Giro stage 4: Battling Battaglin

Stage 4: Policastro Bussentino to Serra San Bruno, 246km

Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) burst from the pack to take his maiden Giro victory ahead of Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).

Like yesterday’s stage, two late climbs – combined this time with wet roads and poor visibility – helped shatter the leading bunch. A late attack from the ‘Killer’, Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia) 7km from home was shut down only 300 metres from the finish.

The Katusha team of yesterday’s stage winner and race leader Luca Paolini brought their man home comfortably in tenth place in the leading group to preserve his overall lead and the points jersey. One of today’s losers was Giro favourite Bradley Wiggins (Sky), who was caught behind a three-man crash, lost 17 seconds and dropped from second to sixth in the GC.

VeloVoices rider of the day

Today’s pick is stage winner Enrico Battaglin, a 23-year-old second year pro with small-budget Pro Continental wild-card outfit Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox. He burst out of the bunch in the gloaming in his sherbet-lime outfit to take the biggest win of his nascent career. He was one of the few sprinters to make it over the two climbs and hang with the leading group. Of course, he’ll be hoping that his career follows a similar trajectory to that of his namesake Giovanni Battaglin, who won the Giro in 1981. It’s looking promising, as young Enrico already has 24 victories to his name since he started competing as a junior, although this victory is by far the biggest and most significant so far.

Opinion & analysis

This Giro has provided plenty of excitement since the off. While today’s stage perhaps lacked the fireworks of yesterday’s, there were nonetheless some changes on GC. All of the favourites bar one finished in the leading group. Bradley Wiggins was delayed by three riders falling in front of him, but the latest word from the Giro is that his time won’t be adjusted since he didn’t actually fall. He finished 17 seconds down having been seemingly abandoned by his Colombian teammates Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran, with the latter moving up to second overall. Maybe, as Spanish-speakers, they didn’t understand the instruction to wait for Wiggo?

Also, pop-pickers, look who’s now in 10th place overall and a mere eight seconds back from Wiggins. Yes, it’s Cadel Evans (BMC), who is indeed giving the Giro his best shot, just as he said.

Despite the rain and fog, the descents weren’t sufficiently long or technical for any of the renowned descenders to chance their arms today. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) did have a bit of a scare with a puncture but he soon swapped out a teammate’s wheel and was quickly back in the bosom of the peloton.

Stage 4 result

1. Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) 6:14:19

2. Fabio Felline (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) same time

3. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) s/t

4. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) s.t

5. Arnold Jeannesson (Ag2r La Mondiale) s/t

General classification

1. Luca Paolini (Katusha) 15:18:51

2. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) +0:17

3. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +0:26

4. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +0:31

5. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) +0:34

6. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) same time

7. Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) +0:36

8. Sergio Henao (Sky) +0:37

9. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) +0:39

10. Cadel Evans (BMC) +0:42

Link: Official website

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