Giro d'Italia stage 4: Jonathan Milan takes memorable sprint win

Tadej Pogačar retains maglia rosa as sprinters shine and late Filippo Ganna attack is foiled

Clock14:57, Tuesday 7th May 2024
Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) wins stage 4 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) wins stage 4 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia

Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek) sprinted to victory on stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, opening up early on the fast finish into Andora and putting down the power to hold off his competitors all the way to the line.

Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took second just behind the Italian, whilst Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) took third in the high-speed bunch kick.

With the Capo Mele climb punctuating the finale of the Milan-San Remo-style stage, Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) tried a late attack, launching with 4km to go on the climb, and looked to be away at one point, but was brought back with 600m to go as Lidl-Trek opened up the lead-out.

Simone Consonni dropped Milan off with around 300m to go, leaving the Italian on the front for a long time, but his strength proved enough with none of Groves, Bauhaus or stage 3 winner Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) able to come round him at all. Winner of the sprints jersey in 2023, this is Milan’s second Giro d’Italia stage win, and his first of this year’s race after taking second on Monday.

"So many emotions now. I said from the beginning we came here with one goal for everyone," Milan said at the finish.

"Today the guys did an amazing job, it’s such an amazing sensation to win again here in the Giro d’Italia. I really have to say thanks always to my teammates, they believe in this day, and also it’s pretty special because my parents are here, so I’m really happy.

"I want to say thanks also to the people who are watching me from home, who were really close to me in this period before and in these moments, so thanks to everyone. We saw Ganna going really full gas in the last climb. We caught him with 900m to go – he also helped us in a way, let’s say. Then Simo did a fantastic lead-out and I just had to play my cards then."

Read more: Giro d'Italia: Biniam Girmay crashes twice before abandoning in the wet conditions

With a climb in the middle of the day and the Capo Mele in the finale, stage 4 was not a totally straightforward flat day, but still culminated in a fast finish with essentially a downhill run to the line in Andora.

The last remaining breakaway riders Stefan de Bod (EF Education-EasyPost) and Francisco Muñoz (Polti Kometa) were caught 5km to go after being out front all day, just before Ganna’s attack, with the sprint teams bringing things back together for the second day in a row.

Finishing in the main peloton, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) continues to lead the overall classification, whilst Milan’s win sees him move into the ciclamino points jersey.

A rapid dash down the coast and through Liguria

Stage 4 rolled out from Acqui Terme under grey skies for another day that was expected to finish in a sprint in Andora. After stage 3’s complete lack of early breakaway action, the start of stage 4 wasn’t all that much more eventful, with a four-man break very easily rolling off the front in the first few kilometres, with hardly any fight at all. The quartet that went was made up of the day’s final attacker Filippo Ganna, Stefan de Bod, Francisco Muñoz and Lilian Calmejane (Intermarché-Wanty), who was there in pursuit of mountain points for the second day running.

This group was quickly allowed to build up a gap, and normal proceedings resumed in the peloton, with Soudal Quick-Step and Intermarché-Wanty sharing pacing duties on the front. After 25km, Ganna sat up, presumably reformulating his plan for the day, leaving three at the front as their gap climbed to five minutes.

At the first sprint of the day, Muñoz took maximum points from the break, whilst Kaden Groves sprinted from the bunch to take fourth and pick up a few points, just ahead of ciclamino jersey wearer Merlier.

On the first – and only – categorised climb of the day, a 7.5km ascent with 100km to go, Ineos, UAE Team Emirates and Lidl-Trek kept the pace high to try and deter attacks, but the effect was that several riders were put in trouble early on. Fabio Jakobsen (dsm-firmenich PostNL) was the biggest victim, losing over a minute before the peloton even reached the top of the climb, and looking on his limit with the final sprint still a long way away.

At the top, Calmejane took the maximum points, moving up to second in the KoM classification, and he dropped back to the peloton soon after. With 70km to go, a nasty crash on a corner on a wet descent saw a large number of riders go down, including Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty). Girmay came off worst, suffering an abrasion to his right hip and looking uncomfortable, though he did start riding again. Whilst trying to chase back on, the Eritrean slid out on another corner just a few kilometres later, landing on the other hip, and at this point he did pull the plug, abandoning the race.

The crash had caused a split in the peloton, and with some teams really pushing on in the main group, it was a tough job for the distanced riders to chase back on, but they did all rejoin the lead. The gap to the remaining breakaway riders was down to 2:25 with 50km to go as the sprint teams ramped up towards the finale.

From here, the race hugged the coast and it was just a long chase as the peloton charged towards the finish, with little other action to speak of and all eyes looking towards the bunch sprint and the gap coming down steadily. The leading pair still had 30 seconds of an advantage with 15km to go, but this meant little, knowing how fast the peloton would come to the finish. They were eventually caught with 4.5km to go, at the foot of the Capo Mele climb.On the climb, Filippo Ganna launched from the peloton with 4km to go, and got a jump on the bunch, with the chase not fully organised behind, and he went onto the descent with a seven-second advantage.

It was Lidl-Trek and Alpecin-Deceuninck who were leading the chase, and they clawed Ganna back with just 600m to go, with the lead-outs coming round the Italian in full force. Consonni delivered Milan into the perfect position, taking the sprint up from early on and holding on to win. Groves came from a fair way back to take second with an impressive finishing speed, whilst Bauhaus, Olav Kooij (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Merlier completed the top five.

Race Results

1

it flag

MILAN Jonathan

Lidl-Trek

4H 16' 03"

2

au flag

GROVES Kaden

Alpecin-Deceuninck

"

3

de flag

BAUHAUS Phil

Bahrain Victorious

"

4

nl flag

KOOIJ Olav

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

"

5

be flag

MERLIER Tim

Soudal Quick-Step

"

6

it flag

BALLERINI Davide

Astana Qazaqstan Team

"

7

co flag

GAVIRIA Fernando

Movistar Team

"

8

it flag

ZANONCELLO Enrico

VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè

"

9

ee flag

MIHKELS Madis

Intermarché-Wanty

"

10

it flag

LONARDI Giovanni

Team Polti Kometa

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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