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Giro d'Italia
Giro’15 St.4: The Formolo Formula!
Race Report: Stage 4 was a difficult day to follow, with many breaks splitting and reforming, but in the end Cannondale-Garmin’s young rider Davide Formolo took his first pro win. The GC men also had a sort-out today. A day of full on excitement and all change.

The good news from Italy is that AG2R-La Mondiale’s Domenico Pozzovivo is OK after his terrible crash yesterday. No broken bones, but some very bad cuts around his eye. He said from his hospital bed: “I’m ok but it was a very heavy fall. I don’t remember what happened because I fell. I remember that the descent was difficult and maybe my wheel slipped. I wanted to finish this Giro well and it pains me to leave the race.” The little Italian plans to be back racing in the Tour de Suisse.

Today’s stage 4 is from Chiavari to La Spezia, only 150 kilometers, but there are three Cat 3 climbs on a course with very little flat section. The Colla di Velva (24.4km), Passo del Termine 101.7km) and Biassa which is 9.9 kilometers from the finish.


We didn’t have to wait long for the attacks to come and there were many of them before anything stuck. After 20 kilometers a big group succeeded in gaining any time, but it didn’t suit Tinkoff-Saxo, Etixx – Quick-Step or Sky, so they were not allowed much lead. The front group eventually split with Franco Pelizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Andrey Zeits (Astana) and Mauro Finatto (Southeast) gaining some time.

They in turn were caught by the others, Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) attacked on the first climb to take the KOM points with Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) chasing him.

giro15st4-start-chiavari-620Little did we know what would happen after the start in Chiavari

The big break
The riders off the front were: Simone Stortoni & Franco Pelizotti (Androni Giocattoli), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) Giovanni Visconti & Andrey Amador (Movistar), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal), Kanstantsin Sioutsou (Sky), Pieter Weening, Esteban Chaves & Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Davide Malacarne & Andrey Zeits (Astana), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Sylwester Szmyd (CCC Sprandi), Arnaud Courteille (, Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Tom Danielson & Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin), Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Sergey Lagutin (Katusha), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Yonathan Mosalve & Mauro Finetto (Southeast), Dario Cataldo & Salvatore Puccio (Sky) and probably someone else we missed. Etixx – Quick-Step had missed the group altogether.

From that group a smaller selection was made, but then that was caught again and as some riders were dropped, we again had a large group off the front. Tinkoff-Saxo came to the front, even though they had Roman Kreuziger in the break, and the speed started to lift in the peloton with 85 kilometers to go. No one really knew what was going on as the race was in a less than stable situation.

In the end the front group (mostly) all got together and the break was held at just under 9 minutes. In the front group Keizer had a crash with a spectator and Danielson had a gear problem.

giro15st04-laspezia620La Spezia was waiting in the distance

The halfway point
With 70 kilometers to go to the finish the group split again, this time with Montaguti and Pellizotti going away. They were joined by Amador, but it failed mostly due to Kreuziger working hard to pull them back. Some more riders were dropped.

This group were looking like they could go all the way to the finish, the only question will be who and how many. The next little to escape was Keizer, Moinard, Colbrelli and Visconti. At the sprint in Levanto (91.7km) Colbrelli took the points and Zeits, Montfort, Puccio and Formolo managed to cross to them.

Gianni Meersman had been dropped on the first climb of the stage and eventually called it a day.

giro15st04-contadorgrp620The important group of the day head towards the finish

Astana now decided to help Tinkoff-Saxo with the chase and the lead started to drop towards 7 minutes with 50 kilometers to go.

On the Passo del Termine (Cat 3); Astana put the hammer down which distanced the pink jersey of Michael Matthews. The chase bunch was now around 20 or so riders. Contador, Porte and Uran were still in the group, but both their teams had taken a pasting.

At the top of the Termine it was Formolo first, the next group was at 22 seconds, the main chasers at 1:20 and the peloton at 6 minutes.

40K to go
It was all change again as the lead had gone out to 6:32 to the main GC men, the pink jersey of Matthews was a further 5 or more minutes behind them and had lost any hope of keeping his overall lead. The front group was now made up of a dozen riders.

Astana still had their men on the front of what was left of the peloton and with 30 kilometers to cover the lead had dropped to 3:16, Matthews was at over 12 minutes.

The promise of the break lasting to the finish in La Spezia was starting to look difficult to keep for the front men as the lead had been cut to 2 minutes with 18 kilometers and the last climb still to cover.

giro15st04rp-formulotuck620Formolo dropped like a stone in to La Spezia

There was a lap of 15.6 kilometers to ride and the lead was 1:47 for Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin), Esteban Chaves & Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE), Amaël Moinard (BMC), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Yonathan Monsalve & Mauro Finetto (Southeast), Giovanni Visconti & Andrey Amador (Movistar), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Amaël Moinard & Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Salvatore Puccio & Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) and Maxime Monfort (Lotto Soudal).

Formolo was on fire, he attacked before the final climb of the Biassa; Visconti and Moinard jumped after him as they hit the climb.

In the peloton: Alberto Contador lost his only teammate, Mick Rogers as Astana piled on the pressure. Formolo was looking good.

Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 4The hostilities have started

Aru attacked on the climb, Contador jumps and so does Porte, they are soon onto the stragglers of the break and passes them as Uran can’t hold on.

Formolo summits first, Visconti and Moinard are only at 30 seconds and the Aru/Porte/Contador group are just over 42 seconds behind the Cannondale-Garmin rider.

5K to La Spezia
Formolo had 30 seconds on Visconti and Moinard who were about to be caught by the Aru, Contador and Porte group who had Simon Clarke on their wheel, he could take the pink jersey tonight.

At 2 kilometers out; the gap was still at 30 seconds and Formolo could smell the victory. The 22 year-old was on his last legs, but was rolling in towards his first professional win. Kreuziger was leading the chase.

giro15st4-formolo-win-620Young Formolo - big win

The last meters to the victory
Out of the saddle in the last meters and the young lad had his big win. Clarke sprinted for the line to take second and the pink jersey, he crossed the line with his arms in the air, did he think he won the stage or just so happy to carry on the Orica-GreenEDGE jersey wearing habit. Visconti told him he was second.

It was one of the most complicated and at times confusing days in any Grand Tour, but in the end there was a worthy stage winner and a new pink jersey wearer: Clarke, but the same team.

giro15st4-clarke-podium-620Another pink jersey for the Orica-GreenEDGE bus

Keep it PEZ for everything Giro.

Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Result:
1. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin in 3:47:59
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:22
3. Yonattah Monsalve (Ven) Southeast
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
7. Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
9. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky
11. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky
12. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC
13. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
14. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) at 1:04
15. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
16. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar
17. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
18. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
20. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal
21. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
22. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana
23. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky
24. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 1:22
25. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2:24.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 11:54:48
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:10
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:23
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
7. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:29
8. Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC at 0:31
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:37
11. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky
12. Jonathan Monsalve (Ven) Southeast at 0:57
13. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana at 1:05
14. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step at 1:11
15. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 1:13
16. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 1:17
17. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) at 1:18
18. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:19
19. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
20. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:21
21. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal
22. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC at 1:44
23. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 2:07
24. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana at 2:25
25. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2:39.


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