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Primoz Roglic has won the fourth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Slovenian of Team Jumbo-Visma had the best punch on the vicious final climb to Tortoreto. Wout van Aert crashed at the bottom of the final climb, denying him the stage win.
The most challenging part of the stage came at the end, with four climbs in the last 50 kilometres. On the second pass of the Tortoreto, Julian Alaphillipe took off. Van Aert was quick to react, and although the rest of the peloton joined him a little later, the Belgian's intentions were clear.
For Van Aert, things went wrong at the foot of the fourth and final climb. He collided with Tom Pidcock; both went down but were able to continue. "I'm not in too much pain. I've got scratches, but I hope it's OK", Van Aert said.
After eliminating the first contender for victory, Team Jumbo-Visma had to switch to a different plan. Roglic entered the sprint of the depleted peloton early. He defeated Alaphilippe and Adam Yates on the line. Wilco Kelderman finished a respectable fourth. "I'm super happy. Winning is always good", said a delighted Roglic.
"It just didn't go according to plan."
"It just didn't go according to plan. We were going for the win with Wout, but he crashed on the right side of the track. At that moment, I was on the left side, which prevented me from crashing as well. We had to change tactics, and we did that well."
Since crashing out of the Vuelta, Roglic is racing in Italy for the first time. He had shoulder surgery in October, and recovery took a while. "It's been a tough time for my family and me. I worked hard and had to sacrifice a lot to be able to stand here again", the Olympic time trial champion said.
"At the beginning of the week, I didn't know where I would stand, so honestly, I'm a bit surprised. I am thrilled that all the hard work of the past months is paying off."
With his victory, Roglic has moved up to second place in the overall standings. Another uphill finish awaits tomorrow.