Giro d’Italia: Jan Polanc wins on Mount Etna

Jan Polanc wins on Mount Etna whilst Geraint Thomas is up to second on GC with Adam Yates third

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Giro d’Italia: Jan Polanc wins on Mount Etna

UAE Team Emirates’ climber Jan Polanc won stage four, the first of the mountain stages, at the 100th Giro d’Italia. Polanc also claimed the Blue Jersey (Maglia Azzurra) and will wear it on Wednesday May 10, 2017 as the leader in the mountains classification.

Photo: @giroditalia 

The Slovenian climber, who had previously claimed a stage win in the 2015 Giro, had recently undergone altitude training on Mount Etna in preparation alongside teammates Rui Costa and Simone Petilli. “I am elated and so happy” said the 25-year old UAE Team Emirates’ rider who had just celebrated his birthday on May 2.

Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) went solo on the lower ramps of the final climb and it was left to the domestiques of the overall contenders to take up the chase. He said afterwards “Today’s stage was very demanding and the climb was challenging, especially after having been in the front of the peloton for most of the stage. Towards the end I was exhausted however was determined to give it everything I had. I would like to thank the team, management and sponsors for their unwavering support. I underwent altitude training on Mount Etna back in March and April and it feels nice to be back here with a victory. I will proudly wear the Maglia Azzura and hope I can retain it for the remainder of the Giro. After 2015, to repeat the victory on the first mountain stage, it’s incredible for me – I’m really happy.”
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Thomas up to second on GC and Yates Third
Geraint Thomas put in an impressive performance to sprint to third on stage four at the Giro d’Italia, as the Etna climb ended largely in stalemate. Bonus seconds on the line saw the Welshman elevate himself to second place overall, just six seconds behind the new race leader Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors).

The fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia promised a lot with the Tour’s first mountain stage finishing up Etna. Four riders formed the day’s breakaway, but Quickstep Floors kept their advantage at a manageable six-minutes throughout the day. By the time they reached the final climb, the breakaway had reduced to two riders and their advantage was under five-minutes.

Thomas looked comfortable on the famed volcanic climb, and finished in an elite front group which also contained team-mate Mikel Landa. The Spaniard had to battle back from a puncture at a key point on the ascent, but was able to regroup and now sits ninth overall, 10 seconds off pink.

Whilst warming down, Thomas told “Today was good. Everyone was kind of watching each other and it didn’t go completely crazy because of headwind towards the top. No one wanted to do too much, but I felt good and it was nice to get a few bonus seconds in the end. It’s a good start. To be so close to pink – okay it would have been nice to have got it – but so far so good.”

Business really picked up on the approach to Etna, with the pace increasing, and Thomas among those to narrowly avoid a crash as the peloton overshot a right-hander. With blustery conditions causing the GC contenders to look at one another, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) launched a short-lived attack of his own with 3km to go, but was quickly hauled back.

Assessing the stage, Matt White, Adam Yates DS at Orica Scott explained “The conditions, with a head wind on the final climb, made the race a bit more negative than many had thought or wished for and as a result we didn’t see any of the fireworks that were anticipated,” sport director Matt White said. For us, Adam’s performance showed he is up there with the main contenders, but after the first mountain stage we haven’t seen really any weaknesses from any of the major contenders.

Stage four result
1. Jan Polanc (UAE Abu Dhabi) 4:55:58
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) +19″
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +29″
4. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) s.t.
5. Dario Cataldo (Astana)
Overall standings
1. Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) 19:41:56
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +6″
3. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) +10″
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) s.t.
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
6. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
7. Tom Dumoulin Team Sunweb
8. Bauke Mollema Trek – Segafredo,,
9. Mikel Landa Team Sky
10. Thibaut Pinot FDJ
11. Tejay van Garderen BMC Racing Team
12. Andrey Amador Movistar Team
13. Davide Formolo Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
14. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin 0:14
15. Steven Kruijswijk Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:23
16. Wilco Kelderman Team Sunweb
17. Rui Costa UAE Team Emirates0:46
18. Tanel Kangert Astana Pro Team0:54
19. Jan Polanc UAE Team Emirates0:58



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