2024 Giro d’Italia Women Stage Four – Race Report

How the race finished

Clara Emond (EF-Oatly Cannondale) took a stunning solo victory from the breakaway, with Soraya Paladin (Canyon//Sram Racing) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez) leading the remaining breakaway riders home in second and third.
Full results are available below.

How it happened

Starting in the infamous town of Imola, Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia women was a game of two halves – the first half of the stage being on flat roads, before contending with three categorised climbs in the second half, leading to the stage finish in Urbino.

With a long flat first half, no one was particularly keen to form a breakaway in the opening kilometres. The first attack came at 15 km into the stage, with the italian trio of Carmela Cipriani (BePink), Silvia Zanardi (HPH) and Alice Palazzi (Top Girls) going clear. The trio quickly established a one minute lead over the peloton, with Tota Magalhães (BePink-Bongioanni) and Clara Emond (EF-Oatly Cannondle) trying to bridge across the gap. 

Magalhães and Emond made it across to the three leaders at 81 km to go. Behind, it was all calm in the peloton, and the gap went out towards 4min. In the intermediate sprint at 71 km to go Zanardi took maximum points, while the peloton continued to allow the breakaway to increase their lead. 

At 50km to go, the first of the day’s challenges, the San Marino climb, loomed ahead. With variable gradients and a stepped profile nudging will into double digits on some sections, it would be a challenge for both the breakaway and the peloton. In the break, Cipriani and Palazzi were the first to struggle, before Zanardi also dropped off, leaving Magalhães and Emond at the front. 

Emond pushed on ahead solo, as the peloton behind split into two major groups, with a group of opportunists setting off in pursuit of the leaders. The group of around fifteen in pursuit included Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez), who, at only 1:30 down on GC, could prove to be a big threat to those looking to retain their GC positions behind. 

At 34 km to go Edmond, still solo out front, started the next climb of the day, the Monte Osteriaccia – which was split into two climbing sections by a small descent mid-way up. The chase group reduced the gap to Emond to just over three minutes, with the peloton another minute behind. Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) set the tempo on the front of the peloton, trying to reduce the gap.

At 25 km to go, as the road went uphill again, Kim le Court (AG Insurance Soudal) attacked from the peloton. She quickly bridged across to the front chasing group, and as she joined, first Uttrup Ludwig and then Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) attacked. Erica Magnaldi jumped on Chabbey’s move, and the pair launched into the descent, where Chabbey’s descending skills saw the gap to Emond out front topple down to under one and a half minutes.

By 10 km to go, however, the gap hadn’t fallen any further, and Emond was still riding strongly solo out front. On the long uphill draw the two chasers were no longer making inroads, and were swept up by the chasing group they had broken out of, as Cecile Uttrup Ludwig began to pile on the power.

With 5km to go Lidl Trek were finally visible driving on the front of the peloton, controlling the gap to Uttrup Ludwig and Le Court, who were suddenly a threat to the overall classification. A minute ahead of them on the road, Uttrup Ludwig attacked, taking Le Court with her on the wheel. Their breakaway companions rejoined them, but Uttrup Ludwig and Le Court continued doing the lion’s share of the work, both looking to take as much time as possible.

Emond came onto the steep cobbles of the final climb alone, pushing on with half grimace, half smile on her face, to cross the line solo and take a Stage Win on her debut at the Giro. The sprint in the group behind was launched by Soraya Paladin, and though she came fast, it wasn’t enough to get within touching distance of Emond. Uttrup Ludwig was third across the line, picking up bonus seconds and propelling herself into third on the General Classification. Coming in a few seconds behind, Kim Le Court moved up into fifth.

As the peloton hit the climb Kopecky and Longo Borghini sprinted toe-to-toe, with Kopecky sitting up when she realised she hadn’t been able to open a gap on the Maglia Rosa wearer, meaning the pair came across the line together.

 

Stage Four Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

 

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