RIMINI, Italy (AP) — Arnaud Démare earned his fourth stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia on Wednesday by winning the 11th leg in another mass sprint, and João Almeida held onto the overall leader’s pink jersey.
Démare edged Peter Sagan and Álvaro Hodeg at the end of the mostly flat 182-kilometer (113-mile) leg from Porto Sant’Elpidio to Rimini along the Adriatic coast.
Démare, a French rider with the Groupama-FDJ team, also won the fourth, sixth and seventh stages, which also ended in mass sprints.
Fernando Gaviria was the first to launch his sprint, with 200 meters (yards) to go, but Démare responded immediately.
“The youngsters of the team have done enormous work to bring the breakaway back,” Démare said. “My three leadout men delivered me in a perfect position and I felt a lot of strength in my legs to launch my sprint.
“Coming to the Giro, I didn’t think I’d get four stage wins. Hats off to my teammates.”
With about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) remaining, Elia Viviani was hit by a motorbike as the peloton went around a roundabout. The Italian managed to get back onto his bike and was helped back to the group by his team but could only finish 10th in the sprint.
Five riders formed an early breakaway and their lead hovered around three minutes for much of the first half of the stage before eventually being reeled back in.
Sander Armée was the last of the breakaway riders to be caught, with 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) to go.
Almeida, a Portuguese rider with the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, remained 34 seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman and 43 seconds ahead of Pello Bilbao.
“The first part of the stage was fairly quiet, then a frenetic finish with many teams who wanted to race in the front,” Almeida said. “Tomorrow is a very undulating stage, there will be some attacks but we will be prepared.”
Thursday’s 12th stage is a hilly 200-kilometer (126.8-mile) route that starts and ends in Cesenatico and features five categorized climbs.
The Giro was rescheduled from its usual May slot because of the coronavirus pandemic. The race ends on Oct. 25 with an individual time trial in Milan.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.