Nacer Bouhanni overcame a mechanical problem and made a late comeback after being held behind crashes to win the fourth stage of the Giro d'Italia.
After three days in Ireland over the weekend, the Giro was back on Italian soil today and the French sprinter claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage at the end of a 112km dash from Giovinazzo marred by three crashes inside the last two kilometres as the road was made slippery by rain.
The first 100 kilometres had been neutralised by the peloton in protest against the bad road conditions in southern Italy, and the real action started only in the finale, with Bouhanni suffering a puncture before being helped back into the bunch by his team mates.
Bouhanni lost considerable ground some two kilometres from the line but fought his way back to outsprint Italian Giacomo Nizzolo.
“I suffered a puncture on the front wheel and had a problem with the rear wheel but my team mates were fantastic in pulling me back towards the front of the peloton,” said Bouhanni.
“In the last lap I slipped twice or three times but managed to stay on the bike and then I gave everything.”
Tom Veelers of the Netherlands came home third as Australian Michael Matthews retained the overall leader's pink jersey.