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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia stage 4: Arnaud Demaré denies Peter Sagan in stage 4 sprint

João Almeda holds on to the overall lead through a fast, flat, rain-dampened stage.

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Launching with less than 300 meters to go, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) won a very tight sprint for the line in stage 4 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, pipping Peter Sagan right at the line.

This is Demaré’s tenth win of the restarted 2020 season.

“It’s great, luck is with me,” said Démare.”Even at home, I practice throwing the bike.”

The Frenchman, answering questions after his win today continued, “I threw my bike on the line but I had absolutely no idea if I had won. I saw [Davide] Ballerini who seemed to be celebrating the victory with his teammates. I thought he had known it through the headset. I was called to go to the podium. But, as I was not sure of the victory, I could not savor as it should have been.”

Leading most of the final 20km, Groupama-FDJ did the lion’s share of the work, with Bora-Hansgrohe contributing to the pace to ensure their sprinters were in place.

The situation on the road in the final 60km was Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec) had a 2:34 advantage over the main group, from a break launched early in the stage.

Some undulating roads took riders through heavy fog and then some light rain, which reduced the speed of the pursuit. But as soon as the peloton cleared this weather, the chase was on lead by Groupama-FDJ, with some assistance from Bora-Hansgrohe.

Race leader Jõao Almeda (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) took the intermediate sprint, while Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) lead out stage 3 winner Jonathan Caicedo. With the intermediate sprint win and time bonus, Almeda secured several more seconds advantage over Caicedo in the general classification.

Sunweb briefly made an appearance at the font, trying to bring Michael Matthews into position for the final 20km, but they didn’t have the numbers or speed to sustain this move.

Cofidis struggled to bring Elia Viviani back to the bunch, as he and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) were trailing about 30 seconds off the back.

Pellaud was caught right outside of the 20km marker, as the sprinters’ teams continued to drive the pace.

The final 20km the speeds were cranked up by Groupama-FDJ and several Bora-Hansgrohe riders, stringing out the entire peloton to single-file formation.

As the big bunch entered the outskirts of town, the roads narrowed. The route took riders through a handful of technical turns through to 15km, with some rain lightly dampening the roads.

This slowed the bunch through 8km, however, the roads opened up again slightly through to 4km to go.

The final 2,300 meters was dominated by Groupama-FDJ and Bora-Hansgrohe, despite an attempt by Israel Start-Up Nation to interrupt these two teams vying to set up sprinters Demaré and Sagan.

With no teammates on the front in the final, slightly-uphill kilometer, Sagan was forced to freelance wheels.

Demaré’s teammate Miles Scotson opened first with 600m to go, but was overtaken by patient Sagan who launched up the center of the road at 300m.

A fast-charging Demaré timed his sprint just right to get across the line just ahead of the triple-world champion Sagan.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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