The fourth stage was a 172-kilometre ride from Avola to Etna-Nicolosi after a rest day and the two riders were out in front with a kilometre to go before the Spaniard made a mistake on the final turn to hand Kaemna the stage win. “It was a super hard day, especially the last climb. It was really long and hard. I almost thought I lost it when Lopez had more than 30 seconds and I could just make it to bridge,” Kaemna said.
“I just made it. Then I tried to recover a little bit for the sprint and it worked out really well. Let me say it like this – maybe we had a silent agreement (for the win and pink jersey).” Trek-Segafredo rider Lopez, however, became the first Spaniard in seven years to wear the ‘Maglia Rosa’ since Alberto Contador and he holds a 39-second lead over Kaemna.
“I’ve worked so hard today to take the jersey. I attacked in the steepest part of the climb. Kaemna brought me back with two or three kilometres to go,” an emotional Lopez said. “I tried to fight for the victory but it was so difficult. I’m so happy to have the Maglia Rosa. I don’t know for how long, but I’ll enjoy it.”
Rein Taaramae of Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert finished third and he is also third in the overall standings a further 19 seconds back. Wednesday’s fifth stage is a flat 174-km route from Catania to Messina.