Italian jumped from the original breakaway group before the final climb to take a first Grand Tour stage victory

Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) soloed to victory on stage four of the 2015 Giro d’Italia after attacking from a breakaway group in which he’d spent much of the day. The Italian made his attack before the final category three climb, the Biassa, and managed to hold-off an elite chasing group and a rampant Astana to take his first Grand Tour stage victory.

Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) took over the race lead from teammate Michael Matthews, having sprinted to second on the stage from the reduced group, 22 seconds behind Formolo. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) also finished in the lead group to secure the top two places in GC for the Australian squad heading into stage five.

A break of 27 riders, which included Formolo, Clarke and Chaves, as well as Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), formed early on the stage and looked like it would hold to the end as they stretched a gap of over 10 minutes, with constant attacks and regrouping throughout the 150km hilly course.

Tinkoff-Saxo, who attempted to control the peloton with Kreuziger up the road, failed to contain the situation as Astana ramped-up the pace significantly on the penultimate climb with around 50km remaining.

That increase in pace saw race leader Matthews dropped on the category three Passo del Termine,  ending the Australian’s two-day stint in the pink jersey.

As Astana began to close the gap on the small group chasing Formolo after his attack with just under 15km to go, Fabio Aru (Astana) launched a move on the Biassa to bridge the gap, dragging across fellow GC contenders Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Richie Porte (Team Sky).

Aru’s teammate Dario Cataldo then lead the chase down the descent to try and catch Formolo, but it was too little, too late as the 22-year-old held on to take a memorable victory on a chaotic stage of the 2015 Giro.

Wednesday’s 152km fifth stage is likely to see the first proper action on GC, as the riders take on a summit finish on the category two climb to Abetone.

Giro d’Italia 2015, stage four: Chiavari to La Spezia, 150km

1. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin, in 3-47-59
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, at 22 seconds
3. Yonathan Monsalve (Ita) Southeast
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
7. Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
9. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, all same time

Overall classification after stage four

1. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, in 11-54-48
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, at 10 seconds
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 17 seconds
4. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 23 seconds
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana, st
7. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, at 29 seconds
8. Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC, at 31 seconds
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin, st
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, st

Giro d'Italia - Stage 4

Davide Formolo goes it alone on stage four of the 2015 Giro d’Italia (Watson)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 4

Simon Clarke celebrates taking the race lead and the pink jersey after stage four of the 2015 Giro d’Italia (Watson)