Rome - Kazakh rider Alexey Lutsenko survived two late crashes to win a sprint finish for the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico race over 221km from Foligno to Fossombrone on Saturday.
The Astana Pro Team rider clocked 5hr 16min 29sec in the stage race acrosss Italy to finish just ahead of Slovenian Primoz Roglic of Team Jumbo-Visma with Britain's Adam Yates of Mitchelton-Scott holding on to the leader's blue jersey by finishing third in the same time.
"I crashed twice in the last 20km," said Lutsenko.
"It made it very difficult for me. Fortunately there was my teammate, Jakob Fuglsang, in the three-man group behind."
The Kazakh rider had gained a vital advantage of up to one minute on his rivals on the Monteguiduccio climb, about 40km from the finish.
But on the first descent towards Fossombrone, he missed a turn, but miraculously managed to stay in the saddle.
On the final stretch with Roglic, Yates and the Dane Fuglsang hot on his pursuit, he missed another corner, but still got back on the saddle, fighting off his rivals in a tight sprint.
Yates has a seven-second advantage on Roglic in the overall standings with Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin at 50sec with three stages remaining.
"It was a tricky stage," said Yates.
"It was as hard as a classic in the Ardennes, up and down all day with twisty roads and steep climbs. But we were always in the position we needed to be in.
"In the final climb, I managed to hang on to Roglic's strong pace. I'm a little disappointed to not win the stage but the strongest guy won today."
Sunday's hilly "wall climbing" fifth stage is a 180km run from Colli al Metauroto to Recanati with sharp ascents including the Muro di San Pietro which has a maximum 20 percent gradient.
Results from the fourth stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, a 221km ride from Foligon to Fossombrone on Saturday:
1 Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/Astana) 5hr 16min 29sec, 2 Primoz Roglic (SLO/Team Jumbo-Visma) same time, 3. Adam Yates (GBR/Mitchelton-Scott) s.t, 4. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/Astana) s.t., 5. Davide Formolo (ITA/Bora) at 9sec, 6. Alberto Bettiol (ITA/Education First) at 23sec, 7. Simon Clarke (AUS/Education First) s.t., 8. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/Lotto Soudal) s.t.,9. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Deceuninck-Quick Step) s.t., 10 Wout Poels (NED/Team Sky) s.t.
1. Adam Yates (GBR/Mitchelton-Scott) 15hr 53min 42sec, 2. Primoz Roglic (SLO/Team Jumbo-Visma) at 7sec, 3. Tom Dumoulin (NED/Team Sunweb) at 50sec, 4. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/Deceuninck-Quick Step) at 56sec, 5. Sam Oomen (NED/Team Sunweb) s.t., 6. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/Astana) 1:06, 7. Wout Poels (NED/Team Sky) 1:16, 8. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/Astana) 1:19, Alberto Bettiol (ITA/Education First) 1:21, 10. Simon Clarke (AUS/Education First) 1:25