Italian champion Zana wins mountain stage after a long flight, Roglic only cracks Almeida | Sport


In the 18th stage of the Giro, Italian champion Filippo Zana perfectly completed an early breakaway. He made it after a tough Dolomites ride in a sprint with Thibaut Pinot. Primoz Roglic couldn’t get rid of pink jersey Geraint Thomas, while Almeida lost 21 seconds today.

In the first part of the Dolomites triptych, the peloton was served 161.1 kilometers with four categorized climbs. A new battle between the classification men presented itself, with the key question: could Primoz Roglic straighten his back?

An early breakaway of seven, with Thibaut Pinot as the most important name, colored the lion’s share of the stage. In the meantime, Ineos Grenadiers, led by Laurens De Plus, was forcing the first ascent of the day. The group of favorites was suddenly only twenty strong.

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Ineos kept accelerating and kept the early flight within reach for a long time. At 80 kilometers from the finish, the British formation changed their guns: Thomas and co, after the murderous start of the race, pulled up the handbrake and let the attackers run for five minutes. The escapees’ chances increased.

In the front, Pinot had a plan in store: a stage win and taking the mountain jersey from Ben Healy, who missed the flight. On the first three climbs, the French mountain goat collected a lot of points and knocked Healy off the (mountain) throne. Mission half accomplished.

Pinot also had good papers for the stage victory, but he had to deal with Italian champion Filippo Zana in the final. That turned out to be not so easy, because a sprint had to decide on the victory. And Zana was just faster in that. Again just not for Pinot, who was allowed to pick up the mountain jersey as a consolation prize.


A few minutes later, the Jumbo-Visma duo Kuss-Roglic dropped a bomb. The American pushed hard, his Slovenian leader, pink jersey Geraint Thomas and another stunning Dunbar followed. João Almeida then had a hard time, but never completely disappeared from the picture.

Roglic tried to shake off Thomas, but the Welshman didn’t budge. Tomorrow he will start the decisive two days with a half minute bonus on Roglic. Will he win his second Grand Tour five years after his overall victory in the Tour?

Thomas: “I have to stay consistent”

“It was a decent day,” said year-old Geraint Thomas, still wearing pink. “I was not released by Roglic. Fine. I felt good and in control. Roglic went hard, slow, hard, slow. I couldn’t judge him properly. But he turned out to be very strong. Almeida’s loss of time? That is beautiful. But Roglic already had a bad day in this Giro, Almeida today. I have to stay consistent. It’s day by day, climb by climb.”

Michel Wuyts: “Thomas has the advantage, but it will remain exciting until the end”

“Everything is still possible”, is the conclusion of our analyst Michel Wuyts after today’s mountain stage. “The three will remain evenly matched – the seconds game will continue tomorrow and possibly also in the final time trial. Excitement to the end.”

Primoz Roglic showed resilience after his lesser day yesterday. “He played a bit of a comedian today. Occasionally he let himself sag, but that must have all been a bit of a set-up. The course suited him perfectly, but he couldn’t get Thomas off.”

The Welshman therefore has an advantage, Wuyts believes. “He rules mentally. He must have had a fantastic 37th birthday. Thomas kept control and went very smoothly with Kuss and Roglic. I don’t see why it would be any different tomorrow.”

Of the ‘big three’, only João Almeida showed signs of weakness today. “But he solved it ‘the Almeida way’. It never breaks completely.”

LOOK. The analysis of Michel Wuyts

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Tags: Italian champion Zana wins mountain stage long flight Roglic cracks Almeida Sport


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