Giro d’Italia #4: Meintjes makes no mistake on tough stage


In today’s summit finish, Tim Wellens (Lotto Fix All) took the win, followed by Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo).

With the Giro d’Italia starting outside of Europe for the first time, stage four saw the race return to Italy. Stage Four, taking place in Sicily, ran 202km from Catania to Caltagirone. The stage contained two category four climbs and a summit finish offering gradients of 13% at points.

The break of the day escaped 20km into the stage. Containing 5 riders; Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Marco Frapporti (Androni-Giocattoli), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Triestina), Maxim Belkov (Katusha-Alpecin) and Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale), they worked well together to stay out in front. The group dwindled from five to three near the finish but with 13km to go, the escape was completely neutralized.

In the final 10km, a bottleneck in the road caused a crash near the front of the peloton, Louis Meintjes got through okay but Ben O’Connor was held up. Ryan Gibbons and Natnael Berhane were on hand to assist O’Connor in chasing back, and the Australian made the junction to the front group with 3km to go.

The short sharp summit finish suited the punchy riders and Wellens lived up to his favourite for the stage tag, taking the victory. Meintjes showed some promising signs, to finish among the main GC contenders in 17th on the stage, and even ahead of the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).

Louis Meintjes- Rider 
“Yeah, it was a super hard stage, up and down all day. It was quite nervous in the bunch too. The stage was much harder than it looked on paper. In the final my legs felt good, I think I lost a bit of time but I was at least close to the front.”