Yates minimises damage after a late crash on stage 4 of Giro d’Italia

Tue 14 May 2019

2018 Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates has minimised time losses after a series of late crashes shaped the finale of stage four of the Giro d’Italia.

Yates fell victim to a second crash, on a roundabout with around six kilometres remaining. The 26-year-old remounted and chased hard, limiting the damage to just 16seconds from race leader Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma), who was the only general classification rider to avoid mishap.

On and off for the sprint:
Three riders, each from Pro-Continental teams, rode easily into today’s breakaway and quickly out to an advantage of over 12minutes.

As one of the longest stages of the race and with some uncertainty around the uphill drag to the finish line, there was some hesitancy in the bunch in terms of chase responsibility.

Lotto-Soudal and Groupama FDJ took up responsibilities early, but they withdrew their efforts and the advantage extended back out with Jumbo-Visma seemingly keen to hand over the lead at the end of the stage.

Bora-Hansgrohe, UAE Team Emirates and Deceuninck-Quickstep then took up the reigns until 50km to go to reduce the gap back under five minutes before they too backed off the pace and the trio’s lead ballooned to over six minutes again. 

With some extra assistance from the general classification outfits, the gap eventually began to tumble and the race was back together with 10km to go.

Flurry of crashes causes chaos:
Tensions were high as Mitchelton-SCOTT and their rivals fought for position towards the front of the bunch.

A series of crashes in the last 10km started towards the back of the pack until one hit closer towards the front.

Yates slid out in the final mishap on a roundabout whilst Roglic was the only general classification rider to avoid the carnage, finishing amongst the front group behind stage winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team). 

The Briton avoided serious injury and remounted for a frantic chase to the line, joined by fellow general classification riders including Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). The trio lost 16seconds to Roglic as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) seemed to suffer the worst of the crash, dropping four minutes.

Simon Yates:
“Everyone was fighting for position on a roundabout with about six kilometres to go and a rider has slid out in front of me. It was no one’s fault, it was just in the fight for position and these things happen. I got up quickly and I had the guys around me to limit the losses.” 

“I’ve hit my knee and hip, just on the left hand side, but I’m OK. We’ll see how I pull up tomorrow, it’s always worse in the morning, but the Giro is long. 

“We just try to stay safe, that’s what everyone is trying to do. Crashes are a part of our sport.” 

Matt White – Sport Director:
“We managed to avoid the first crashes, but Simon has gone down around a roundabout in the last one. He has managed to salvage it quite well to only lose 16seconds to Roglic.

“Our guys did a very good job in the last hour and a half. Simon was in great position but you always need a bit of luck.

“It doesn’t change anything at all, this first 12 days is about managing the load of the team and getting through as fresh as possible before the real race starts at the end of the second week.

“We’ve gained a bit of time on a couple of rivals today, obviously Dumoulin lost a big chunk of time today and (Mikel) Landa lost another 30seconds, but Nibali, Lopez and Simon have all finished on the same time, just behind Roglic.” 

Giro d’Italia – Stage 4 Results:
1. Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 5:58:17
2. Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) ST
3. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) ST
10. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:18

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 10:21:01
2. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:35
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +0:39

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.