The fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia Women saw an extraordinary solo victory by Clara Emond of EF Education-Cannondale. The 27-year-old Canadian rider broke away from the peloton on the San Marino climb, embarking on a 50-kilometre solo effort that secured her first professional win.

The 134-kilometre stage began with flat roads but soon transitioned to a more challenging terrain, including three categorised climbs. The first 80 kilometres were relatively uneventful, with the peloton staying together. However, as the race entered the more demanding second half, a group of five riders, including Emond, Tota Magalhães, Carmela Cipriani, Silvia Zanardi, and Alice Palazzi, formed a breakaway.

With 50 kilometres to go, Emond attacked on the San Marino climb, distancing herself from her breakaway companions. She held a significant lead over the chase group, which included notable riders like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Soraya Paladin. Despite the peloton’s efforts to reel her in, Emond maintained her advantage, showcasing her strength and determination.

Clara Emond wins! The 🇨🇦 rider spent 110km in the break today and was too strong for the chasers on tough terrain

Her previous best WWT result was 20th in Suisse last year, so a first UCI and first WWT victory for Clara 👏#GirodItaliaWomen

— Mathew Mitchell (@MatMitchell30) July 10, 2024

As the race neared the finish in Urbino, the final climb proved decisive. Elisa Longo Borghini and Lotte Kopecky, both in the general classification contention, engaged in a fierce battle, reminiscent of their duel in Strade Bianche this year. Longo Borghini managed to outsprint Kopecky, securing her position in the Maglia Rosa.

Post-stage Reactions

In the post-race press conference, Clara Emond shared her excitement and disbelief at her victory. “Winning my first career race here at the Giro d’Italia is fantastic. I didn’t think I could do it so early, in my first participation. I started racing late, I moved to Europe to pursue my dream, and this is the reward after years of sacrifices. It was a crazy stage; the whole team wanted to redeem an unhappy start to the Giro, and we all tried to join the breakaway. When I attacked, I feared it was too early, but in the end, it went well. I am proud of what I did.”

This battle between Longo Borghini and Kopecky wasn't really about the stage but just some alpha top dog asserting of dominance

Longo Borghini coming up over the top in pink…Elisa shows she won't back down this Giro!#GirodItaliaWomen

— Mathew Mitchell (@MatMitchell30) July 10, 2024

Elisa Longo Borghini, who retained her lead in the general classification, praised Emond’s effort and reflected on her own performance. “It was a stage where I thought the breakaway might do it. I’m happy for Clara; it’s always nice to see when courage is rewarded. In the finale, Lotte and I battled it out, almost like a rematch of the Strade Bianche, and I’m happy to have finished ahead of her. It doesn’t mean anything for the general classification, but it gives morale.”

Giada Borghesi of Human Powered Health also expressed her satisfaction with her sixth-place finish. “I’m very excited because getting a sixth place at a stage of the Giro is something really satisfying. Especially this being my first Giro. I felt good, and seeing myself in front of so many athletes who I usually watched on television was special.”

Silvia Zanardi, who was part of the early breakaway, commented on the challenging conditions of the stage. “It was a very hot day in the break, but I’m happy I was there for the day. I tried to grit my teeth as much as possible on the climb to then be with my teammates and help them as much as possible in the finale.”

Emond’s victory also marked the third Canadian win in the history of the Giro d’Italia Women, following time-trial successes by Linda Jackson in 1998 and Leah Kirchmann in 2016. Emond’s triumph is a testament to her determination and late start in the sport, having graduated as a lawyer in 2021 before pursuing a professional cycling career.

2024 Giro d’Italia Women Stage 4 result

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All photo credits: La Presse