As it happened: Paret-Peintre wins Giro d'Italia stage 4 as Leknessund takes race lead
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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia, the toughest stage of the race so far.
We're 80 minutes from the start of today's stage in Venosa. The riders haven't signed on yet but the race mascot Lupo Wolfie is in fine form already.
🐺🐺🐺Buongiorno da Venosa! #Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/n6wCPhKiqEMay 9, 2023
Here's the result from yesterday's stage 3 as well as the updated GC standings heading into this morning.
Michael Matthews sprinted to the win on yesterday's hilly stage.
Meanwhile Thibaut Pinot raced into the blue jersey...
Pinot rolls back the years with early assault on Giro d'Italia mountains lead
After his stage win, Matthews revealed that he had thought about retiring from the sport earlier this season.
Today the race heads to Lago Laceno down in Campania for the first time in over a decade. Last time out, Domenico Pozzovivo took his one and only Giro d'Italia stage win, stage 8 of the 2012 race.
"In the cycling of today, it's not a finish that can make a big difference," Pozzovivo told Cyclingnews about the stage this week. "It might be a stage for the break. It depends a bit on what other teams do and whether Remco Evenepoel wants to let the jersey go for a few days."
Read our Giro d'Italia stage 4 preview here
Find out how to watch the Giro d'Italia with our comprehensive guide.
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A look at today's route map and profile.
Just seven minutes left until the riders roll out to start the stage in Venosa.
The peloton has rolled out to start the neutral zone. 6.3km of riding before the flag drops and the stage begins.
A slow roll-out for the riders as they follow the race organisation car to the start. It's set to be a damp day out on stage 4 – some riders have their rain jackets on, some are in their regular jerseys.
The jersey holders at the start today – Jonathan Milan, Thibaut Pinot, Remco Evenepoel, and Ilan Van Wilder.
João Almeida is the second-best young rider after Evenepoel, but he has opted for his Portuguese national champions jersey over the white jersey, so Van Wilder wears white.
Everything you need to know about the Giro d'Italia jerseys, classifications, and rules is right here, including a look back at the weird and convoluted competitions of years past and an answer to the question of why Saint Bernard dogs are relevant to one of this year's prizes...
175km to go
The flag drops and racing is underway on stage 4!
Plenty of riders on the move from the very start.
A short, sharp hill kicks off the stage as the attacks fly.
The TV director is choosing to show several helicopter shots of nearby towns so we have no idea who is going on the attack here. Brilliant...
169km to go
No moves clear just yet...
A brief pause in the attacking as the road heads uphill again. DSM, Arkéa, Cofidis, Astana, Bardiani among those on the attack now.
All strung out at the front as riders continue to battle.
163km to go
Ben Healy and Stefan Küng among a group attempting to get away at the moment.
Alessandro De Marchi also in the lead group.
It's a group of around 12 riders off the front, though they don't have much more than 10 seconds or so.
After a descent the riders are heading back uphill again.
155km to go
Riders are coming across in numbers. The peloton right there, too.
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) on the move now after things came back together.
He can't get away, though. Now Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan) launches.
Dombrowski can't get away, either.
Soudal-QuickStep boss is at the side of the road once again. He points out one of his riders out the back and following his team car closely to try and get back on.
Callum Scotson (Jayco-AlUla) and Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) on the move at the front.
149km to go
They're brought back and now another group goes.
The weather is getting worse as the peloton race along, meanwhile.
Still no breakaway as the riders head downhill once again.
A small group of around 10 men – McNulty included – has a small advantage on the way down.
Three second-category climbs on the route today. The riders are closing in on the first of them – the Passo delle Crocelle (7.2km at 5.1%).
140km to go
More attacks fly with still no breakaway. A large group has split off the front now.
Primož Roglič is in the lead split while race leader Remco Evenepoel is behind!
Just a few seconds between groups.
136km to go
The groups are back together now. Evenepoel near the rear of the peloton with Louis Vervaeke shepherding him.
João Almeida is off the back! He wasn't in either of those groups and he has teammates with him in the chase behind the peloton.
Almeida and co are around 20 seconds back.
131km to go
Attacks continue to fly up front, meanwhile. Astana, Bardiani, Groupama, Jumbo, EF all involved.
Formolo and Covi among the riders working for Almeida in the chase.
More climbing now – not the classified climb but the road to the base of it.
Ben Healy off the front again.
Almeida is back on the rear of the peloton now.
McNulty back at the front on the attack.
123km to go
Still no breakaway!
Ben Healy with yet another attack.
McNulty also there.
The riders are on the climb of the Passo delle Crocelle now.
Paul Lapeira (AG2R Citroën) has abandoned the race.
117km to go
Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech), Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco-AlaUla) and Cristian Scaroni (Astana Qazaqstan) try a move.
5km to the top of the climb and that group is caught.
More riders counter, including Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious).
They're brought back and it's all together again.
Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) heads out on the attack.
Barguil is caught and now more attacks flow at the front.
Marco Frigo (Israel-Premier Tech) on the move.
Thibaut Pinot jumps from the peloton 600 metres from the top of the climb.
Sepp Kuss up there marking him.
111km to go
Pinot goes again at the top to grab the 18 KOM points.
The Frenchman beats Santiago Buitrago to the line.
A long descent now. It's almost 20km to the valley.
The peloton is all together at the moment.
Pinot led Buitrago, Ghebreigzabhier, Kuss, Leknessund, and Frigo over the climb.
He has 30 points in total to Buitrago's 12.
No trouble on the way down for anyone in the peloton yet.
As I type that, Sam Oomen (Jumbo-Visma) suffers a double puncture.
De Marchi also has a mechanical problem.
101km to go
A few riders are shooting off the front on the way down.
Jumbo-Visma's Michel Hessmann has crashed on the descent. He slid out heading around a corner.
Seven men off the front of the peloton.
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo) is out front along with his teammate Toms Skujins, Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Nicola Conci (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), and Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën).
94km to go
Stephen Williams, Diego Ulissi, Luca Covili, and Stefan De Bod have crashed on the descent.
Three of them hit the deck together heading around a corner while Williams slid out and hit his shoulder hard just behind them.
Covili got going again quickly while Ulissi also got going again. De Bod was up and walking around. Williams looks the worst off of the four.
Up front, there's over a minute between the breakaway and the peloton.
Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) is solo in the chase.
The riders are currently in the valley. A short climb to the intermediate sprint at Muro Lucano follows, then the next categorised climb at Valico di Monte Carruozzo.
Armirail 20 seconds off the leaders.
2:40 between the break and peloton as Armirail continues his battle to get across. He's losing time, though, and is 25 seconds down now.
86km to go
No worries in the peloton as the pace eases up.
The seven breakaway men are working well together up front.
3:30 for the group now as Armirail continues to hang around 30 seconds down.
Israel-Premier Tech reporting that Williams is OK and back on his bike. Good news.
Up front, the breakaway riders are climbing again on the road to the intermediate sprint at Muro Lucano. 2.5km to go.
Soudal-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe lead the peloton.
Maglia azzurra Pinot on the first climb of the day earlier.
Armirail is losing time to the break. 1:35 now and he's not going to reach the leaders.
79km to go
There's no competition at the intermediate sprint as Albanese leads the break across the line.
Four and a half minutes later, the peloton rolls across. Armirail is a minute up the road.
A loose dog runs along the side of the road in the opposite direction of the peloton, though it looks like the riders all passed through safely.
Armirail is caught by the peloton.
Now the breakaway are starting the second of three second-category climbs of the day, the Valico di Monte Carruozzo (8.8km at 4.9%).
Maglia rosa Evenepoel in the peloton.
The peloton – or rather, Josef Cerny – is holding the gap to the break at four minutes here. All but Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier are within four minutes of the race lead.
Andreas Leknessund is the best-placed man in the move at 1:40 down.
67km to go
2km to the top of the climb for the breakaway.
Ghebreigzabhier led the way over the top for 18 KOM points.
With 24 points he's now second in the classification behind Pinot on 30.
59km to go
3:45 back to the peloton now and one second-category climb left to go.
All safely down the descent and the gap remains the same.
Soudal-QuickStep continue to control the pacemaking at the front of the peloton.
53km to go
A long flat section now ahead of the final climb of the day.
Evenepoel uses the moment of steady riding in the peloton to finally take off his leg warmers.
He has been covered up all day but pulls them down his legs and passes them under his foot to take them off.
40km to go
Upfront, the break pushes on, all the seven riders working together.
They lead by 4:15 now. They seem set to fight for the stage victory and perhaps the maglia rosa.
Andreas Leknessund is the best-placed man in the break, at 1:40 down on Evenepoel and so he tries to drive the break along.
He knows he could end the day in pink, creating a huge moment in his career.
The 23-year-old Norwegian won the 2022 Arctic Race of Norway and rode the Tour de France but leading the Giro d'Italia will be special.
The lead of the break is up to 5:40 as Remco Evenepoel stops for a rear puncture and the peloton eases.
It is another sign from Evenepoel and Soudal that the break, and so the maglia rosa, can go today.
31km to go
The road steadily rising at the moment but no trouble for the breakaway, which continues to work together.
The riders are working their way towards the second and last intermediate sprint of the stage.
Leknessund leads the breakaway.
A short downhill and it's still five minutes back to the peloton.
The sprint at Montella is coming up in a few kilometres.
Still Soudal-QuickStep and Jumbo-Visma leading the peloton.
18km to go
Just over a kilometre to the sprint.
Leknessund hops to the front of the group to grab the three bonus seconds ahead of Albanese and Skujins.
Leknessund clearly going for the maglia rosa today.
12km to go
A look at today's final climb. It's 9.6km long at an average of 6.2%. The break are about to start...
4:20 from the break to peloton.
No attacks in the breakaway yet.
Now the peloton hit the climb. Soudal-QuickStep lead the way.
9km to go
Jan Hirt leads it. The peloton now four minutes back.
Albanese, Conci, Barguil, Paret-Peintre, Ghebreigzabhier, Skujins, and Leknessund continue on.
8km to go
The gap is 3:45 now. Still not movements from break or peloton.
Jayco-AlUla joining Soudal-QuickStep at the front.
Conci makes a move!
7km to go
Warren Barguil loses contact at the rear of the break, surprisingly.
Skujins chases Conci on this steep section of 12% gradients.
Skujins is across to Conci.
Paret-Peintre, Leknessund, Ghebreigzabhier, Albanese chase.
Cattaneo and Hirt drop off the peloton after their work for Evenepoel. Vervaeke is left for him.
Ineos, Jayco, Jumbo all up there too. Roglič is on Evenepoel's wheel.
6km to go
Skujins has left Conci behind. The Italian is with the chasers now but losing contact.
And Conci is done. Albanese leads the four men left behind Skujins.
Bora-Hansgrohe also move up in the peloton.
Now Leknessund makes a move. Paret-Peintre and Ghebreigzabhier chase as Albanese struggles.
The chasers catch Skujins.
5.5km to go
Leknessund pushes past. Skujins with Albanese in the chase now.
White jersey Van Wilder drops back in the peloton after working for Evenepoel.
Leknessund, Ghebreigzabhier, and Paret-Peintre are clear at the front now.
5km to go
Evenepoel is on the Bora-Hasngrohe train. Ineos Grenadiers have a four-man train remaining, too.
Albanese and Skujins are 16 seconds off the lead trio.
The peloton lie at 2:40 down.
A reminder that Leknessund is at 1:40 on GC, minus the three seconds he picked up earlier.
4.5km to go
No more attacks yet among Ghebreigzabhier, Leknessund, and Paret-Peintre.
Paret-Peintre sticks with him. Ghebreigzabhier is dropped.
Ineos Grenadiers controlling the peloton 2:35 down.
Now Paret-Peintre is detached. Leknessund on his own.
4km to go
No movement in the peloton.
De Plus, Arensman, Sivakov all there along with Thomas and Geoghegan Hart.
Leknessund solo but Paret-Peintre is coming back!
The breakaway riders are on a flatter section at the top of the climb now.
3km to go
2:30 for the leaders as Paret-Peintre comes across.
Paret-Peintre takes the 18 points at the top of the climb. Eight for Leknessund.
Leknessund during his solo move.
Paret-Peintre and Leknessund are on the flat at the top of the climb now.
2km to go
The pair will speed along to the finish line and sprint it out for the win.
Paret-Peintre flicks his elbow a few times and waves at Leknessund to go through and work – the maglia rosa is up for grabs for the Norwegian, after all.
1km to go
Final kilometre now and the pair are still working.
2:30 to the peloton. No time check to Ghebreigzabhier and co in the chase.
Leknessund leads it into the final kilometre. The chasers are out of shot and won't come back into it.
Paret-Peintre sits on the wheel and waits for the sprint.
Four and a quarter hours of racing is almost over.
Leknessund leads it into the final few hundred metres.
Paret-Peintre launches the sprint at 150 to go!
Leknessund doesn't have much to give against the Frenchman.
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) takes the stage 4 victory!
Albanese and Skujins together in the sprint for third.
Skujins comes off the wheel to try and nab it but it looked like Albanese hung on for third.
Conci in fifth, Ghebreigzabhier sixth.
The clock ticks past the 1:31 that Leknessund needs to take the pink jersey as the peloton race into the final 500 metres.
Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) is the new race leader
Paret-Peintre celebrates the stage win.
The peloton came home at two minutes down.
Here's what Leknessund had to say after the stage...
"It's super special. Obviously I went for the stage and also knew that pink was possible.
"I had one attack where I went all-in to drop him and I made it but he came back in the descent. My legs were hurting so much, but it's super special to be in the pink. That was the goal before the stage but as everyone knows cycling is not so easy and to actually make it is unbelievable."
Here's what Aurélien Paret-Peintre said after his stage win...
"My main objective this year was the Giro. I just trained a lot for today, for these three weeks. We knew today was a day for the breakaway so it was an important day for the team because we came to take a stage win and for GC.
"It was a perfect day for me – the breakaway was super hard to make. After, until the finish was super hard but I'm super happy.
"I know I'm faster than him so we collaborate until the finish line. I think he takes the maglia rosa so everybody's happy, maybe."
No change in the GC, then, and no attacks in the group. Evenepoel was isolated on the climb, though.
Meanwhile, Roglič came home with Kuss and Bouwman, while Ineos had five men in the group. Something to watch...
Leknessund is the first Norwegian rider to wear the maglia rosa since Knut Knudsen back in 1981.
Leknessund also leads the youth classification, so Remco Evenepoel now avoids all podium and media obligations for the time being – perhaps until the stage 9 time trial in Cesena.
A look back at the late duel between Leknessund and Paret-Peintre in the final kilometre today...
🔻 The two-man challenge between Frenchman @AurelienParetP and Norwegian @andreaslek in the last exciting kilometre of today's stage.🔻La sfida a due tra il francese Aurélien Paret-Peintre e il noervegese Andreas Leknessund nell'ultimo entusiasmante chilometro della tappa di… pic.twitter.com/utqt3G65zJMay 9, 2023
Thibaut Pinot remains in the blue mountains jersey. He has 30 points to Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier's 26, while Paret-Peintre has 22.
Giro d'Italia: Aurélien Paret-Peintre powers to victory at Lago Laceno on stage 4
Leknessund takes maglia rosa as Evenepoel isolated on first mountain stage