Ulissi wins 4th Giro stage; Dumoulin reclaims overall lead
PRAIA A MARE, Italy -- Italian rider Diego Ulissi won the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday by attacking on a climb shortly before the finish, while Tom Dumoulin crossed second to reclaim the overall lead.
Returning to Italy after three stages in the Netherlands, Ulissi put an Italian stamp on the race after the Dutchman Dumoulin took the opening time trial and Marcel Kittel of Germany won the first two sprints.
Riding for the Lampre team, Ulissi stood up out of his saddle and surged ahead on the steepest section -- at a gradient of 18 percent -- of the short Fortino climb with 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to go. He then maintained his lead on the descent to the finish along the Calabrian seaside.
Completing the hilly 200-kilometer (124-mile) route from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare in nearly five hours, Ulissi finished five seconds ahead of Dumoulin, who edged fellow Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk in a sprint.
It’s the fifth Giro stage win of Ulissi’s career and his 20th victory overall.
“My victory comes after enormous team work,” Ulissi said. “Valerio Conti managed to create the small group and I rode away knowing that, on the final descent, the peloton of chasers would go even faster than me. I gave it everything I had. It’s a huge emotion”.
Dumoulin, of Team Giant-Alpecin, holds a 20-second lead over Bob Jungels, with Ulissi third overall, also 20 seconds behind.
“It’s great to get the Maglia Rosa back,” Dumoulin said, of the race leader’s pink jersey. “That’s what we were working for today. We sent Georg Preidler into the last breakaway. It would have been perfect if he had taken the race lead but it wasn’t to be. At the last gasp, I tried for the stage win but Ulissi was just too strong.”
Pre-race favorite Vincenzo Nibali, the 2013 Giro champion and 2014 Tour de France winner, moved up to sixth, 26 seconds back. Alejandro Valverde, another favorite, is five seconds further behind in seventh.
Previous leader Kittel struggled on several climbs and dropped more than eight minutes behind.
Stage 5 on Wednesday is another hilly 233-kilometer (145-mile) leg from Praia to Benevento.
The 99th edition of the race ends May 29 in Turin.