Aurelien Paret-Peintre dug deep and launched a late attack to win stage four of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, while Andreas Leknessund seized the leader’s maglia rosa jersey from Remco Evenepoel.
After an action-packed start to the stage, a seven-man group including Paret-Peintre and Leknessund (DSM) engineered a breakaway at the 79-km mark and gradually built a lead which was over five minutes at one point of the 175-km ride from Venosa to Lago Laceno.
The duo of Paret-Peintre and Leknessund expertly charged ahead of their pursuers on a steep climb close to the finish to cross the line comfortably, while Toms Skujins (Trek–Segafredo) pipped Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) by millimetres to third.
“My main objective this year was the Giro. I trained a lot for this day, for these weeks,” Paret-Peintre said.
“We knew today was the day for a breakaway, so we came here to take a stage victory. I knew I was faster than Leknessund, so we collaborated until the end. And he took the maglia rosa, so everyone is happy I think.”
Leknessund’s rise into the lead was part of a shake-up in the overall standings, with the Norwegian now 28 seconds ahead of Evenepoel in second, while Paret-Peintre moved up to third.
It was no surprise, however, that Evenepoel and his Soudal Quick-Step team relinquished the jersey as they will bide their time and the Belgian will still be among the favourites to claim overall victory, as Luxembourg betting sites that cover cycling continue to price in the odds in his favour.
“I came here to go for stages. That was also the goal for today, but I realised that the pink was also possible,” Leknessund said.
“Obviously I went for the stage and also knew that pink was possible. My legs were hurting so much, but it’s super special to be in the pink.
“Only Knut Knudsen from Norway had it before me but looking at who had the Maglia Rosa in the past few days and the impact of this jersey it’s a great day in my career.”