but with the forecast looking fairly bleak as it often can be in May cop, ing with the conditions can be as key to winning the Giro d’Italia as arriving in Italy in top form.
One rider that copes well in the wrong conditions and has regained some of his top forms following a rough couple of years is Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-up Nation), who will wear the maglia rosa today, the leader’sfor the first time in his long career. Let’s have a glance at the main classification podiums.
(Alpecin-Fenix) retained the maglia calamine, the cyclamen jersey, as a leader in the points classification after the big breakaway scooped up most of the points yesterday, meaning there was no change in the top five of that particular competition.
Having scooped up 18 points atop Colle Passerino en, Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) became the leader in the mountains classification and will celebrate his 30th birthday today wearing the maglia azzurra, the blue jersey. Providing the American completes the stage; he will hold that overnight as there are no categorized climbs today. The birthday boy will be getting a trip to the podium. Isn’t that swell?
After finishing seventh on Tuesday,(Groupama-FDJ) became the outright leader in the youth classification. Although I cannot 100 percent confirm this, I think he may be the first Hungarian to wear a – the 22-year-old from Csomor will be dressed in the maglia Bianca, the white jersey.
And so, what’s on the menu today? After setting off from Modena a slightly later than usual – 12.20 pm (BST) –the peloton heads down the ancient Roman Via Aemilia, almost straight as an arrow, towards the intriguinglyof Cattolica.
Whether or not the stage was dreamt up while dining on a plate of borlenghi – a type of flatbread from Modena – is unknown, but its profile looks pan-flat. Despite riding past Imola, where there is plenty of short testing climbs, today’s stage features just over 600 meters of elevation and not a single categorized climb.
If you have read this far, you will have probably worked out what type of tell anyone Eastman is head and shoulders above another at this year’s Giro d’Italia; having won on Sunday, confidence must be coursing through the veins of Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix). However, the Belgian did appear to struggle in the medium mountains, so seeing how he has recovered will be interesting.suits: a sprinter. But which one? With a sample size of just one, it is difficult to
It was interesting to note that Lotto-Soudal did not have a single rider in yesterday’s 25-man breakaway – including Thomas De Gendt, their specialist and good friend of Alessandro De Marchi – which immediately got me thinking that the team management has earmarked today’s stage for their little pocket rocket Caleb Ewan. Ewan tends to start hisslowly, often taking a few steps to get his legs firing, so I believe today could be his day.
TheRoger Kluge finished yesterday’s stage 180th and 179th, while De Gendt was 177th out of 183. If there is a headwind at the finish in the coastal town of Cattolica – which Ewan and his team will be praying for – then that would make him my favorite. If not, then it will be a close call.
Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) has shown some surprisingly good form thus far and has been there or thereabouts, while the same could be said of Elia Viviani (Cofidis). Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) looked a little nervous to me in the sprint finish on Sunday, though I may be over-analyzing things.
European and Italian road champion Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) has more runners-up spots at the Giro d’Italia than any other rider in its 104 editions, so the 32-year-old will be desperate to consign that statistic to the green litter zone, but will today be his day? Anyway, that’s enough speculation from me, back at 1.30 pm (BST) whenwill begin in earnest. Ciao for now.