Lucas Hamilton holds onto the leader’s jersey as the break stay clear at Coppi e Bartali

Sat 30 Mar 2019

Race leader Lucas Hamilton safely held onto the leader’s jersey at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali as the break stayed away on stage four.

The Australian will now head into the final stage with a 16-second advantage on his teammates Damien Howson and Nick Schultz, with nearest rival Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) at 22-seconds on the GC.

Flat Roads Ahead

After a hilly day on stage three, the fourth day presented a 171.4km pan-flat course of nine circuits for the peloton to tackle, with a sprint finish expected in Crevalcore.

Eight riders eventually broke clear of the bunch after 20km of racing, with the pack happy to let the escapees’ advantage stretch to over eight minutes.

That gap began to shrink rapidly as the race approached the halfway mark, with the teams looking to set it up for a sprint finale doing the chasing at the head of the bunch.

A Twist in the Tail

With the catch looking inevitable, three riders jumped away from the eight rider breakaway, and they worked well together to open up a strong advantage of over a minute on the peloton.

As they passed under the three kilometres to go banner it was obvious that the stage would be contested between the trio, with no chance of the bunch reeling them back in.

With none of the attackers a threat on the general classification, Mitchelton-SCOTT were content to let the break stay away to the finish, with Ludovic Robeet (Wallonie-Bruxelles) eventually taking the win, while Hamilton rolled home safely in the bunch.

Lucas Hamilton:
“Today was the flattest stage of the race, the peloton let the break go to eight minutes so it was pretty solid out there all day with the sprinters' teams working hard to bring it back.”

“But we were happy for the break to win and the boys did well to keep us GC guys safe towards the front, especially on the last lap. Last year I had a crash on the same circuit so it was good to stay out of trouble.”

“We’ve got a really strong team, a good all-round team, everyone is climbing really well and we’ve been able to keep the race under control so far, so I’m confident we’ll be able to put ourselves in the best position for the overall win.”

“Landa has shown that he’s probably the strongest climber here, so I expect him and Team Sky to try and shake us and get away, so I think it will be an exciting day and a tough day but we’ll give it our best shot.” 

Matt Wilson (Sports Director):
“It couldn’t have gone much better for us today with the group of eight riders going up the road with nobody on the GC in it, so we were really happy to see that go.”

“The sprinters' teams then controlled it all day and they made a bit of an error in the final and the break never ended up coming back, but that made no difference to us, we were happy to finish safely in the bunch.”

“Heading into tomorrow, it’s the hardest stage of the race, we’re in a good position but it’s far from over yet so it should be an exciting stage and hopefully we can hang onto the jersey.”

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Stage 4 Results:
1. Ludovic Robeet (Wllonie-Bruxelles) 3:43:34
2. Mikkel Bjerd (Hagens Beerman Axeon) +0:01
22. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:31

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali GC After Stage 4:
1. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 14:09:28 
2. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:16
3. Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:16

Photo courtesy of Kristof Ramon.