NIBALI LEADS THE GC AFTER STAGE 4 OF TOUR OF CROATIA
Umag, 21st April – Another solid performance of BAHRAIN MERIDA Team on a hard and windy 4th Stage at Tour of Croatia. Vincenzo Nibali with strong support of his teammates took the leading position in general classification.
Tour of Croatia continued today on another beautiful sunny morning. Kristijan Đurasek, the UAE Emirates team member and previous GC leader didn’t appear on today’s start due to yesterday’s crash and his injury. The race started quite fast with a slight back wind. There were no breakaways for the first 40 kilometers. After Bakarac and the beginning of the climb a breakaway of four riders made a gap of 4 minutes. They kept this difference along the way and also beyond the Tunnel Učka (Cat. 2). In the valley of river Mirna and through the flat and fast part of the stage the peloton started to catch up and by Buzet the gap dropped to less than 2.5 minutes.
BAHRAIN MERIDA riders were keeping eyes on the team leader and the breakaway group, while riding in the front of the peloton, most of the time with Caja Rural Team. They followed their strategy throughout today’s stage and gave good support to Vincenzo Nibali, with the goal of keeping a good status for general classification. Vincenzo Nibali was wearing the green KoM (King of the Mountain) jersey.
Just before entering Umag, the final destination town, the bunch annulated the breakaway quartet, with just one of them, Marangoni, keeping a small gap and trying to take a solo win. But with few meters to go, the sprinters caught him and Ruffoni crossed the line first.
Vincenzo Nibali passed the finish line with the same time as the winner and was the best qualified BAHRAIN MERIDA rider and above all took the first position in General Classification.
“I did not expect it. I was already on the bus for a shower, when they called me to get on the podium for the award ceremony” said the captain of BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team. “An unusual thing for me to dress the leader’s jersey after a sprint stage. I’m sorry for what happened to Durasek due to yesterday’s crash, but this is cycling.”
“We will not change our tactics” explained Nibali “We will keep our rhythm and our race on the climb, as we need to put kilometers in the legs, since neither me nor my teammates did not race after the Tirreno-Adriatico. Here it’s a bit cold, but the stages are long and that it’s important for us ahead of Giro d’Italia.”