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Bardiani youngster shows tremendous power to outsprint Felline and Visconti while Paolini keeps the maglia rosa and Wiggins loses time

Photo: Sirotti










07.05.2013 @ 17:40 Posted by Malte Philbert Jessen

Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani) has been knocking on the door for a couple of years and today he finally took his big breakthrough win when he emerged as the fastest from a select group of favourites at the end of a tough fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia. He outsprinted Fabio Felline (Androni) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) while Luca Paolini (Katusha) kept the jersey and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) lost time in a hectic final.


Enrico Battaglin came very close to a his big breakthrough win in yesterday's third stage of the Giro d'Italia but he was unable to keep up with the best on the final descent. Today he made sure not to make any mistakes and bided his time as the peloton climbed a hard category two climb towards the end of the fourth stage of the Italian grand tour.


However, he had any reason to fear that the win would slip away at the last minute as a dangerous move from a resurgent Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia) were up the road as they crested the summit with only 6,5km remaining. On the rain-soaked roads it was highly unclear who had to take responsibility of the chase in the highly reduced peloton and it was only due to a very hard effort by Ben Gastauer (Ag2r) that the duo were finally caught inside the final 500m of the race.


As the road started to kick slightly upwards towards the finish line the few "sprinters" left in the group started to amass near the front. Fabio Felline (Androni) - who had struggled at the back of the peloton all the way up the climb - race leader Luca Paolini, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Battaglin all battled to start the sprint in the best position.


When Battaglin finally put down the hammer, there was, however, never any doubt as to who was the strongest. While Paolini had no more power left and faded back to finish 10th, the young Italian burst clear on the moderate slope and took a hugely convincing win ahead of Felline and Visconti.


Despite Paolini's failed attempt to contest the sprint, the veteran Italian could console himself with the fact that he kept a firm hold on the maglia rosa and it will now be very difficult to take it off his shoulders before Friday's difficult stage to Pescara. However, disaster struck for the man that most predicted to take over the lead at the end of today's stage as a gap opened up on the wet roads in the final part of the race. As a consequence, Bradley Wiggins lost 19 seconds to his key rivals and moved from 2nd to 6th in the GC. He is now 3 seconds behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and equal on time with Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp).


The race continues with a 203km fifth stage tomorrow. While it is mostly flat, two small climbs await in the end and from the top of the last one, only a few km of flat roads remain before the riders reach the finish line in Matera.


Starting at 14.15 you can follow the action on


7 riders on the attack

The mammoth 246km stage from Policastro Bussentino to Serra San Bruno was expected to give some small signs of the strength and weaknesses of the race favourites as a long flat day would finish with two climbs. The final one - the category 2 Croce Ferrata - had its top located only 6,5km from the finish and while it was not a steep one, it was the perfect launch pad for attacks.


Many doubted that Luca Paolini had any chance to defend his lead and so it was highly uncertain if Katusha would do a huge amount of work to control the stage. Hence, many riders wanted to get into the day's early break and the race was off to an aggressive start.


After 18km of racing, Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel), Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Anthony Roux (FDJ), Julien Berard (Ag2r), Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) and Emanuele Sella (Androni) managed to escape. They were allowed to build up a gap of 8.15 before Katusha started to control.


Katusha control the gap

The gap came down to less than 7 minutes and for a long time, the Russian team kept the gap stable at around 6.30. Maxim Belkov, Dmitriy Kozontchuk and Pavel Brutt were responsible for the early work while up ahead the front group had a smooth collaboration.


With 100km to go, Katusha started to accelerate and the gap quickly fell below the four minute mark. Sella's presence in the break was the main problem for his fellow escapees as the Italian was a threat to Paolini's lead and so the 6 other riders wanted to get rid of their companion.


With 95km to go Tamouridis attacked and he was joined by Roux. However, Berard brought it back together but moments later Le Bon countered the move. Joined by Minguez and Ligthart he set off and later Berard also managed to join the move. It was mission accomplished as Sella was left behind with Tamouridis and Roux who did not want to chase down their teammates.


Vini Fantini start to chase

With 74km to go the three chasers were caught while Katusha kept the gap stable at around the five minute mark. With 66km to go the Vini Fantini team started to chase as they had one of the day's favourites Mauro Santambrogio in their ranks.


Francesco Chicchi and Rafael Andriato set a very hard tempo as they approached the day's first climb and the gap started to come down rapidly. At the bottom of the ascent the 4 escapees was less than a minute ahead and this was the signal for Berard to attack.


Minguez joined the move and later managed to drop the Frenchman who fell back to Le Bon and Ligthart. Berard and Ligthart were both caught moments later while it was all over for Le Bon with 48km remaining.


Minguez fought hard to keep the peloton at bay but a tortuous tempo set by Alessandro Proni (Vini Fantini) turned it into an impossible mission. Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto-Belisol) had a short dig off the front but with 42km to go it was all back together.


New attacks

As they approached the top of the climb, Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) attacked and less than a kilometer from the KOM sprint he was joined by Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) who wants to win the mountains competition in this Giro. The Italian took maximum points ahead of Gretsch while Visconti sneaked ahead to take third place and the provisional lead in the competition.


Rain had started to fall and the descent was treacherous. Hence, it was a nervous peloton which started to negotiate the many turns and the hectic bunch brought back the two escapees. Meanwhile, Nibali had an untimely puncture but as he got a wheel from teammate Valerio Agnoli he was quickly back in the bunch.


Leonardo Duque (Colombia) had a small dig off the front on the descent but he was soon caught and instead it was Frederik Willems (Lotto-Belisol) and once again Gretsch who used a moment of hesitation to attack. They managed to build up a gap of 30 seconds before the Bardiani team showed Battaglin's intentions and started to chase.


Attacks on the final climb

On the lower slopes of the final climb the duo was caught and instead Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) went on the attack. He was joined by Pirazzi, Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Sylvain Georges (Ag2r) but soon after the latter set off on his own while the remaining three were caught by the peloton.


Wiggins had now asked Kanstantsin Siutsou to set the usual hard, steady tempo of the Sky team and this forced many riders to drop off the back as the peloton gradually got smaller and smaller. The effort also reduced the gap of Georges which at one point had been almost a minute.


Di Luca on the move

With 10km to go Di Luca and Chalapud attacked and they quickly passed Georges who was caught by the peloton. The veteran Italian did a huge amount of work while the Colombian clung to his wheel but at the top of the climb it was the South American who sneaked past to take the maximum points. Visconti was third across the line to consolidate his lead in the competition.


At the top the riders started to tackle a wet, technical descent and Di Luca gave it his all to stay clear of the peloton. However, Gastauer started to chase from behind and it ended up being the undoing for the front duo. Instead, it ended up in a sprint from which Battaglin emerged to take a huge breakthrough win in his big home race.



1. Enrico Battaglin 6.14.19

2. Fabio Felline

3. Giovanni Visconti

4. Rigoberto Uran

5. Arnold Jeannesson

6. Cadel Evans

7. Benat Intxausti

8. Ryder Hesjedal

9. Robert Kiserlovski

10. Luca Paolini


General classification:

1. Luca Paolini 15.18.51

2. Rigoberto Uran +0.17

3. Benat Intxausti +0.26

4. Vincenzo Nibali +0.31

5. Ryder Hesjedal +0.34

6. Bradley Wiggins +0.34

7. Gianpaolo Caruso +0.36

8. Sergio Henao +0.37

9. Mauro Santambrogio +0.39

10. Cadel Evans +0.42


Points classification:

1. Luca Paolini 35

2. Cadel Evans 30

3. Mark Cavendish 28

4. Enrico Battaglin 25

5. Ryder Hesjedal 24


Mountains classification:

1. Giovanni Visconti 13

2. Willem Wauters 9

3. Robinson Chalapud 9

4. Stefano Pirazzi 5

5. Danilo Di Luca 5


Young riders' classification:

1. Fabio Aru 15.20.06

2. Rafal Majka +0.19

3. Carlos Betancur +0.32

4. Wilco Kelderman +1.06

5. Diego Rosa +1.09


Teams' classification:

1. Katusha 45.13.27

2. Sky +0.24

3. Astana +0.45

4. BMC +1.19

5. Garmin +1.48



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