Wellens wins as Froome's Giro hopes suffer a setback
Tim Wellens sprinted to victory in Caltagirone as Chris Froome lost time in an eventful fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Lotto Fix All rider Wellens timed his burst to perfection during an uphill finish at the end of a 202-kilometre ride from Catania, with his late surge also lifting him up to fourth in the overall standings.
Michael Woods of Canada was second to the cross the line, ahead of Italian Enrico Battaglin, as the race enjoyed an action-packed opening on Italian soil after the first three stages were held in Israel.
Rohan Dennis remains a solitary second ahead of defending champion Tom Dumoulin in the overall standings, with the Australian battling hard to keep hold of the pink jersey.
However, Froome's hopes of making up the gap to the leaders were hampered by a late crash. While he was not involved in the incident, the Team Sky rider was held up in the immediate aftermath and eventually finished 21 seconds behind the victorious Wellens.
There was better news for Simon Yates, though, as he came home four seconds ahead of Dennis to move into the podium places in the general classification.
GOING TO THE WELL
Wellens deservedly took centre stage after claiming the second Giro stage win of his career - but the Belgian was quick to praise the work done by team-mates Adam Hansen and Tosh van der Sande to set up the opportunity.
"Adam and Tosh were very strong today," he told Eurosport. "First Adam pulled before the final climb and then Tosh did the perfect lead-out. With 200 metres to go, I went full gas."
Froome also put his foot down towards the end of the stage, yet still sits 55 seconds behind Dumoulin.
The four-time Tour de France champion was in the wrong place when Andrey Zeits hit the deck, causing a split in the peloton. Yet despite the setback, the 32-year-old - who suffered a fall in a practice ride prior to the opening time-trial - was in a positive frame of mind after crossing the line.
"It was a hard, nervous stage. It was up and down all day. But I'm just happy to get through the day without any major problems," Froome said.
1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Fix All) 5:17:34
2. Michael Woods (Team EF Education First-Drapac)
3. Enrico Battaglin (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)
4. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)
5. Davide Formolo (BORA - hansgrohe)
1. Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) 14:23:08
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) +0:01
3. Simon Yates (Katusha-Alpecin) +0:17
1. Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) - 130
2. Sacha Modelo (Team EF Education First-Drapac) - 55
3. Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina - Selle Italia) - 53
King of the Mountains
1. Enrico Barbin (Bardiani - CSF) - 11
2. Marco Frapporti (Androni) - 7
3. Guillaume Boivin (Israel Cycling Academy) - 3
Wednesday's ride takes the field on a 153-km journey from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa, with another small climb prior to the finish potentially making things interesting.