BC-CYC--Giro d’Italia,3rd Ld-Writethru
FRASCATI, Italy (AP) — Richard Carapaz of Ecuador sprinted to victory on the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, while Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic extended his overall lead after avoiding a crash toward the end of the route.
Carapaz, who rides for Movistar, launched his sprint early and held off Caleb Ewan and Diego Ulissi on the uphill finish at the end of the undulating 235-kilometer (146-mile) route from Orbetello to Frascati.
Roglic was the only major favorite to avoid a crash which split the peloton inside the final six kilometers and he finished two seconds behind Carapaz.
“I didn’t expect to win today,” Carapaz said. “Our plan was just to protect Mikel Landa to not lose time but a crash at the end changed everything. I was up against sprinters for the stage win so I had to anticipate their action. The moment I chose to attack was perfect.”
British cyclist Simon Yates and home favorite Vincenzo Nibali, who were second and third in the standings respectively, were caught up and finished 16 seconds behind Roglic.
The Jumbo-Visma cyclist has worn the leader’s pink jersey since winning the opening time trial on Saturday and extended his lead to 35 seconds ahead of Yates and 39 ahead of Nibali, who won the race in 2013 and 2016.
“I wanted to gain important seconds,” Roglic said. “I was in the group that was ahead and I didn’t see the crash. Everyone tried to be among the first group, but instead some remained delayed by the crash. Those are things that happen in cycling. Nibali and Yates are very strong, but there could be other riders who come up suddenly and you don’t expect them, or crashes which shake up the general classification.”
The only other previous winner of the Giro competing in this year’s race is 2017 champion Tom Dumoulin and he fared even worse.
Dumoulin, who also finished runner-up to Chris Froome last year, went down in the crash and he eventually crossed the line more than four minutes behind Roglic, with blood pouring down his left leg.
The Dutch cyclist was taken to hospital, where X-rays ruled out a serious injury. But Dumoulin said his chances of a repeat Giro victory are over.
“There are no fractures, which is good but my knee is very swollen,” Dumoulin said. “I wasn’t able to push any power in the last few kilometers so I don’t know how I will be tomorrow; the GC (general classicifaction) is for sure gone.”
Thursday’s fifth stage is a mainly flat 140-kilometer route from Frascati to Terracina.
The Giro finishes in Verona on June 2.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports