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Woods clings tenaciously to Tirreno-Adriatico lead after mountain stage

Rusty also leads King of the Mountains classification

Rusty Woods kept his Tirreno-Adriatico race lead on Thursday after a late move threatened his maglia azzuri on a day in the mountains. Woods also assumed the lead in the King of the Mountains competition by topping an HC-rated climb first. Aussie Lucas Hamilton of Mitchelton-Scott took his first career WorldTour win in Cascia.

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Woods started the day with a 5-second lead over Rafal Majka, 26-seconds over Wilco Kelderman, and 30-seconds up on the likes of Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates, and Astana duo Jakob Fuglsang and red-hot Russian Alexandr Vlasov.

The Course

While there was no summit finish on Thursday’s stage, two HC-rated ascents loomed in the final third of 194 km from Terni to Cascia. Forca di Gualdo, 10.1 km of 7.5 percent, peaked at 50 km to go; and the Ospedaletto, 7 km of 7.1 percent, crested with 10.5 km remaining.

It took about 50-km for the day’s breakaway to establish itself. Mathias Frank initiated the hostilities on the Gualdo and tipped over the top with Michael Matthews and Hรฉctor Carretero.

As the rain started with 40-km to go, the leading group, now a quartet, held a minute’s lead over a group of former breakmates and a couple of attackers from the bunch and 1:30 over the EF Pro Cycling-led peloton.

Ospedaletto

As soon as the break was in sight on the opening slopes of Ospedaletto, attacks began. Very soon, Woods was isolated, with Thomas’s Ineos pulling at the front.

Yates attacked, with Woods covering. Thomas toiled to come over. Vlasov and Majka bridged over too.

Woods leads Yates, Vlasov, Thomas and Majka up the Ospeladetto.

By topping the HC climb in the lead, Woods took over the KOM classification. With 9-km to go, the Woods quintet led a chasing quintet by a handful of seconds on the descent. The two groups merged and straight away Fausto Masnada and Hamilton bolted. Masnada was +0:30 and Hamilton +0:43.

Hamilton outsprinted Masnada for the victory, but Woods led the others across the line ten seconds later, snagging four bonus seconds. Woods is ahead of Majka by nine-seconds and Masnada by 18-seconds going into Friday’s queen stage. The race concludes Monday with a flat 10.1-km time trial.

2020 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4
1) Lucas Hamilton (Australia/Mitchelton-Scott) 4:46:22
2) Fausto Masnada (Italy/Deceuninck-Quick Step) s.t.
3) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) +0:10

2020 Tirreno-Adriatico GC
1) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) 13:19:24
2) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe +0:09
3) Fausto Masnada (Italy/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:18