Mixed fortunes for GC duo

24 Mar 2018

Mixed fortunes for GC duo

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Geraint Thomas relinquished the overall lead at Tirreno-Adriatico after he suffered an untimely issue with his bike in the closing kilometres that saw him lose 40 seconds to eventual stage four victor Mikel Landa (Movistar).

Thomas lost his grip on the Maglia Azzurra, but Michal Kwiatkowski finished in the first group behind Landa and moves up to second overall just one second shy of new leader Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing). 

The Welshman dropped his chain just as a small group of GC contenders were reducing the gap to Landa, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) who had formed a leading quartet after breaking away from the elite bunch separately. 

After being issued with a replacement bike, Thomas used Chris Froome to help him get back into contention, reducing his losses on what could have had serious consequences for his overall classification hopes.

Earlier, Team Sky had led the peloton to catch a long range break that led until the final climb, with excellent work from Jonathan Castroviejo, Gianni Moscon and Salvatore Puccio helping to reel in the escapees who led by more than six minutes at one point.   

Once the break had been caught, Astana led the peloton briefly on the opening kilometres of the Sarnano Sassotetto ascent with a fierce pace to setup a solo push for glory from Miguel Angel Lopez, who was eventually caught and  dropped by the chasing quartet, with Landa coming out on top. 
The result leaves Thomas fifth overall, 26 seconds behind Caruso with three stages of the ‘Race of the Two Seas’ remaining, including a final stage individual time trial. 
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

You’re riding for 250km, you’re spending a lot of energy and it didn’t go as we wanted, but we’re ready for what’s coming next
It was a bittersweet moment for 'Kwiato' as he was disappointed the team was unable to pull off the pre-race plan to perfection, but was happy with his own form heading into a key part of the campaign for him.

He told TeamSky.com: “I was happy with my form, but actually it’s bad luck with G and I had to hang on because of my place in the GC. I knew Chris [Froome] was behind and he could help him 

“It was a really good performance of the team, especially from Salva [Puccio], Jonathan [Castroviejo] and it was a difficult stage to control. 

“You’re riding for 250km, you’re spending a lot of energy and it didn’t go as we wanted, but we’re ready for what’s coming next.”
And despite the disappointment of losing the overall lead, Thomas was upbeat about his and the team's chances of success with three stages remaining. 

Thomas added: “I felt so comfortable and the boys rode really well, we were well in control and as I was shifting into the big ring the chain slipped off and got jammed and it was stuck in the frame which meant I had to get a spare bike.

“But anything can happen, I just need some good luck at some point.”
Stage four result:

1. Mikel Landa (Movistar) 6:22:13
2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
3. George Bennett (Team Lotto-Jumbo) s.t.
4. Fabio Aru (UAW-Team Emirates) +6"
5. Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) s.t.
14. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) s.t

Overall standings:

1. Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) 17:41:49
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +1"
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +11"
4. Mikel Landa (Movistar) +20"
5. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +26"

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