“I like to race aggressively”, Dror Pekatch said before he explained his race tactics before the fourth stage in the Settimana Ciclistica Italiana. “So if we can, we will go on the attack.”

And that’s how the race unfolded. ISN was active, took initiative, and pressured its opponents.

Settimana Ciclistica Italiana 2021 – 1st Edition – 3rd stage 4th stage 4th stage Cagliari – Cagliari 168 km – 17/07/2021 – Israel Start-Up Nation – photo Tommaso Pelagalli/BettiniPhoto©2021

Domestiques Seb Berwick, Rudy Barbier, Guy Niv and Guy Sagiv did their fair share of work before Krists Neilands pushed on during the hardest part of the race. Ben Hermans, strong as an ox, and Sep Vanmarcke, full of Flemish will-power followed him.

“The race unfolded really good for us”, Pekatch said after the finish. “We entered the final with a small group and there were the three of us. Neilands was amazing, as he was able to keep a good gap with the second bunch, on his own.”

Vanmarcke chased the best scenario in the last thirty kilometers, by attacking and trying to battle for the stage win and general classification. He was close to success, but got reeled in with around ten kilometers to the line.

“I knew I would have more chance if I could sprint in an even smaller group”, Vanmarcke said. “So I gave it a go with an attack.”

“Unfortunately we were chased down, and obviously after my attack, I would not have the same explosiveness in the sprint.”

It was all or nothing for the Belgian rider, and in the end, he got half the prize: a third place in the stage, and still a spot on the final podium, if the ultimate stage of the Settimana goes as expected – ending in a mass sprint.