Tour of the Alps: Miguel Ángel López denies Thibaut Pinot on stage 4

Romain Bardet closes gap to race leader Pello Bilbao to just two seconds with one stage to go.

Photo: Tim de Waele / Getty Images

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Miguel Ángel López (Astana-Qazaqstan) caught and passed Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) in the final kilometer of stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps to take victory in Kals am Grossglockner.

Pinot looked as though he might end a 1,000-day win drought as he maintained a slim advantage over a group of favorites behind. However, a late attack from López saw his lead quickly vanish and he had no response when the Colombian attacked again to drop him.

Pinot ultimately rolled in some seven seconds after López with Romain Bardet (Team DSM) winning the spring behind for third place ahead of race leader Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious). Thanks to the bonus seconds on the line, Bardet has closed Bilbao’s advantage in the overall classification to just two seconds with just one stage remaining.

“We were convinced today that it was a really good finish for us, I’m really happy with what I did at the end. The team did a great job, everybody got in the breakaway and helped me. My teammates, who were in the breakaway, were good and I was pretty happy behind. We knew it would be close at the end, I saw the possibility and I went,” López said after the race.

How it happened

A fast and furious start to the 142-kilometer fourth stage from Niederdorf/Villabassa to Kals am Grossglockner meant that the breakaway had to fight hard to get away. With half the stage already done, a group finally began to form ahead of the peloton.

After much attacking, and chasing, a 15-rider break, which included Pinot, Andre Amador (Ineos Grenadiers), Merhawi Kudus (EF Education-EasyPost), Sebastian Henao (Astana-Qazaqstan), and more, went up the road. The large group quickly built up an advantage of close to two minutes but the bunch, which was being controlled by Bahrain-Victorious, wasn’t letting it have too much room.

With the finish line approaching and the peloton closing in, the cohesion of the breakaway group began to falter. There were multiple attacks, beginning as far out as 14 kilometers to go, but it was Pinot’s move with 10k remaining that did the most damage. Omer Goldstein (Israel-Premier Tech) tried to follow but Pinot would eventually go it alone.

Inside the final five kilometers and Pinot had just over 30 seconds on the reduced bunch behind. It was going to be tight for the Frenchman, who hadn’t won since 2019. His hopes of taking a morale-boosting victory were dashed when López launched a move from the bunch behind and started cutting down the advantage with relative ease.

Even a small descent couldn’t help Pinot and he was reeled in by López, who paused for a brief moment after he caught him before going again. López dropped him with ease and the Colombian was able to celebrate his first win in his return to the Astana team.

Behind, Pinot held off the rest of the pack to take second place. Meanwhile, there was a tough contest for the final bonus seconds on the line with Bardet beating Bilbao to take them.

2022 Tour of the Alps results stage 4

  1. Miguel Ángel López (Astana-Qazaqstan), 03:29:04
  2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), at :07
  3. Tomain Bardet (Team DSM), at :15
  4. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  5. Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroën), at s.t.
  6. Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost), at s.t.
  7. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  8. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  9. Thymen Arensman (Team DSM), at s.t.
  10. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), at s.t.

2022 Tour of the Alps General Classification

  1. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) 15:41:27
  2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM), at :02
  3. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ), at :12
  4. Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroën), at :16
  5. Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), at :s.t.
  6. Einer Rubio (Movistar), at s.t.
  7. Thymen Arensman (Team DSM), at s.t.
  8. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), at s.t.
  9. Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers), at s.t.
  10. Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), at s.t.

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