Peter Sagan is one the most likely winners of a potential sprint finish Tuesday in the Giro d’Italia. Photo by Denismenchov08 (Flickr)
- Stage 4 of the Giro (Tuesday, October 6) is a sprint stage with a wrinkle, a lengthy gradual climb
- Sprinters may be able to survive the climb and battle it out for daily honors
- Where does the top betting value present itself on Tuesday?
Stages in grand tours are built up to be a big deal but end with little movement in the standings. That was not the case on Monday at the Giro d’Italia. Race favorite Geraint Thomas crashed, made his way back to the peloton, got dropped on the approach to the big climb of the day, and lost more than 10 minutes. Top contender Simon Yates cracked on the climb and lost over three minutes.
The first and only mountain stage of the opening week was bound to be important, and Thomas’s early crash set the tone for a wild day. The route set up nicely for a breakaway, and Jonathan Caicedo seized the opportunity and pulled away late for the stage victory.
Wednesday profiles as a day for the sprinters to take center stage. Which rider is the best value bet to win Stage 4?
2020 Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Odds
|Rider||Odds to Win Stage 4|
|Thomas De Gendt||+2800|
Odds taken Oct. 5.
Caicedo took Stage 3 by 21 seconds over Giovanni Visconti. GC contenders Rafal Majka, Vincenzo Nibali, and Jakob Fuglsang finished 51 seconds behind. The group was six seconds clear of Steven Kruijswijk.
Joao Almeida and Caicedo are tied atop the overall standings. Pello Bilbao is 37 seconds behind in third place. Several GC contenders including Nibali (55 seconds), Jakob Fuglsang (1:13), Kruijswijk (1:15), and Majka (1:26) are in pretty good shape. Yates is 3:46 back, and Thomas is in 53rd overall place 11:17 behind the leaders.
The 140 kilometers Stage 4 from Catania to Villafranca Tirrena is pretty straightforward. It begins with a long flat portion along the Mediterranean coast, followed by the long but not overly steep climb of Portella Mandrazzi, before a long flat conclusion.
Since the race is still early on, riders should have strength in reserve. The gradient is not significant on the climb, so sprinters should be able to survive the mountain and battle it out at the finish line, though a more versatile rider could hold some value. Surely some riders will try to eliminate the true sprinters on the climb, but there is a lot of ground to get back into the group following the descent.
Peter Sagan had a forgettable Tour de France but the seven-time points classification champ in Paris should like this route a lot. He is among the top sprinters in the field but often excels with one or two obstacles, like a routine climb that could take something out of his sprint rivals.
Sagan has won 12 stages on the Tour de France and four in the Vuelta a Espana. This is the first time he has ridden in the Giro.
Arnaud Démare seeks a repeat of Stage 10 in last year’s Giro. He timed his move perfectly to take a bunch sprint finish at top speeds.
Démare has won two individual stages in the Tour de France and twice has been victorious in the Four Days of Dunkirk. He is in good form winning August’s Tour de Wallonie.
Michael Matthews has won multiple individual stages in each grand tour and took the points title in the Tour de France in 2017.
Like Sagan, Matthews is a strong sprinter but might be more accurately described as a puncher. The climb should benefit him.
If you view the long but mild mountain as a blip on the radar that sprinters will navigate without issue, maybe Elia Viviani is the choice. He has five Giro stage victories and nine overall on grand tours. There is no doubt he wants a classic sprint finish.
Viviani was involved in controversy last year when he appeared to win Stage 3 of the Giro but was disqualified for illegally blocking Matteo Moschetti. He failed to take any stages a year ago after getting to the line first on four occasions.
Diego Ulissi outsprinted Sagan in Stage 2, why shouldn’t that occur again?
Ulissi has won seven stages of the Giro. The uphill during the middle of the course should not be a problem for him.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.