Superb Evenepoel’s solo display ignites AIRace

Team Deceuninck-Quick Step’s talented Belgian dominated atop Monte Quarin while Padun retained the GC leadership. Gilbert runner-up, tomorrow the last stage in Trieste

The Adriatica Ionica Race celebrated the most awaited rider of this second edition as Belgian Remco Evenepoel claimed the stage 4 with an outstanding display on Cormòns-Monte Quarin finish line. The talented Deceuninck-Quick Step youngster got an impressive solo win by preceding his teammate Philippe Gilbert who outsprinted the first pursuivants joining the finish with a 2:13 delay. Maurits Lammertink (Roompot-Charles) took third, while the GC leader Mark Padun – sixth placed today – retained the leader jersey with a 6-second advantage on Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), 15 on Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and 46 on Evenepoel.

Today we had to work for Gilbert – Evenepoel explained. – On the penultimate climb there was an attack and I was required to follow it, then I insisted and as I saw the gap growing I kept pushing. I was close to Masnada at the top and on the descent I joined him, he didn’t cooperate so I did my best to distance him and I managed to do it. It has been a great day for me, I even improved my GC“.

The “Collio” hilly stage 4 have started from Padola along 204,5 km giving many opportunities to attack although the last 1,8 ascent toward Monte Quarin was likely the key-moment of the day. As usual, and early breakaway of five riders – Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec), Etienne Van Empel (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM), Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Roompot-Charles) and Xavier Cañellas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) – built up a 6-minute gap with no concerns for the GC contenders.

Masnada was the only still keeping on fighting on San Floriano del Collio’s KOM while Evenepoel took the initiative opening a consistent gap. With around 25 km to go, Evenepoel joined and outdistanced Masnada on the way to his impressive solo win. Only 24 hours earlier the Belgian have had a disappointing outcome with over 3’ delay from Mark Padun, but he’s now back for the overall win although the Ukrainian kept a 46 seconds of advantage on him.

We are one day closer to the final victory. Today I too care to not lose time from my most dangerous rivals in the GC and I managed to do it – Padun said.- When I saw Evenepoel attacking in that way, I didn’t even think for a second to chase him. Today he was too strong“.

A superb final showdown is expected tomorrow, Sunday July 28th, with 133,5 km from Cormons to Trieste’s Piazza Unità d’Italia, a further opportunity for fast wheels though any other outcome can be ruled out yet. The highlights of Adriatica Ionica Race’s last stage will be aired on Eurosport, from 9.45 pm CET.