The 4th stage and what was labelled the queen stage, saw another sprint finish over the uphill drag to the line with Moreno Hofland (Lotto-Jumbo) coming out on top. Yves Lampaert (Etixx-Quickstep) was 2nd and Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin) was 3rd.
The early racing saw 6 riders break clear of the peloton. The gap quickly grew to 6 minutes before Lotto-Soudal and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung came to the front of the peloton to restore order to proceedings. Gradually the gap came down as riders took on the 6 mountain primes before them.
The leaders hit the finishing circuit that had to be completed 3 times with a small advantage but by 16km to go, the race was all together. The early regrouping saw a few counter attacks that really stretched out the main group, this pressure would see the race split into several groups with just 10km to go. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung showed good depth to control the race deep into the final stages.
It would be a difficult finale with the last 3 kilometers all going uphill. Gerald Ciolek would show he had strong legs today, remaining attentive during the splitting of the peloton to consistently ride with the front runners. The tough finish certainly suited our German strongman as in the end, Gerald sprinted his way into 8th position.
Gerald Ciolek – Rider
It was a tough day. The team did a great job controlling the entire race, everyone was really supportive. I didn’t have the best position going into the last uphill section so coming into the finishing straight I had to start my sprint early which wasn’t the best situation. After a disappointing first day we have regained our team spirit and if we continue like this then success is coming soon.