Lotto Fix All’s Tim Wellens had to dig deep to secure victory in the 202km fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia in Caltagirone today.
With about 10km left it looked as though UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti would take the spoils after the Italian created a 30-second lead over the peloton.
His lead began to be whittled down over the next few kilometres, however, before being swallowed up completely with just three kilometres to go.
A string of attacks ensued in the closing stages of the race as the peloton negotiated a hairpin bend followed by the final climb to the finish.
Belgian Wellens was one of five riders to spin off the front in the final kilometre.
He stayed in the mix and out of trouble and while preserving as much energy as he could he put the hammer down over the final 200 metres to take the win.
BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis (Australia), after staying with the select peloton, retained his pink leader’s jersey ahead of the 153km stage five, starting in Agrigento tomorrow.
Wellens was happy with the victory. “It relieves us from a lot of stress, now we can go easier for the rest of the Giro,” he said afterwards.
“Often when you don’t have any stress, everything comes a little bit easier.”
It was important to be tactful on the final few kilometres, he explained. “It was turning and twisting all day, it was not so easy,” he said.
“I had to be careful not to go too soon, because I knew it as still far out. I had a slight advantage and so I was able to start the climb easy, then I just went full gas with 200-metres left.”