For the fourth stage in a row, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was represented at the front of the race as Jacques Janse van Rensburg made it into the winning breakaway on stage 4 of Giro d’Italia.
On paper, today’s stage seemed to be a good one for a breakaway to make it all the way. However, despite the clear indications, only four riders ended up forming the break of the day. Janse van Rensburg was quick to join the move and the small group quickly established a solid gap on the peloton.
On the first categorized climb of the day, the gap started to dwindle but at the top, the quartet still enjoyed a lead of over six minutes. Janse van Rensburg did well to win the KOM sprint to secure 15 points, meaning he was now second in the classification after his teammate Daniel Teklehaimanot.
As the breakaway took on the final ascent up to Etna, only two riders were left at the front; Janse van Rensburg and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates). Polanc went solo early on the climb, leaving Janse van Rensburg behind. Meanwhile, in the peloton, Igor Antón decided to test his legs with a couple of attacks. Our Basque climber was seventh the last time the race finished on the Sicilian volcano and he was eager to fight for another top result again today. However, the peloton never let him get much of a gap and soon after, the top GC riders started making their moves.
Despite several attacks from the pre-stage favorites, Polanc managed to hold on to win the stage, while Igor Antón crossed the line in 24th place. Teklehaimanot enjoyed another day in the blue mountain jersey but had to relinquish it Polanc at the end of the stage. Teklehaimanot is now second in both the KOM and the sprint competitions. Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) finished seventh on the stage and thereby moved into the pink leader’s jersey. Natnael Berhane is best-placed Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider in the general classification: he sits in 28th place.
Jacques Janse van Rensburg:
“Today was a good day to be in the break. I felt quite good at the beginning of the stage and we worked well together in the breakaway. I won the first KOM sprint and continued to feel good on the bike but as we started on the last climb, well, I don’t know what happened. I just didn’t have the legs for it. However, I heard that Igor [Antón] and Natu [Berhane] did well, so it was still a good day for the team. Of course, I would have liked to hang on at the front, but today was just not my day. I hope to improve and have another go later in the race”.