Gaia Realini (Italy) rode solo on the slopes to Megéve and won stage 4 of the Tour de l’Avenir Femmes. From a chase group of three riders, Shirin Van Anrooij (Netherlands) finished 41 seconds back for second place. The sprint for third was taken by Anna Shackley (Great Britain) edging race leader Antonia Niedermaier (Germany) at the line.
Niedermaier retained the race lead with a strong finish in the small group of chasers. She has to fight for the overall on the final day of racing Friday, holding 14 seconds ahead of Shackley. Van Anrooij gained 4 seconds but remains third overall, 19 seconds back. Realini used her stage win on Thursday to move up seven spots, and is fourth overall just 33 seconds off the top step of the GC podium.
“Today is the hard stage. My team would work in the first part of the climb and I attacked 12k before the finish. A good job for me and the team,” Realini said to organisers after the hilltop finish put her in contention for the GC on the final day.
“Tomorrow is another hard stage. Day by day the feeling is good, tomorrow I don’t know.”
Stage 4 was short on distance, just 80km from Challes-les-Eaux to Megève, but long on climbing, with 1,941 metres of elevation gain across a pair of categorised climbs that led to the mountaintop finish. Another day of climbing comes on stage 5, the queen stage, with 2,543 metres of elevation gain across 98km.
Shackley holds the mountain classification lead by just one and two points over Dutch teammates Van Anrooij and Fem van Empel, respectively. Van Empel holds a substantial 20-point lead in the points classification over Julie De Wilde (Belgium). Niedermaier has all but sewn up the youth classification title with one day to race.
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