March 14, 2015

CASTELRAIMONDO, Italy (AP) Wouter Poels won the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Saturday with an impressive solo attack to move into the overall lead as the race hit the mountains.

The Dutchman made his move at the crest of the final climb and clocked 5 hours, 53 minutes, 38 seconds over the longest stage of the race, a 218-kilometer (135.4-mile) route from Indicatore to Castelraimondo.

''It was perfect timing. It worked pretty good,'' Poels said. ''I'm in really good shape so I'm not really afraid for the stage tomorrow.''

Rigoberto Uran won a bunch sprint behind Poels to finish second, topping a group which crossed 14 seconds behind the Team Sky rider. Joaquim Rodriguez was third.

Poels leads the overall standings 17 seconds ahead of Uran, with British cyclist Steve Cummings third, 26 seconds behind Poels.

The Tirreno continues in the mountains on Sunday, with a 194K (120.6-mile) leg from Esanatoglia to Terminillo.

The 50th edition of the race across central Italy ends March 17 with an individual time trial.

The race's first mountain stage had four climbs, with three tough ones in the final 80K (49.7 miles). The route ended with two laps of a difficult circuit, including two climbs up the Crispiero - with an average gradient of 9.3 percent and a maximum of 15 near the top - followed by tricky, technical descents to the finish line.

Mathew Hayman and Luke Durbridge broke early and at one point had an advantage of nearly nine minutes on the peloton.

Durbridge cracked with about 30K (18.6 miles) remaining, leaving the Australian cyclist up front on his own.

Hayman was clearly struggling and he was passed on the first of two climbs up the Crispiero by Michele Scarponi, Giovanni Visconti, Julian Arredondo and Dani Moreno.

The late break lasted only a few kilometers as they too were caught with 10.5K (6.5 miles) to go.

Several riders were dropped on the approach to the last climb. Domenico Pozzovivo looked set to attack but it was Giampaolo Caruso who made the move toward the top of the ascent, only to be swiftly overtaken by Poels, who crested the summit in the lead before powering down the 6K (3.7-mile) descent to take the leader's blue jersey from Belgian Greg Van Avermaet.

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