Tejay Van Garderen took Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia after a day in the breakaway, consolidating his race after dropping out of contention for the GC.
Race leader Tom Dumoulin looked strong and he was unable to be broken by rivals Nibali and Quintana on a day that involved plenty of chances for GC action.
There was an attack by 4 riders after 8km that attacked and managed to get a gap although they were kept on a short leash of around 30″ as a group of 30 riders were also trying to move up to them which the peloton weren’t happy about.
The category 1 Passo Pordoi right at the start was causing havoc in the peloton as riders tried to attack and go clear including Stage 17 winner Rolland, KOM Mikel Landa and Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and several other riders, but none were able to catch the four riders in front.
These riders were Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida), Diego Rosa (Team Sky) and Joey Rosskopf (BMC) and as they made their way up the climb they managed to extend their lead to 45″.
The pace was upsetting the peloton with riders littering the road and it wasn’t long before race leader Dumoulin was losing riders as the frequent attacks caused a high pace.
Eventually, Boaro was unable to hold on to the break and dropped back to mix in with the several chase groups on the road, leading the trio out front with just 18″ as they neared the summit.
Rosa led the group over the top with around a 10″ advantage as a chasing group had distanced itself from the peloton and were in pursuit of the leaders.
The chasing group were able to get in touch with the leaders which meant the leading group contained 17 riders, including the original 3. The others joining Rosskopf, Rosa and Berhane were Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Drapac), Ruben Plaza (Orica-Scott), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Dario Cataldo (Astana), Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (Movistar), Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Bahrain-Merida), Jan Hirt (CCC), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom – Rusvelo).
As the leaders made their way through the valley towards the category 2 Passo Valparola their lead was extended to 2’04” as the peloton recovered from the hectic start. Team Sunweb had managed to strengthen their numbers after the descent and took over at the head of the peloton.
Halfway up the climb with 85km to go in the stage the peloton was losing riders again as Orica-Scott forced the pace with three riders at the front, along with three Bahrain-Merida riders who were sharing the pacemaking.
Team Sky responded to the increase in pace in the peloton by putting Deignan and Rosa on the front of the break as they neared the summit to try and set up Landa for KOM points. As the summit came into view Landa attacked but it was Fraile who managed to beat him on the line with Landa second; the gap to the maglia rosa group was now at 1’58” as the group had been reduced to around 40 riders, with Dumoulin again left with just Ten Dam as a teammate.
As the break hit the climb of the category 2 Passo Gardena their lead was 2’13” with Deignan doing the pacesetting at the front to try and keep their advantage, having to chase down attacks from Dombrowski, Anacona and Plaza to boot.
Movistar were setting the pace high at the front of the peloton and it wasn’t long into the climb before a group of 15 GC riders were formed as everyone else started to feel the effects of the relentless climbing. All the main GC riders were there except Jungels (Quick-Step) who had dropped back and was 30″ behind the GC group.
Rosa and Team Sky’s pace had reduced the leading group to just 8 riders as Movistar’s pace was burning through teammates for Quintana, causing Bahrain-Merida to take over on the front of the GC group and keep the pace high.
With 53km to go Quinatan attacked the GC group from the back and was able to get a gap as he tried to make it up to Amador and Anacona who had dropped back from the break.
A lack of response prompted Nibali to attack and he was also able to go clear as Quintana linked up with Amador and the Colombian had already carved out 25″ on Dumoulin.
Nibali was able to get up to the Quintana group as they linked up with Siutsou and Anacona and tried to press home their advantage. Despite their advantage Dumoulin was able to reel them back in just before the summit and the GC group was back together with the gap to the break now just 52″.
Their advantage kept coming down as Orica continued to work on the front of the GC group for Adam Yates who, after dropping Jungels, had his sights on the white young riders jersey.
The category 3 climb of the Passo di Pineo took it’s toll on the break which was reduced to 5 riders as Landa and Van Garderen took up at the front as they along with the other three survivors Dombrowski, Hirt and Berhane were able to go over the top with 39″ with 28km to go, with Berhane cracking almost immediately as Landa increased the pace on the descent.
Landa and Van Garderen accelerated away from Dombrowski and Hirt with no response as they looked for stage victory and began the final climb of the day, the category 1 Pontives with a lead of 1′ on the peloton.
With 6.5km remaining Quintana attacked the GC group again as FDJ began the chase for Pinot as Quintana linked up with Anacona who had managed to get a small gap ahead of the main group.
With 5km to go Landa and Van Garderen were still working well together as FDJ brought Quintana back. A spree of attacks from Nibali, Quintana and Dumoulin were all unsuccessful until an attack from Zakarin took Pinot and Pozzovivo up the road. Zakarin’s effort fizzled out but Pinot and Pozzovivo were able to link up with Hirt who was still third on the road as they set off in pursuit of the leaders with 1km left.
They were unable to get to the two leaders though ad despite Landa looking strong in the last few hundred metres it was Van Garderen who was able to take the stage.
Pinot came in third to increase his GC time with Pozzovivo fourth and Zakarin sixth; whilst Dumoulin came in 9th, 1’06” behind the stage winner but not losing any time to his main rivals of Nibali and Quintana.
Giro d’Italia 2017 Stage 18: Moena>Ortisei (137km)
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Tejay Van Garderen (BMC – USA)||3:54:04″|
|2||Mikel Landa (Team Sky – Spa)||–|
|3||Thibaut Pinot (FDJ – Fra)||+8″|
|4||Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R – Ita)||–|
|5||Jan Hirt (CCC – Cze)||+11″|
|6||Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin – Rus)||+24″|
|7||Steven Kruisjwijk (LottoNL-Jumbo – Ned)||+34″|
|8||Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo – Ned)||–|
|9||Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb – Ned)||+1’06”|
|10||Nairo Quintana (Movistar – Col)||–
|Position||Name (Team – Nationality)||Time|
|1||Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb – Ned)||80:00:48″|
|2||Nairo Quintana (Movistar – Col)||+31″|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida – Ita)||+1’12″”|
|4||Thibaut Pinot (FDJ – Fra)||+1’36”|
|5||Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha – Alpecin – Rus)||+1’58”|
|6||Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R – Ita)||+2’07”|
|7||Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo – Ned)||+3’17”|
|8||Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo – Ned)||+5’48”|
|9||Adam Yates (Orica-Scott – GBr)||+7’06”|
|10||Bob Jungels (Quick-Step – Lux)||+7’24”