Dominant Demare claims a fourth Giro d’Italia stage victory
The 182-kilometre stage along Italy’s largely flat Adriatic coast was uneventful compared to the previous day, which saw the entire Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma teams leave the race following positive COVID-19 tests.
The only controversy on Wednesday involved Olympic track champion Elia Viviani (Cofidis) being clipped by an official motorbike 30 kilometres from the end.
Italian Viviani appeared relatively unharmed and continued, but had to work hard to get back into the group. He did not feature in the final sprint as Demare again showed his class.
It had looked for a while as though Belgium’s Sander Armee might hang on for a victory after he and Mattea Bais (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec), part of an initial six-man breakaway, attacked with just over 30 kilometres remaining and built a two-minute lead.
With 10 kilometres remaining, Armee (Lotto-Soudal) still had a minute on the peloton but he was quickly swallowed up on the flat and fast run-in to the Italian seaside town.
After Armee was caught with 6 kilometres remaining, the UAE Team Emirates riders took up the pace in the twisty final kilometres, leading out Fernando Gaviria, but Demare powered through to claim victory.
“Impressive, really impressive,” Demare said. “The whole team moved up for me. They had to bring the breakaway back and set a really high pace.
“It feels amazing. Of course, I didn’t think I could get four stages here. I was looking for a stage win and I’m so happy. I really want to congratulate the whole team because it’s their victory as well. They believed in me.”
Demare still leads Sagan in the points classification.