An almost bunch sprint on stage 18 of Giro d’ItaliaThu 30 May 2019
It was a dramatic finish to stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia as the bunch sprinted for the victory only to be left agonisingly short as Damiano Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini) held on from the breakaway.
A game of cat and mouse, first from the peloton and then from the three-man breakaway, made for a hectic finale but after initial involvement in an attempt to make the breakaway earlier in the stage, Mitchelton-SCOTT settled in to protect leader Simon Yates ahead of two hard mountain stages to come.
After a fight for the first 60km, including attempts from Mitchelton-SCOTT’s Jack Bauer, finally a trio of riders where allowed by the peloton to form the breakaway of the day.
They rode out to an advantage of six minutes before the sprint teams got themselves together and started to decrease their advantage.
Despite the efforts of multiple teams, it looked touch and go heading into the final 30km, and with 10km remaining the gap hovered at one minute.
As the leaders began to play a dangerous gae of cat abnd mouse, the peloton stormed closer, with only Cima able to withhold Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Honsgrohe) who sprinted to second place and into the Ciclamino jersey.
“Our main priority was to get through the a stage from A to B and look after Simon, but personally, I also wanted to have a crack at the stage, I thought the break would go to the line so that was my idea.
“In the end, it was quite a technical final and a fast finale because of the gap that the break still had, but we managed to get through largely unscathed.”
Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“Today was going to go one of two ways, the two key sprint teams were going to shut things down at the start, or not. One was interested, the other wasn’t, so it took more than 50km for the break to go.
“There was attack upon attack and we gave the boys the freedom to move if there was a group big enough with a chance to win. Jack was in a big group, but the sprint teams nullified it and that was the last one before the successful attempt.
“The only thing that was a little out of the ordinary today was that we had quite a big temperature change mid-race, but we got jackets on the boys beforehand and then it warmed back up.
“It wasn’t the most relaxed of finals. Obviously when you come into built up areas it’s never cruisy especially due to the frantic chase, but the boys did a super job and got Simon through nice and relaxed and fresh for the big last block."
Giro d’Italia – Stage 18 Results:
1. Damiano Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini) 4:56:04
2. Pascal Ackermann (BORA-Hansgrohe) ST
3. Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) ST
26. Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 18:
1. Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 79:44:22
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:54
3. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma) +2:16
8. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +7:13
Photos courtesy of Kristof Ramon.