Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) produced a descending masterclass to win Stage 4 at the Tour of the Alps as Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) strengthened his grip on the leader’s jersey.
The Spaniard was dropped by Yates and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) on the brutal final climb, but held his nerve down a windy and narrow plunge to the finish to fight back into contention.
Bilbao led home Vlasov in the sprint, with Yates coasting home in third. Yates leads the GC by 58 seconds from Bilbao with one stage remaining.
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An eight-man breakaway featured a rare sighting of Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation), but they were swallowed up at the foot of the last climb to Boniprati.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education–Nippo) blew the race open with a devastating attack, which saw defending champion Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) quickly slip off the pace.
It played perfectly into Yates’ hands, with the Briton soon taking up the reins in the knowledge his GC rivals were already hurting down the road.
Soon it was Yates and Vlasov working together on the front, cresting the summit and beginning the terrifying descent to the finish.
But Bilbao was not done. Taking a supremely-aggressive approach, the 31-year-old expertly navigated the twists and turns to reel in the leading duo with two kilometres remaining.
He then sprung past them and kept the pace as the race levelled out in the final kilometre, denying Vlasov an emotional win four years to the day former Astana star Michele Scarponi died aged 37.
The race concludes on Friday with a 120.9 kilometre ride from Valle del Chiese to Riva del Garda.

Stage 4 results

  • 1. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 4:39:42
  • 2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech
  • 3. Simon Yates (GB) Team BikeExchange
  • 4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic +58
  • 5. Jefferson Cepeda Ortiz (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec +1:06
  • 6. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo
  • 7. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo +1:16
  • 8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
  • 9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
  • 10. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe +1:22

General classification

  • 1. Simon Yates (GB) Team BikeExchange 15:31:48
  • 2. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious +58
  • 3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech +1:06
  • 4. Jefferson Cepeda Ortiz (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec +2:18
  • 5. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers +2:37
  • 6. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo
  • 7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic +2:54
  • 8. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo +3:12
  • 9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
  • 10. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchange +3:36
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