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Giro d'Italia Stage 18: Michael Hepburn and Svein Tuft Solider On

Thu 29 May 2014

ORICA-GreenEDGE started the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia without Ivan Santaromita. The Italian National Road Champion fell victim to fever. He is the team’s fourth rider to succumb to illness following Mitch Docker, Pieter Weening and Cameron Meyer. Brett Lancaster, Michael Matthews and Luke Durbridge previously withdrew with broken bones.

With Santaromita out, Michael Hepburn and Svein Tuft soldiered on alone. The duo finished in the grupetto. Hepburn rolled across the line in 139th place, 31’58 behind the stage winner. Tuft followed three spots further back on the same time.

King of the Mountain Julián Arredondo took a solo win atop Rifugio Panarotta. The Colombian was part of the day’s early break and attacked the remnants of the escape group four kilometres from the finish. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) gave chase but was unable to bridge the gap before the line.

A bit behind those contesting the stage, the overall contenders did battle up the summit finish. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) cracked the top three as Cadel Evans (BMC) tumbled down the general classification to ninth place after falling off pace five kilometres from the finish. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) retains his 1’41 advantage over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) heading into the second individual time trial of the Italian Grand Tour. 

COMMENTS FROM SPORT DIRECTOR MATT WHITE:

They got the job done. Heppy and Svein survived in the grupetto. We’re another day closer to the finish.

There’s not a lot to say with our boys on these kinds of stages. There’s nothing much for us to do in the high mountains. We’ll look to survive the time cut tomorrow and a very challenging stage on Zoncolan on Saturday. Maybe we can try something in Trieste. There won’t be much happening with us until then.

 

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