On a seemingly innocuous eleventh stage of the Giro d'Italia, things got a little crazy at the end, as Etixx-Quick Step's Bob Jungels, clad in the maglia rosa, forged an escape with Andrey Amador of Movistar, dispatching the favorites on the hills outside Asolo for a daring lunge at the line. They were joined by Diego Ulissi of Lampre in the final 4 kilometers, and the three made it stick, with Ulissi taking the sprint for the stage and a very powerful Jungels gaining 13 seconds plus a time bonus on his rivals. Amador too profited from the move, solidifying his hold on second place overall and raising the threat level around his campaign.
The stage was a long march of 227 largely flat kilometers across the Po Valley in the direction of Venice, and proceeded according to the script with breakaways and chases (minus Tom Dumoulin, the former race leader, who retired due to saddle sores), until the closing hour. There, as the race reached the Forcello Mostaccin with 20km remaining, the favorites not only absorbed the break but got away themselves, ignited by an attack from LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruijswijk, currently in fourth place overall. Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R, caught up in an earlier crash, was among the favorites who missed out, and briefly Amador was not seen, and eventually as the group descended Vincenzo Nibali of Astana surged ahead with only Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Esteban Chaves of Orica GreenEdge for company. That trio hit the valley floor and gained a handful of seconds over the rest of their rivals.
But it didn't last, and as the race approached Asolo it was the top two overall on GC who got away, Jungels in pink and Amador his closest companion, a rare sight at this stage of the race. They powered home their advantage, joined by Ulissi just before the final small climb, and keen to stay away. The chasing group was hindered a bit by several Movistar riders, lacking the incentive to corral their teammate, and only Bardiani seemed truly intent on working. The break would succeed, and Jungels would strengthen his hand in the process, something he made clear he sought by practically leading out Ulissi for the victory. In the end it may be much ado about nothing, but it raises questions about who is the strongest rider at this Giro d'Italia, who is the leader of Movistar, and how can this race be more fun? That last one may be a tough one to answer.
- Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – Merida 04:56:32
- Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
- Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step
- Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:13
- Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF
- Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
- Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre – Merida
- Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
- Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
- Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
- Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step 45:16:20
- Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 00:00:24
- Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:01:07
- Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
- Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:01:09
- Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 00:02:01
- Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 00:02:25
- Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 00:02:43
- Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step 00:02:45
- Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre – Merida 00:02:47