The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 18
1st – Max Schachmann
2nd – Ruben Plaza
3rd – Matteo Cattaneo
196km from Abbiategrasso to Prato Nevoso, Stage 17 was all about the 14km long finishing climb. Averaging 6.9%, it's certainly not easy, but it's not the most testing finish of the Giro.
A cat 4 climb to Novello comes with 56km to go, but that was the only other climb of the day, with flat roads coming for the majority of the day
S.P Yates still leads the GC and KOM classifications, but his lead for the Maglia Rosa was halved to Tom Dumoulin. M.A Lopez extended his lead to Carapaz in the Young Riders’ classification, while Viviani held the Points jersey.
A large break went away immediately in the stage and gained over 15 minutes advantage as the peloton was happy to let them fight it out for the stage win. The break contained 12 riders but no huge names, including Schachmann, Morkov, Plaza, Cattaneo, Van Emden, and Boy Van Poppel.
The Winning move
Fairly quickly on the final climb to Prato Nevoso, the lead group was whittled down to four, Schachmann, Cattaneo, Plaza and Pfingsten. Schachmann looked the strongest, but never gapped Cattaneo, while Plaza and Pfingsten dangled off the back. Plaza looked cooked several times but dug deep to be involved in the finishing sprint with Schachmann and Cattaneo. Schachmann was too strong, leading out with 300m to go and crossing the line first.
The GC Movers and Shakers
It didn’t look like we would see any GC action, but the pace ratcheted up in the final kilometres of a potentially giro-changing stage. Several GC contenders threw punches in the final 2 kilometres, but the big one was when Froome attacked, taking Pozzovivo and Dumoulin with him, and gapping Yates.
Yates lost only 28 seconds to Dumoulin and co, leaving him a 28-second gap over Tommy D still; but it was the first sign of a crack, and with two days of high mountains left, that crack could become something more. It sets up a great final few days of what’s been an exhilarating Giro so far.
Lopez faired the best of all the GC men, finishing 15 seconds ahead of the Dumoulin group, and 35 seconds ahead of white jersey rival Richard Carapaz, while he jumped up to 6th overall, ahead of Rohan Dennis.
25th- Rohan Dennis- @11:36 ( 6th on GC @5:09)
27th- Ben O'Connor- @ 11:43 (12th on GC @ 7:45)
90th- Adam Hansen
91st- Chris Hamilton
92nd- Zak Dempster
126th- Jack Haig
Stage 19 might be the queen stage, cresting the Cat 2 Colle del Lys, the Colle delle Finestre (where they’ll award the Cimi Coppi prize for the highest point of the race), the Cat 3 Sestriere, and then finish atop the iconic Jafferau.
The Finestre is brutal – 18.5km at 9.1%, with the second half coming on unpaved roads. The Jafferau is a real climb too, averaging 9% again for 7%. It’s the site of one of Merckx’s great wins, and likely another great battle this year.
Simon Yates is probably a little bit too good for everyone right now, so we’ll back him, but it wouldn’t be a great surprise to see Dominico Pozzovivo win up here.
See you back at the social club