As the rain fell on Belfast, Armagh and Dublin, a big, golden orb was photographed in the skies above Bari.
It was a tantalising prospect, three difficult stages on the wet and windy Emerald Isle over and sun-soaked southern Italy waiting.
Except it did not work out like that – the rain fell, and fell hard and the peloton took the decision to implement a go-slow on the slippery road surfaces.
And as it turned out, it was the right decision too as the technical circuit saw three separate crashes on the final lap, the only one of the eight to be contested at race speed.
But, despite the go-slow, there was still plenty to take from the rain-swept stage. Read our five observations on stage four of the Giro d’Italia over the following pages.