07/05/13 - 10:15
Policastro Bussentino - Serra San Bruno
Giro d'Italia • Stage4

Policastro Bussentino - Serra San Bruno
Giro d'Italia - 7 May 2013

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 10:15 on 7 May 2013. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Britain's Bradley Wiggins did not finish in the leading group and lost 17 seconds at the finish. Luca Paolini stays in the pink jersey, but Wiggo drops to 36 seconds down on GC.


Result: 1. Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani), 2. Fabio Felline (Androni), 3. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), 4. Rigoberto Uran (Sky), 5. Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ).


Fabio Felline took second and Giovanni Visconti third.


The pint-sized Italian raced clear of the pack and won by a few bike lengths in the end as the rain came down.


Di Luca is passed and it's a victory for Bardiani Valvole's Enrico Batteglin!


They're onto the cobbled section and Di Luca is giving it his all as the peloton returns onto his wheel...


Just one to go and it's a couple of seconds in it...


Aha, spoke too soon... the peloton is geting near now. And it looks like Di Luca is giving up. Chalapud now has a dig...


Di Luca might well hold on here - the peloton are not making any in-roads and Chalapud looks shot.


The road head upwards a bit now - it's a rolling ride in with a slightly uphill finish.


Chalapud barely holding on - it's a real struggle for him.


Gio Visconti (Movistar) took third place over the summit and so will definitely be back in blue tonight.


Di Luca has jumped Chalapud but the peloton is bearing down. The Colombian returns on a long flat section, but it looks fairly doomed.


Chalapud takes maximum points ahead of Di Luca over the summit. Now time for a short descent and a false flat to the finish.


Siutsou has dropped off the front for Sky, leaving the Colombian duo of Henao and Uran to pace up Wiggins. They train the leading duo by just 10 seconds.


Di Luca looks very strong and is doing most of the pulling here. They enter a forested section of the climb so will have a bit of shelter.


The Colombia rider is Robinson Chalapud. He and Di Luca have dropped Georges, who sits up, puts his gilet on and is passed by the peloton.


Di Luca has caught Georges and brought one of the Colombia riders with him.


It's getting very wet now. Some riders are putting on jackets - but not Danilo Di Luca, who pings off the front in pursuit of Georges.


Just 23 seconds now for Georges, but there's still another 5km to the top of the hill.


Tiralongo is here still - which is impressive given his crash yesterday. His knee is said to be giving him considerable pain.


Frenchman Sylvain Georges of Ag2R-La Mondiale continues grinding away. He has 30 seconds over the Sky-led main pack. It's pretty wet and miserable. Siutsou, Henao and Uran lead Wiggins, who looks very focused.


Evans, Scarponi, Gesink and Nibali are all there in Wiggins's wheel. Hesjedal is a little further back.


It's Siutsou and Henao are there for Sky, and then Uran comes to join them. Pirazzi, Rabottini and Quintero have been caught. Danilo Di Luca of Vini Fantini is there. Juan Jose Cobo of Movistar dropped...


Wiggins is near the front and looking very calm as Sky start to take up the pace setting. The peloton has almost caught Pirazzi, Rabottini and Quintero. Sylvain Georges rides with 40 seconds - and he's looking pretty good.


Marcato has been caught by the pack. Georges has a one minute advantage over the pack, with Pirazzi, Rabottini and Quintero stuck in between.


Marcato cracks as Georges attacks the leading group. Back with the peloton, it's Katusha who are conrolling matters for the pink jersey.


Fran Ventoso of Movistar needs a wheel change and swaps on the side of the road with his team-mate Pablo Lastras. Bad timing - because he should be one to watch at the finale.


We're onto the final climb of the day, the Cat.2 Croce Ferrata (Iron Cross) - a 12km climb with an average gradient of 5.6%.


Ah, here is that intermediate sprint - and it's taken by Marcato after the Italian attacks his fellow escapees. He has 20 seconds over the pack.


Carlos Quintero (Colombia), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini) and Sylvain Georges (Ag2R) are the three riders to join Macarto and Pirazzi.


The five riders are combining well - the three extras are from Vini Fantini, Ag2R and Colombia. Names coming up.


Three riders are trying to bridge the gap to the two leaders. They join them after a short downhill drag.


Marco Marcato of Vacansoleil-DCM launches a solo attack and is joined by Stefano Pirazzi of Bardiani.


The leading duo are caught as the road heads up. We missed that intermediate sprint so will have to confirm result later.


Gretsch and Willems have 30 seconds over the peloton, which is now being led by the Bardiani-CSF squad. They're approaching the second intermediate sprint and then we'll have that final climb.


It's not Bellemakers, but Frederik Willems for Lotto. Pieter Weening needs a front wheel change and has to swap with a GreenEdge team-mate. Britain's Alex Dowsett needs a bike change. And Nibali is back on the front after being paced by by Fabio Aru.


Gretsch and Bellemakers have attacked again from the pack for Argos and Lotto. They're chasing down Duque.


Nibali didn't actually crash - he picked up a front puncture but his team car was nowhere near so he stopped and swapped wheels with Agnoli. That was expertly done, it has to be said, the 'Shark' keeping his cool before going on his way.


Nibali using all his expert descending skills to fight back on with the peloton. Meanwhile, it's former Cofidis man Leonardo Duque of Colombia who has edged out ahead of the pack.


CRASH: Vincenzo Nibali falls at the start of the descent and has to swap bikes with Valerio Agnoli.


It's back together for this descent, which promises to be intriguing in such testing conditions.


Pirazzi crosses the summit of the Vibo Valentia to take maximum points, with Gretsch in second. Giovanni Visconti of Movistar led the peloton over a handful of seconds down. They get 5, 3, and 2 points respectively - and that puts Gio Visconti back into the blue jersey for the time being.


Gretsch is joined by Stefano Pirazzi of Bardiani-CSF. This is a good move - Pirazzi is a decent climber, winning the mountains classification in last year's Tirreno-Adriatico.


Patrick Gretsch of Argos Shimano has a pop off the front. Meanwhile, a grupetto is forming out the back in which is firmly ensconsed Mark Cavendish and some of his OPQS cronies.


Minguez is caught by the peloton, which is being led by Vini Fantini and Blanco. Meanwhile, David Millar of Garmin-Sharp is suffering some mechanical problems off the back of the pack.


A lone Lotto Belisol rider - Dirk Bellemakers I think - zips clear of the peloton on this flat section ahead of the final rise to the summit. But Minguez only has 10 seconds now and so it's all looking rather futile.


Here's the rain! These roads will be very slippery - especially on the descent. Le Bon has been caught so we just have one rider out ahead - 24-year-old Basque Miguel Minguez of Euskaltel.


The weather looks very ominous indeed - helicopter images show the summit of this climb shrouded in mist and grey rain clouds.


Le Bon is still stuck between, riding 18 seconds behind Minguez and 25 seconds ahead of the peloton. As wel pass through a town, we hit one of the steep ramps. The pack is beginning to string out a little.


Team Sky's Dario Cataldo, who has been suffering with illness, if off the back fo the peloton. Ligthart and Berard are caught by the Vini Fantini day-glow train.


Berard is back with Ligthard as Le Bon presses on in pursuit of lone leader Minguez. He's 20 seconds behind the Spaniard, with the pack now trailing the Euskaltel youngster by 55 seconds.


Berard has called it a day, leaving Minguez out alone. In a sudden change of tactics, the young Spaniard drops discards all his water bottles and decides to press on solo.


Despite being laden with water bottles, Minguez chases down Berard. Le Bon and Ligthart ride in unison about 5 seconds further back. The front of the peloton is all Vini Fantini and Astana now. It's very bright.


Miguel Minguez stocks up on bidons from his team car - which he will distribute to his Euskaltel team-mates very soon. The gap is down to just 40 seconds now as Berard has a pop off the front.


The Cat.3 Vibo Valentina is a 14.9km climb with a gentle average gradient of 3% with the occasional ramp of 10%. It's not too testing and should not be too selective - but will probably do away with the chances of the leading group.


It's really tumbling down now with the gap reduced to 1:50 as Vini Fantini and Colombia jostle for positions as the road starts to rise...


The four leaders have 2:30 over the peloton with the first climb looming. Sky, Blanco, Vini Fantini and Katusha are all near the front of the peloton.


Capecchi making his way to the back of the peloton now. The Italian has been suffering a lot with allegies. He told the media this will be his last Giro - spring/early summer is clearly not the best time to be riding if you get hay fever and other reactions.


CRASH: Omega Pharma-Quick Step are involved - three of their riders are held up, at least one of whom went down. It looks like it was Brambilla - and quite heavily. Cavendish was not involved there. Eros Capecchi of Movistar needs a new front wheel - and then changes his bike.


Luca Paolini is in full pink today: jersey, shorts, shoes and helmet. This is astonishingly the 36-year-old's first appearance in the Giro d'Italia - not a bad debut by any stretch. At this rate, he'll be the first rider in this race to hold onto the maglia rosa for more than one day.


There's very much a lull in proceedings as numrous riders nip back to their team cars for chats, water bottles and fuel.


Katusha are still setting the pace on the front of the peloton ahead of the Sky blue jerseys of Astana. The lead is 4:50 for the four escapees. The three chasing riders - Sella, Mourey and Tamouridis - have been caught by the peloton.


Pim Ligthart jumps clear of his fellow escapees to take maximum points and bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint. The other four roll over uncontested, with Berard in second and Le Bon in third.


Red jersey Mark Cavendish is riding alongside his Team GB and former Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins. I looks like he was eating a banana.


As a result of that shake up, Katusha have - as expected - taken the foot off the gas. The four leaders now have 4:40 over the peloton, with the three chasers now two minutes back. Poor Emanuele - doomed before the stage even reaches the hills.


The leading trio are joined by Berard of Ag2R. They clearly don't want Sella to be involved, because he's the dangerman on GC and the reason why Katusha are upping the pace on the front of the pack. The four leaders have 20 seconds on the other three, Sella, Mourey and Tamouridis.


Now there's a split in the leading group, with Minguez (Euskaltel), Le Bon (FDJ) and Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) riding as a trio ahead.


ATTACK: Ioannis Tamouridis, the first Greek rider to compete in the Giro d'Italia, jumps clear of his fellow escapees. This sparks a response by the others, with Julien Berard of Ag2R the first to repond. It comes back together but it's certainly getting nervous on the front of the race. The first intermediate sprint is not for another 15km and so that couldn't have been the reason.


A few riders in the pack take a moment to answer a call of nature. Meanwhile, Katusha have all their riders on the front to protect the pink jersey of Luca Paolini. The gap has stablised at 3:45 for the seven fugitives.


The seven leaders are riding along a road right on the beach. Their gap is now 3:45 so, like yesterday's break, it looks very doomed.


The peloton has pulled its finger out and the gap is down to 4:20 now for the seven escapees.


The finish straight today is on flagstones of the type which will be very slippery if it rains. They are currently drying out from an earlier downpour, but things could be rather hairy.


The lead has dropped to well under the six-minute mark now.


Some riders who may feel like having a dig today: Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini), Domenico Pozzovivo and Carlos Betancur (both Ag2R-La Mondiale), Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF). Who else do you think can make a splash today?


Those two climbs today: Cat.3 Vibo Valentia (14.9km long at 3% with max ramps of 10%) and Cat.2 Croce Ferrata (12km at 5.6% with max of 10%). Croce Ferrata translates as 'Iron Cross'. The road rises to 900m above sea level and it's followed by 6km of up-and-downhill riding torwards a slightly uphill finish at Serra San Bruno.


The controversial Emanuele Sella is the virtual race leaders - but will he have enough to put himself in pink tonight? His climbing abilities will help, for sure, but the likes of Katusha, Sky, Garmin and Astana will drive a fast pace onto those climbs. Sella trails Luca Paolini by 2:39 on GC. The break is currently 7:15 ahead.


As is customary following the feed zone, there has been a post-prandial rise for the escapees with the gap now back above the seven-minute mark. A reminder of the seven leaders for those who are arriving at this late on: Julien Berard (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Minguez & Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Johan Le Bon & Francis Mourey (FDJ) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM). Incredibly, we're not even half way through this very long stage.


It's yo-yoing a bit for the leaders, who now have 6:40 over the pack as they pass through the feed zone.


The lead is coming down now: 6:15 at the latest check.


The gap is down to 6:45 for the leading seven riders in this long stage to the toe of Italy. We've got the feeding zone coming up and then nothing but a long, flat drag until the first intermediate sprint with around 80km to go. That signals a bit of action, with those two climbs - separated by a second intermediate sprint - coming thick and fast before the finish.


News from the finish line at Serra San Bruno: there has just been an almighty downpour. So we can expect some exciting racing once the road heads into those hills.


The final rider in this seven-man break is Dutchman Pim Ligthart of Vacansoleil-DCM. The 24-year-old was the surprise Dutch national champion back in 2011 and is riding his debut Giro on the back of two performances in the Vuelta. Former track star Ligthart is still looking for his first major UCI win as a professional.


Not many would have expected a Greek rider to turn out for the Basque-based team Euskaltel - but following the relaxing of their recruitment policy, that has indeed become a reality. Track specialist Ioannis Tamourdis, 32, joined Euskaltel this winter and is now riding his debut Grand Tour. In 2011 he picked up wins in the Tour of Romania and the Tour of Szeklerland. Team-mate Miguel Minguez is a 22-year-old riding his third Giro. Last year he was 157th on GC - finishing in last place.


The advantage is up to 7:45 on this long, flat, coastal drag ahead of the two climbs that come towards the end of the stage, the Vibo Valentia and Ferrata.


Bizarrely for the Giro, there is just one Italian in today's break: the controversial climber Emanuele Sella. The 32-year-old Androni Giocattoli rider is a veteran of seven Giros and won a stage in his debut race back in 2004. Sella won three stages in 2008 on his way to finishing 6th on GC and taking the mountains classification. But he subsequently tested positive for CERA, third generation EPO, and was banned for a year by the Italian National Olympic Committee.


The seven leaders have 6:33 over the peloton.


There are three Frenchmen in this break: Francis Mourey, a 32-year-old cyclo-cross specialist who has been at FDJ all his career and is riding in his fourth Giro d'Italia; 22-year-old Johan Le Bon, who joined FDJ this season and is a former junior world champion making his debut appearance in the Giro; and finally, 25-year-old Julien Berard of Ag2r-La Mondiale, who's riding in his third Giro. He won the opening stage of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2009.


Who do you think will win today's stage? Will this break stay out until the end or will a counter attack form on one of those climbs towards the finish? Web users have your say in the comment box below - or send me a tweet @saddleblaze.


Berard, Sella, Minguez, Tamouridis, Le Bon, Mourey and Ligthart now have 7:55 over the peloton, which is being controlled by Katusha.


One of the pre-race favourites who suffered a blow yesterday was 2011 winner Michele Scarponi, who crashed on a tight bend around 4km from the finish - right in wheels of Blanco pair Robert Gesink and Steven Kruijswijk, who both came a cropper too. Gesink got on his way without any ado, but Scarponi landed heavily and broke his bike. He lost 50 seconds on the stage and today said: "It's a triple blow: morale, knee and GC."


Incredibly, this is Luca Paolini's maiden appearance in his home tour. The 36-year-old Italian has somehow managed to forge a long career without ever turning out at the Giro in May - and now, in the dusk of his career, Paolini not only picks up a stage but also snares the fabled pink jersey.


The seven leaders have managed to build up a lead of 7:40 over the peloton, meaning Emanuele Sella is the virtual maglia rosa on the road.


It is Minguez in the break, and not Mestre as reported elsewhere. But it's not Anthony Roux and it is his FDJ team-mate Francis Mourey instead. Confirmation of the seven riders in this break: Julien Berard (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Minguez & Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Johan Le Bon & Francis Mourey (FDJ) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM).


Italian climber Emanuele Sella is the best placed rider in this group. The Androni Giocattoli rider is currently 2:39 down on pink jersey Luca Paolini, in 48th place on GC.


The second Euskaltel rider in this group may well be Ricardo Mestre and not Miguel Minguez - we're receiving conflicting reports. Also, Lotto Belisol's Gert Dockx was involved in the break, but is now back with the peloton.


The seven leaders have a gap of 1:35 over the peloton over these initially undulating roads that hug the Mediterranean coast.


Interesting composition of the group, with two riders from Euskaltel and FDJ apiece. The French team have had a torrid start to the Giro, with Laurent Pichon crashing heavily twice and Sandy Casar withdrawing this morning. They're due a morale booster. No Vini Fantini in the group, however. Their man Fabio Taborre could have ridden into the pink jersey yesterday and their directeur sportif Luca Scinto promised more attacks today...


BREAK: Seven riders have pinged off the front. They are Julien Berard (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli), Miguel Minguez and Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel), Johan Le Bon and Anthony Roux (FDJ) and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM).


As well as taking the stage and pink jersey, Luca Paoloni moved to the top of the red points jersey standings - although it will be Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) who wears the red jersey today. Belgian youngster Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM) was in yesterday's break and took maximum points in the Cat.2 climb to rise above Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) in the blue KOM standings. Meanwhile, the white jersey is being work by Italian Fabio Aru of Astana.


One non-starter today: Sandy Casar of FDJ, who fractured his scaphoid yesterday. The Frenchman is the first rider to quit the 2013 Giro so we have 206 riders remaining from 23 different teams. Casar was one of many riders to crash yesterday and finished in the grupetto 14:17 down on winner Luca Paolini. He wasn't the slowest, mind: around a dozen finished in drips and drabs later on, while Italian Paolo Tiralongo, who crashed in the feeding zone, brought up the rear 20 minutes off the pace.


Unlike yesterday's stage, which finished with a long technical descent, stage four is the first uphill finish - although there is a slight downhill drag after the riders reach the summit of the Cat.2 Serra San Bruno 7km from the finish. The road is slightly uphill towards the line so we should see something a little different today. Katusha have said they plan to defend Luca Paolini's pink jersey - but don't discount a break staying out all the way.


Stage four of the Giro d'Italia is under way! Yesterday, the day's main break was instigated by Saxo Bank's Manuele Boaro right after the flag was waved. Let's see if something similar happens today...


Yesterday's stage was livened up by a series of digs by Canadian defending champion Ryder Hesjedal on the final climb of the day. The Garmin-Sharp rider also pushed hard on the descent - and at one point, the Sky team of Bradley Wiggins looked to be on the ropes. Hesjedal was rewarded for his attacking tactics with third place and a time bonus at the finish - Cadel Evans took second and also picked up a time bonus. Both riders cutting their deficit on Wiggins by a bit.


It's a slightly overcast morning in Policastro Bussentino, with the sun peaking through the clouds and a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. The riders are in the neutral zone and are ready to start today's stage, which is the second longest in the this, the 96th edition of the Giro.


Britain's Bradley Wiggins also finished safely in the chasing pack and is now second in the general classification, 17 seconds behind Paolini. Team-mate Rigoberto Uran is tied for time in third. But Sky's Salvatore Puccio, the overnight race leader, was dropped on the second of two climbs towards the finish and so surrendered the maglia rosa to his elder countryman. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is fifth at 31 seconds and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) is seventh at 34.


Yesterday, Italian veteran Luca Paolini of Katusha soloed to victory in stage three of the Giro d'Italia to take the race lead in Ascea. Thirty-six-year-old Paolini used all his guile and experience to attack on a fast descent seven kilometres from the finish to take a first career stage victory in his home tour. Australian Cadel Evans (BMC) crossed the line 16 seconds down to take second place with defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) right in his wheel for third.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage four of the Giro d'Italia - a 246km schlep south to the toe of Italy from Policastro Bussentino to Serra San Bruno. I'm Felix Lowe and I'll be taking you through the day's action. For extra analysis and lighthearted banter you can follow me on Twitter @saddleblaze.