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Milan scores Giro 4th stage, Pogacar retains lead

ANDORA: Italian Jonathan Milan emerged as the popular home winner of the fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, with race favorite Tadej Pogacar retaining the overall lead. The 190km drive from Acqui Terme to Andora on the Italian Riviera was marred by the race-ending crash of Eritrea driver Biniam Girmay.

As the man who made history as the first black African to win a Grand Tour stage, in the 2022 Giro, was whisked away in an ambulance, Pogacar sat safely in the peloton chasing a two-man breakaway. Pablo Munoz and Stefan de Bod had emerged early in the stage, but their time in the spotlight was numbered as the peloton ruthlessly overtook them. With five kilometers to go they were swallowed up.

Filippo Ganna of Ineos Grenadiers was the first to attack, leading over the final hill to the day’s final destination, the port of Andora. But it would be Milan (Lid-Trek) who took the bunch sprint honors, ahead of Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and German Phil Bauhaus (BahrainVictorious).

“I have so many emotions now. I said from the beginning that we came here with one goal for everyone, so today the boys did a fantastic job and it was such a great sensation to win here again in the Giro d’Italia Milan said. , who contributed to his stage victory last year.

All top riders in the general classification finished in the main pack and the general classification remained unchanged. Pogacar, who crossed in 30th, has a 46-second lead over his main title rival Geraint Thomas, with Daniel Martinez a further second back in third place in the standings ahead of stage five, over 178km from the port of Genoa along the coast to Lucca in northwestern Tuscany. One man who will be a frustrated spectator is Girmay. The Eritrean, third in the stage 24 hours earlier, crashed heavily during a descent prior to the final intermediate sprint in a wet right bend about 67 km from the finish.

Nursing his right hip, he rode gingerly away, but shortly afterwards got off his bike and was taken away in an ambulance.

He was one of his Intermarche-Wanty team’s top hopes for a stage win in this year’s Giro. The 24-year-old is the first black African to win one of the cycling classics: in Ghent-Wevelgem in 2022, and a stage in one of the three major cycling tours, in the Giro in the same season.

His performance in the Giro was marred by a freak accident on the podium when a cork from a bottle he opened to celebrate his victory flew into his eye and he was forced to withdraw from the race the next day. —AFP