Belgian star Tim Wellens of Lotto Fix All took a sweet victory at the end of Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, screaming across the finish with a narrow margin over Michael Woods (EF Education First/Drapac) and Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo). Team Lotto Fix-All (a brief name change for the duration of the Giro courtesy of title sponsor Soudal) endured early attacks from UAE Team Emirates that split the peloton and a late in the stage crash to dominate the final climb. Wellens is quickly becoming a household name, due to his success in the Belgian Classics, and his distinctive, single-minded racing style.
“This is one of the reasons we wanted to sponsor Lotto-Soudal, both the men’s and women’s team, plus the U23 team,” said Cristiano Barbazza, CEO of Rudy Project International. “Their racing style is engaging and exciting, and they embody the performance ethos of our company – always pushing the limit and never compromising on performance.”
Wellens instinctive ability to gauge attacks came in handy in the 4th stage; he refused to allow Enrico Battaglin the win with just 500 meters left to go. The win placed Wellens at 4th in the overall classification, behind current pink jersey wearer Rohan Dennis (BMC) and last year’s GC winner Tim Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). The finish was especially impressive given that Wellens hit a top speed of 45 kph (27 mph) on the descent and raced up a 7.5% grade to the finish, one of many punishing profiles on the stage that forced race favorites like Team Sky to the relative safety of the peloton. Wellens’ Tralyx came in handy protecting his eyes on the descents, keeping his vision clear to the finish.
“I could start the climb in the perfect position, thanks to my teammates,” said Wellens after the win. “Adam Hansen did a long turn at the front, by the time Tosh Van der Sande had done his job the peloton had split. That we’ve already won a stage, makes us a bit more relaxed for the rest of the Giro. We came here to win a stage and we have already achieved the goal in stage 4. Of course, we’ll try to win more but this victory gives us some peace of mind.”
Wellens and the rest of Team Lotto Fix All are wearing Rudy Project’s award-winning Tralyx in a custom configuration for the 101st Giro d’Italia. Wellens’ favorite is the Multilaser Blue lens, coupled with a white gloss frame and red accents to match the distinctive Lotto team kit.
Other Rudy Project teams Trek-Segafredo and Bahrain-Merida have had mixed results so far in the Giro. Italian rider for Bahrain-Merida Domenico Pozzovivo started strong with a top ten finish in the opening time trial wearing the Boost Pro in Bahrain’s custom Gold Velvet color. Stage 2 in Tel-Aviv lead to an even more successful finish for Bahrain-Merida, with Italian Niccolo Bonifazio taking 4th in a protracted bunch sprint. “It is a good result for me. I worked hard in the last kilometers until 400 m to go to take a good position. It was a hectic final, but I am very happy for me and my legs. I thank my teammates for their help and support,” said Bonifazio after the stage. The entire Bahrain-Merida team is sporting the Gold RaceMaster and Boost Pro, making them one of the most distinctive helmets in the peloton. The well-ventilated RaceMaster was much appreciated by the team, especially during the ‘Desert Stage’ in Stage 3, where the race wound its way through more than 200 kilometers of Be’er Shiva desert with a brutal crosswind. Teams attempted to bunch together and protect team leaders, while the break struggled in the wind to make any real headway. The riders were grateful for the full wrap-around protection of the Tralyx and Tralyx XL sunglasses, complemented by virtually unbreakable ImpactX-2 photochromic lenses.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) managed to crack the top ten for his team at the end of Stage 3, but Stage 4 held some bad luck for the ‘show your stripes’ team. Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) got a flat with only 30km to go at the end of stage 4 and had to chase the peloton for 10km. The team has their eyes on the summit finish up Mt Etna in Stage 6, hoping that their solid team of climbers can bring home a podium.The 101st Giro d’Italia continues in Italy until May 27th. We anticipate many more twists and turns and wins for our favorite Rudy Project teams, so be sure to keep up with the action and follow us on social media, @RudyProjectNA on all platforms.