With only three stages completed, the 100th Giro d’Italia headed right to the difficult climb to Mt. Etna on Tuesday’s stage 4. Losing some seconds on an earlier stage due to a split in the final, Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’S Ilnur Zakarin seized the opportunity on the steep slopes to attack in the closing kilometers to grab back time to his rivals, earning a second place finish behind solo winner Jan Polanc.
“It was a good day for me. It was really hard on the final climb to Mt. Etna because we had a strong headwind so there were not many attacks. In the end I tried to go away to get back some seconds from my competition. Unfortunately we may be losing two riders for the race due to crashes,” said team leader Ilnur Zakarin. Zakarin now holds 14th place at fourteen seconds, only four seconds behind the pre-race favorites.
Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) was part of an original breakaway that went clear from the early kilometers of the race and managed to hold on for victory in the 181k stage that began in Cefalù. Zakarin’s efforts with 2k to go helped move the Russian rider back within striking distance of the maglia rosa. For now the pink jersey rests on the back of Bob Jungels of Quick-Step Floors.
However bad news was confirmed post-race that Pavel Kochetkov suffered a broken collarbone and is out of the race. Team Osteopath Hansi Friedl popped the shoulder of Alberto Losada back into place in the ambulance so he could continue to race. He was in danger of missing the time cut for the stage but bravely finished and is expected to be on the start line tomorrow.
Stage 5 on Wednesday begins in Pedara and ends in a long flat run-in to Messina at 159k.
Photo credit © Tim De Waele