Infant-faced Formolo first following bloody big break bedlam
Stage four was won by Italian rider, Davide Formolo, who looks like Peter Sagan’s younger brother’s even younger cousin. Yes, that does basically just add up to being Peter Sagan’s cousin, but saying that wouldn’t express how young Formolo looks. Really young.
Formolo was in a monster break that contained about 30 riders. At one point they had about 10 minutes on the main field despite one of them being Roman Kreuziger, who is surely an overall contender (albeit one who is for now subordinate to team-mate Alberto Contador). Despite the large gap and multitudes, somehow Formolo was the only one who stayed away. He attacked at the foot of the final climb and had just 22 seconds advantage when he crossed the line at then foot of the subsequent descent.
Next man over was the Aussie, Simon Clarke, who took the race lead from his team-mate, Michael Matthews. This wasn’t theft though. Matthews had effectively shed the maglia rosa earlier in the stage and it was flapping about in the breeze, waiting to be claimed. It was quite an impressive feat for Clarke to snatch it as he’d been behind the leaders’ group on the final slope and had been forced to bolt after them on the descent before then outsprinting them all.
Loser of the day
Not an American thing. No cyclist is a loser in that sense. In fact no-one is. This particular subheading relates to time losses and Rigoberto Uran was the main contender to suffer in this regard.
The entire Astana team seemed to spend the last third of the day punishing everyone for some unknown slight. It was they who brought back the bulk of the break and at such a pace that those dropped on the climbs couldn’t regain contact with what passed for a peloton on the descents.
With 10km to go, their team leader, Fabio Aru, attacked – an unusual thing to do on a mere hilly stage, but perfectly understandable the state everyone was in. While Contador and Richie Porte managed to follow him, Uran didn’t. The trio advanced as far as the remnants of the break, while Uran was left behind in a different group and ultimately lost 42 seconds on his rivals. King Leopold and perennial 15th place finisher Jurgen Van Den Broeck were also in this group.
Ryder Hesjedal, if he was ever a contender, also lost time. He lost touch with the main group long before Uran did and lost five minutes.
In simple terms
Contador, Aru and Porte appear to be the riders to watch from now on.
A summit finish, but not a real killer. The final climb’s 17km at 5.4% although more of a false flat near the start, so steeper later. It’s big enough to tell us a lot, but hopefully not so tough as to result in huge time gaps which might make the rest of the race less intriguing.