(Reuters) - Diego Ulissi marked the Giro d’Italia’s homecoming with victory in stage four to Praia a Mare on Tuesday as Dutchman Tom Dumoulin took hold of the pink jersey.
After three stages in the Netherlands, home fans were out in force to watch the peloton speed through the rolling Calabrian countryside and Lampre-Merida rider Ulissi rewarded them as he held on to take the 200km stage.
Dumoulin led the chasing pack across the line, five seconds back, to replace Germany’s Marcel Kittel as the overall leader.
Sprinter Kittel, winner of the previous two stages before Monday’s rest day, struggled on the climbs in the second half of the day’s stage.
“It’s a really nice feeling,” Ulissi, who has now won five Giro stages throughout his career, said.
“When I was small I dreamt about things like this, it’s a beautiful emotion.”
Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) leads the overall standings by 20 seconds from Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step) going into Wednesday’s stage to Benevento.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis