Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) went on to win an exciting Queen stage of Tirreno- Adriatico. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) took 2nd ahead of George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo). Damiano Caruso ( BMC Racing Team) will start tomorrow in the leader’s jersey
Today’s queen stage, stretching 219km from Foligno to Sarnano Sassotetto, offered an exciting setting for the GC battle. Containing numerous climbs and decedents throughout the day, it was the final climb of day that would provide the biggest challenge. The summit finish was 14.2km in length and had an average 5.8% gradient, topping out at 12% on some points.
Once racing got underway, a group of six containing Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Alexander Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Mads Pedersen (Trek- Segafredo) and Antoine Duchesne (Grouprama- FDJ), made it into the break. Working well together, they managed to survive till the final 8kms of the race.
Once the race reached the start of the final climb Astana set a relentless pace on the early slopes. This group quickly whittled down to just the main contenders and Louis Meintjes was looking comfortable as part of this group all battling for position in the GC. Numerous attacks then followed from the 6km to go banner, with our South African climber riding within himself to stay with main group.
A group containing Majka, Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Landa and Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) managed to open up a lead of 20″, and were later joined by Bennett. The chasing group were not able to rein them in and Landa went on to win the stage ahead of Majka. Louis Meintjes finished in 17th place, just “26 off the winning time. He also holds the same position in the GC going into Sunday’s 5th stage.
Roger Hammond- Sport Director
“The team rode well to set Louis up for the final climb and then Louis did a really good last climb. I’m really pleased. It’s good for him to have a good test like that so early in the season. It is good for his morale and the team’s morale as well.”