Italian champion Filippo Zana put in a ride for the ages on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, winning from the breakaway in the tricolore to make it a memorable day for the Italian and Team Jayco AlUla.
Zana made it into a seven-rider break that openend up a sizeable gap on the road from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo, and as the ante upped onto the final climb into Palafavera, the 24-year-old found himself head-to-head with Thibaut Pinot in the battle for victory.
In a two-up sprint for the line after a tough day’s climbing, Zana played his cards to perfection to cross the finish line with his arms aloft, and celebrated a momentous first Grand Tour stage win – the team’s second success of the 2023 edition of the race.
Eddie Dunbar put in a superb ride too to come across the line inside the top 10, and move up to fourth on GC after holding his own on an aggressive stage as the team celebrated on multiple fronts.
“For me this Giro d’Italia has been a dream. I need to thank Team Jayco AlUla for allowing me to join a WorldTour Team and bringing me to where I am now, at this level. It’s the best team I could have joined to help me grow and bring me to this level and play my best cards. I need to thank all my team members, all the riders who have helped me, Marco Pinotti… This is incredible.
In the final sprint I tried to stay behind until the last moment as I thought that an occasion such as this is quite rare, and I wanted to give everything. It went well at the end, it was a 50/50 opportunity but in the end I had something extra. It’s an incredible feeling, to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia wearing the Italian national champion jersey!”
“I said to Brent last night ‘I think Filippo will win tomorrow!’. I’m super happy for him. What a day, to win in the national champion’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia. It’s incredible.
I’ve moved up to fourth on GC too. When Roglic attacked I just went at my own pace, and I knew Almeida was coming across. When they caught me I just sat on them as much as I could. There was a moment on the descent where we misjudged it a bit.
We’re taking it day by day, these victories don’t come around all that often and I think this victory is just a credit to everyone on the team today. Chapeau!”
Brent Copeland, General Manager:
“Filippo has been riding really well all Giro d’Italia, always improving his form day by day, especially this last week. He has worked hard for the team and for himself. He deserves this victory, he has worked hard for it. We didn’t know if we should make him stop to support Eddie at one stage, but with a five-minute gap we decided to let him go and try to win it.
The Sport Directors have done a great job, Eddie is also doing an amazing Giro including today’s stage. He is now in fourth position overall and it’s something we knew he could be capable of and we are also proud of him. It’s not over yet of course but we can be happy with how the Giro is going for Team Jayco AlUla.”
Giro d’Italia – Stage 18 result:
1. Filippo Zana (Team Jayco AlUla) 4:25:12
2. Thibaut Pinot s/t
3. Warren Barguil 0:50
Giro d’Italia – GC after Stage 18:
1. Geraint Thomas 76:25:51
2. Primoz Roglic 0:29
3. Joao Almeida 0:39
4. Eddie Dunbar (Team Jayco AlUla) 3:39
Photo: Sprint Cycling