The fourth stage of the Giro Rosa turned into another bunch sprint. Amy Pieters was Boels-Dolmans' top finisher in eighth place, behind winner Jolien D'Hoore (Mitchelton-Scott), who took her second consecutive victory in a row. Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) retained the pink leader's jersey.
“The stage went okay," said Pieters. “But everything came back together all the time. Eventually the stage ended in a bunch sprint and it was another chaotic finish. I got boxed in with 300 meters to go and unfortunately no gap opened up for me.”
Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus played a major role during the stage, controlling breakaway riders and the pace in the peloton from her familiar spot at the front of the bunch. "It's a nice area here," Majerus said of today’s stage. "I finally got used to the heat a little bit more - or maybe it's just because it's was less warm today."
“We manage the heat quite well,” Pieters chips in about the heat. “We can visit the car for bottles and ice bags all the time and there are soigneurs at the side of the road as well, so that helps to regulate our temperature. But we’re also getting used to it a bit more now.”
"After our bad luck yesterday with four riders in the big crash and Megan losing time in the GC, the first goal was to keep everyone safe," Majerus said. "No-one was involved in today's big crash and I'm happy about that because it looked quite bad again."
The stage was a pretty straightforward sprint stage, with an undulating course profile and 109 kilometers in length. "There was one climb today, but no rider really went far off the front" Majerus said. "There was a small breakaway just after the top and we were in it, but it didn't stick."
"The road to the finish was pancake flat, so this was probably the last chance for the real sprinters to get a win," she continued. "It was only natural that it came down to a sprint, so we tried to keep Amy in a good position to make sure she could go for the sprint. Things were quite chaotic and things went how they went - but at least we tried."
"The last kilometers of a Giro stage are always hectic and pretty dangerous," Majerus reflected. "Today was no different with ten roundabouts in the last 3.5 kilometers. And they misguided us with 3 kilometers to go, onto the wrong side of the road, which doesn't make it safer of course."
Visit the PMG Sport Facebook page to watch the highlights of today’s stage, tune into Eurosport 1 in the Netherlands and Belgium at 10.15pm CET, or subscribe to the Eurosport Player.