Lucas Hamilton came out on top in yet another two-up sprint at the 2020 Tirreno-Adriatico, beating Fausto Masnada to the finish in Cascia.
The second half of the fourth stage was peppered with attacks and plenty of action after some riders lower down the general classification tried to get away with an early move to bridge to the breakaway.
Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) and Masnada (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) came back to the main GC group after the final climb of the stage and they immediately attacked with 7km to go, with no-one else able to follow.
Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) keeps the blue leaders jersey after limiting his losses to 10 seconds and also taking four bonus seconds on the line, meaning he still leads but now with a nine-second gap ahead of Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).
How it happened
Stage four of Tirreno-Adriatico started in the town of Terni with a mountainous 194km route to Cascia for the riders to tackle.
The break went away and had a maximum lead of around five minutes before it settled at three minutes with 11 riders up the road.
The break was made up of Mathias Frank (Ag2r La Mondiale), Davide Gabburo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren), Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb), Marco Canola (Gazprom-RusVelo), Allesandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Michael Goossens (Lotto-Soudal), Samuele Battistella (NTT Pro Cycling), and Héctor Carretero (Movistar Team).
The action really got going on the first high category climb of this year’s race up to the Forca di Gualdo, when Frank attacked the break, followed by Carretero with 59km to go.
The pace meant that the break was broken to bits with Matthews slowly pacing himself across to the leading duo, which he did rather quickly.
Behind, Alpecin-Fenix really started to ramp up the pace for about 5km before using up all their riders, this slow up saw Daniel Navarro (Israel Start-Up Nation) attack with 55km to go.
The pace didn’t get going in the peloton and this was seen by Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Louis Meintjes (NTT Pro Cycling), and Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ) with the French rider unable to follow.
Meintjes and Costa made it up to Navarro who started to work with the two climbers who had joined him.
Over the summit of the climb Tonelli made it back up to the leading part of the breakaway with 46km to go as the rain started to come down on the plateau on the top of the climb.
EF Pro Cycling used this flat plateau to try and drill the gap down, which they did by around half as the break went onto the descent with Trek-Segafredo and Ineos Grenadiers joining the pacing.
Navarro suffered a rear puncture as Costa and Meintjes made it to the leading riders with 21km to go and the gap back to the peloton at 47 seconds.
As the riders hit the final climb up the Ospedaletto climb, the break was brought back after Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) attacked.
The pace was then upped by Ineos Grenadiers when Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked, Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) following.
Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) bridged across as the riders when over the top as they descended down to the finishing kick in Cascia.
In the chase it was Team Sunweb and Deceuninck – Quick-Step that were the teams frantically chasing with the gap only peaking at 15 seconds.
James Knox (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb) brought it back for their leaders as Hamilton went immediately on an attack that drew out Masnada, Oomen and Thomas with 7km to go.
Woods and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) got across to Thomas and Oomen which then brought the other GC riders back with Oomen on the front.
The chasing group lost the pace with 2km to go as Masnada and Hamilton started pulling away some more with a gap of 16 seconds with 1km to go.
Masnada was forced onto the front for the last kilometre as the rider who joined Deceuninck – Quick-Step from CCC Team just a few months ago, had more to gain in the GC along with Hamilton having Yates and Jack Haig behind.
Hamilton kicked hard past of the Italian climber in the last 200 metres and, much like Woods against Majka on stage three, took the win comfortably.
Woods managed to win the sprint behind, taking four bonus seconds as they head to the queen stage of the race finishing up Sarnano-Sassotetto on stage five.
Tirreno-Adriatico 2020, stage four: Terni to Cascia (194km)
1. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, in 4-46-22
2. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at same time
3. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling, at 10s
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
7. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time
General classification after stage four
1. Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling, in 18-05-52
2. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 9s
3. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 18s
4. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 27s
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 30s
6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 34s
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana, at same time
9. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 47s
10. James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, all at same time