• Elia Viviani takes Giro 2018 stage win number four. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) claimed another bunch sprint victory in difficult conditions at Iseo ahead of Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).
By
Cycling Central

24 May 2018 - 5:12 AM  UPDATED 24 May 2018 - 5:18 AM

Viviani, who opened his Giro campaign with back-to-back stage wins and also won stage 13, is the first Italian to win four stages at a Giro since Ivan Basso in 2006 and extended his points classification lead over Bennett to 58 points.

“My 10th win of the season and my fourth at the Giro d’Italia confirms the level I’ve reached since I joined Quick Step," Viviani said. "I’ve only doubted myself at Imola where I had a bad day, but I came here with a very well-prepared team that was built to help me win stages.

"In addition to these victories, the Maglia Ciclamino was, and remains, my main goal of the season. I was pretty nervous this morning because I knew this was a unique occasion for Sam Bennett to take the jersey away from me. Therefore, we opted for a defensive tactic, firstly to make it back to the back after being dropped in a climb, secondly in the lead-up to the sprint.

"Eventually, my lead-out men could play their normal role, especially Fabio Sabatini who had a flat tyre before my second win in Eilat and a mechanical before my third win in Nervesa della Battaglia. He made the difference in the sprint today.”

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who began the day 56 seconds ahead of defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), finished the 155km route from Riva da Garda in the main bunch to keep his overall lead intact.

He is in a strong position to win the Giro, with the race heading back into the mountains on Thursday where the 25-year-old will look to take more time away from time trial specialist Dumoulin.

"In the coming three days, I’ll watch Tom [Dumoulin] mostly and the other GC guys," Yates said. "I’m getting closer to the end. As the days tick down, I feel that I’m getting closer to the overall victory but I also feel that difficult days are coming so I’ll be careful. Tomorrow is the only day that I know the final climb but I expect a breakaway to finally succeed.”

Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) is in third place in the general classification, three minutes and 11 seconds behind Yates, while four-times Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) is fourth overall, three minutes 50 seconds behind the leader.