5.13.2014

Giro d'Italia 4: Big crash, big sprint by Nacer Bouhanni

Honestly NOT what you want to see: the stage neutralised dued to the rain BUT STILL a mass crash in the finale, riders injuried scattered on the wet  road. 
FDJ Nacer Bouhanni was incredible: he had a mechanical problem 9 km to go, fought to come back, valently helped by two mates, managed to sprint and won
Giacomo Nizzolo avoided the crash and sprinted to 2nd: bravo. 
But I'm sad for all the wasted hopes... especially for Team Sky Ben Swift, who was well placed when the crash happened. Marcel Kittel didn't start dued to fever so today could have been Swift's day. 
The GC didn't change: times have been taken 1 lap to go.
Bari wasn't crowded like Belfast or Dublim but it's true that isn't the week-end and Italians are maybe used to the Giro... The beautiful sea seemed sad and lonely under a gray heavy sky. 


What Nacer Bouhanni said:
"I'm super happy to have won. I punctured with two laps to go and I was scared of crashing near the finishing line. It was like an ice rink but I managed to win. When I punctured I though I had little chance of doing the sprint but I had a great team that helped me get back on. When we got back on, I told myself 'Allez! Lets do this sprint. I think the roads were very slippery and dangerous on the last lap. It was a pity but that's racing. I almost crashed twice and my back wheel slipped on the last corner. However we've got to be ready for the bad weather in the mountains too." 

What Giacomo Nizzolo said: 
“What can I say about today? The conditions were horrible as everyone saw. The sprint was almost nothing because in the last 500 meters I could not even stand up! Every time I tried to stand my wheel was slipping. Maybe my motocross background helped me stay upright, but I was really, really close to crashing several times. I could only do the sprint in the saddle until the last 50 meters where I could finally stand.  I was getting closer and closer, but in the end was second. What can I say? Bouhanni is a good sprinter, and for him to come back from the puncture  - he more than earned his win. The peloton and the organization made the decision together, and in the end it was the right one. The scenario we saw in the last lap could have happened the entire race. Once we were in the circuits we went really fast, we raced as professionals, so the spectators still had a show. It really was the best decision.”

What Ben Swiftsaid (on Twitter):
"That's bullshit!!! Why do all the sprinters have to risk it and not the GC guys. Thanks."
Sky DS Dario Cioni added:  
"The roads were like ice out there but fortunately all our riders were OK. CJ and Swifty have a few scrapes but nothing serious at all and they'll be good to go again tomorrow.
At one point it looked liked the course might dry out but it started raining again on the last two laps and you could see the effect it had, riders were scattered everywhere as soon as the pace went up. You could even feel it in the car going around the corners, so it must have been a lot worse on a bike.
Hopefully that'll be it for rain now. Stage five is going to be a tough one to predict, but we do that last climb twice so we'll have a good look at it on the first lap before we make a call on how we ride it at the finish."

What Luka Mezgec said (on Twitter):
"Everything went perfect for us till 350m to go, when my chain fell off. What a pity! That's racing..."

What  Maarten Tjallingii said:
"I’m very happy that the peloton has shown solidarity today, a neutralisation was best for everyone."

What Alan Marangoni said:
 "Ho sbagliato, l'ho combinata grossa... Con la strada/sapone sarei dovuto entrare più piano... Chiedo scusa alla mia squadra per aver mandato in fumo tutto il lavoro..." (I made a mistake, a big one... With such a slippery road I must go slower... I apologise with my team: I ruined all out work..")

What Manuel Quinziato said:
"Here it doesn't rain that often and when it rains, it is very slippery. It was a hard decision not to race. I told  them to keep going. Then, when the decision arrived the race would be neutralized until the last lap, everybody had more legs. So we kept the position and the sprinters did their job in the last lap."

What Michael Matthews said. 
"We decided to neutralize the race, just for our safety. Ireland is different. Their country and roads are used to the rain. Here in the south of Italy, they don't get
much rain here. So the roads and the city aren't used to these weather conditions. So it made sense to go neutral for the race.

We kept the jersey today, which was the main goal. The team rode perfectly to keep things controlled under some rather difficult road conditions. 
Tomorrow will be a very different stage with a lot more climbing. I’ll do my best to be up there – that’s the least I can do to repay the hard week they’ve done since day one. The most important thing is that the jersey stays within the team.

What Chris Anker Sørensen said: 
“It was a difficult stage, because we didn’t know whether we would race or ride all together. And it changed several times. It is usually the team captains and the most experienced riders that take the decision. But all the changes in the pace meant that it was difficult to find my rhythm. But in the end, no one wants to see an overall GC contender crash and leave a race on a stage like this. And if we decide to go at full speed in these conditions that could very well happen”
Tinkoff-Saxo DS  Lars Michaelsen added: “Safety first. That’s the main focus. When it started to rain the roads became very slippery and some of the experienced riders in the peloton – Basso, Rodriguez and some of the sport directors - spoke to the jury and we agreed that it was safer if we rode the stage all together as long as it kept raining. The rider’s usually tell the sport directors if they can feel that they’re starting to loose grip, and we then try to get everything organized.  If you see what happened in the last lap when the riders raced for the victory you understand why we must be careful. About twenty riders crashed in one short lap because the conditions simply didn’t allow racing. Imagine what would have happened if we had raced at full speed during the entire stage”  

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Bouhanni 
2 Nizzolo 
3 Veelers
4 Ferrari
5 Viviani
6 Montaguti
7 De Haes
8 Mezgec
9 De Backer
10 Chicchi

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