Hamilton attacks to take victory at Tirreno Adriatico
24-year-old Australian Lucas Hamilton took his opportunity in the final of today’s first mountain stage at Tirreno Adriatico, attacking away from the general classification group, before winning a two-up sprint to claim his first WorldTour victory.
Mitchelton-SCOTT found themselves in a dream position with numbers to their advantage in the final five-kilometres, allowing Hamilton to contest the stage victory, while Jack Haig and team leader Simon Yates both finished inside the top-10 on the stage and into the top-10 on the general classification.
Furious and fast
The first hour of the stage was fast and frantic with the peloton averaging 46.7km/h despite passing over the rolling terrain. No breakaway attempts were able to stick until over 60km of racing was complete, when finally a group of 11 riders were allowed to break clear.
The group quickly opened up a lead of over one-minute but with important climbs to come, the peloton kept the group on a tight leash, hovering most of the day around the three-minute mark.
Half-way up the final climb of the day, all of the remaining breakaway riders were swallowed up by the reduced peloton, before new attacks started to fly from the general classification contenders.
Yates made a decisive move towards the crest of the climb, forcing race leader Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to react, following straight onto his wheel.
Playing the game
On the descent other GC riders joined Yates at the front, including teammates Haig and Hamilton, giving the Australian outfit numbers to play with.
As soon as Hamilton made contact with the leaders, he took the initiative and used his momentum to launch away taking Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quickstep) with him.
It was touch and go if the pair would stay away but on the uphill drag to the line the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider had done enough and powered past Masnada to claim his first WorldTour victory and move up to fourth place overall.
Lucas Hamilton - Stage 4 winner
“It’s my first WorldTour win so I am super happy.
“I just hung on over that final climb and I was in that second group when Yates attacked ahead. When we got back on, I saw my own opportunity and with the speed and momentum we had I was able to get away. I was very lucky to have Masnada there with me because I don’t think I could have done that myself and we worked well together.
“Simon is still our overall leader, so this win is a bit of a bonus but for me it is nice to step up. I take my opportunities when I can and I am lucky to have a leader like Simon that also lets his teammates have opportunities.
“On paper Masnada is probably faster than me so I was a bit worried about that and tried to make him do the last 500metres or so and that worked in my favour in the end."
Tirreno Adriatico – Stage 4 Results:
1. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:46:22
2. Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quickstep) ST
3. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) +0:10
Tirreno Adriatico – General Classification after Stage 4:
1. Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) 18:05:52
2. Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) +0:09
3. Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +0:18
4. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:27