Happy Colombian Ascension Day Julian Arredondo

LUK BENIES/AFP/Getty Images

GC riders took it easy with the hostilities today as a strong breakaway fought for the stagewin on the big Dolomite stage of the Giro. Fittingly it was to be a fight between some tiny Colombian climbers in the end, with Trek's Julian Arredondo taking the honors ahead of Fabio Duarte and the odd man out, Irishman Philip Deignan.

With a strong breakaway without any major GC threats established on the first climb of the day the stage was set for a calm day until the final climb. Maybe the big names already had one eye on tomorrows scary mountain timetrial as no one really seemed to have any interest in putting their teams to work to keep the stagewin in play. Instead the breakaway that also included strong names like Pellizotti, De Gendt, Basso, Zardini and Cataldo came into the last 17 km uphill with about a seven minute lead, clearly enough for them to fight it out amongst themselves.

And fight they did. De Gendt was the first to attack already at the base of the climb and that opened the doors for a cavalcade of attacks, counters and fluctuating fortunes. Pretty much everyone in the break tried their luck at some point and the momentum seemed to swing back and forth between riders in a thoroughly entertaining stage finale. In the the end it was the two small Colombians Arredondo and Duarte that got clear of the rest and the Trek rider Arredondo confirmed his role as the King of Mountains-jersey by soloing to his first Grand Tour stagewin in what is also his first Grand Tour.

The fight among the bigs was suspended until the final kilometers where Pierre Rolland especially was the one trying to be aggressive and take time on his rivals. His efforts were nullified in the end by the leaders but the upped pace did cause a few victims. Ryder Hesjedal, Kiserlovski and Kelderman all suffered at the back and lost some valuable seconds. Worst off was Cadel Evans though who had another rough day, losing almost 2 minutes and dropping to 9th in the standings. It appears age has finally caught up with the ever fighting Australian.

Tomorrow all the minor timegaps may be for nought as the riders tackle a long steep mountain timetrial that is sure to shake the GC once  again.

TOP 10 Stage 18:

  1. Julian Arredondo, Trek
  2. Fabio Duarte, Colombia +0:17
  3. Philip Deignan, Sky +0:37
  4. Franco Pellizotti, Androni +1:20
  5. Edoardo Zardini, Bardiani +1:24
  6. Thomas De Gendt, OPQS +1:38
  7. Ivan Basso, Cannondale +1:43
  8. Dario Cataldo, Sky +1:59
  9. Fabio Aru, Astana +2:43
  10. Nairo Quintana, Movistar +2:46

General Classification

  1. Quintana
  2. Uran +1:41
  3. Rolland +3:29
  4. Aru +3:31
  5. Majka +3:31
  6. Pozzovivo +3:52
  7. Hesjedal +4:32
  8. Kelderman +4:37
  9. Evans +4:59
  10. Kiserlovski +8:33

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