The 202km undulating parcours favoured the puncheurs, with just two categorised climbs between the start in Catania and the finish line in Caltagirone. The team came to the front with 100kms to go on the Monte Pavone, dictating the tempo and applying pressure on the rest of the peloton during a climb that perfectly suited Valerio Conti and Diego Ulissi. With the breakaway just under a minute ahead of the peloton and with only 25kms to go, Team UAE Emirates pushed to the front once more driving the pace through Grammichele, keeping GC Contender Fabio Aru in a prime position. With just over 10kms to go the match was lit as Conti broke off the front of the peloton with a valiant attack that forced the pack to chase. The last 1km run in took the race leaders up a short climb with gradients topping out at 13%, making the final push extremely difficult for Italian Champion Aru, who had fought hard throughout the stage.
Commenting on his race, Conti said: ‘I’m satisfied with my attack around the 10km mark, it demonstrates my legs were good. I was assigned the task to be attentive in that moment and drive the action. I went clear but unfortunately there was a head wind and the peloton reacted strongly. We’ll continue to try and make the race exciting for our fans, to keep it alive and, at the same time, we’ll support Aru with his ambitions.”
The race was finally won by Tim Wellens (Lotto Fix All) with Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) retaining the Maglia Rosa as GC Leader.
Tomorrow the team will move onto stage five, a relatively short 153km route between Agrigento and Santa Ninfa. The race will start out relatively flat, as the road follows Sicily’s southern coast before moving inland with a more technical passage through the centre of Sciacca and onto Montevago. The second part of the race takes the riders through the Valle del Bellice, with a few long but mild categoirized climbs. The final run into to the finish line will push the peloton up a 12% gradient before dipping down to an almost flat 250m straight, that is made for a bunch sprint finish.