The theoretically hardest day of the Giro d’Italia couldn’t dislodge the battle for the maglia rosa from its slumber, but Jan Hirt of Intermarché-Wanty won a spicy stage battle from Thymen Arensman of DSM for the day’s spoils in Aprica. Hirt and Arensman, with Hugh Carthy of EF Education, reeled in Lennard Kämna of Bora on the final climb of the day, the Valico di Santa Cristina, and eventually it was Hirt first over the top as Carthy faded, with Arensman in hot pursuit all the way down to the finish line. The Czech rider held on for the biggest win of his career, with the young Dutch climber, at 22, serving notice that he might have a knack for stage racing.
Among the General Classification, Bahrain Victorious pushed a hard pace for much of the day to set up Mikel Landa and Pello Bilbao, and Landa made it to Aprica on the wheels of BORA’s Jai Hindley and INEOS’ Richard Carapaz, but Bilbao suffered a mishap on the final climb and tumbled over, rejoining the group with help from Wout Poels but eventually fading on the ascent and losing two minutes. Hindley won the sprint for third on the stage and narrowed his gap to Carapaz to a mere three seconds with the bonus allotted there. João Almeida of Quick Step dropped a few more seconds, now lying third at 0.44 and still more than nine minutes ahead of Arensman for the white jersey, followed by Landa at 0.59. Jumbo’s Koen Bouwman made the escape group and extended his KOM jersey lead, holding 167 points ahead of Giulio Ciccone of Trek at 99.
- HIRT Jan, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, 5:40:45
- ARENSMAN Thymen, Team DSM, at 0:07
- HINDLEY Jai, BORA - hansgrohe, at 1:24
- CARAPAZ Richard, INEOS Grenadiers, s.t.
- VALVERDE Alejandro, Movistar Team, s.t.
- LANDA Mikel, Bahrain - Victorious, s.t.
- KÄMNA Lennard, BORA - hansgrohe, at 1:38
- ALMEIDA João, UAE Team Emirates, s.t.
- NIBALI Vincenzo, Astana Qazaqstan Team, at 2:06
- CARTHY Hugh, EF Education-EasyPost, at 2:13
- CARAPAZ Richard, 68:49:06
- HINDLEY Jai, at 0:03
- ALMEIDA João, at 0:44
- LANDA Mikel, at 0:59
- NIBALI Vincenzo, at 3:40
- POZZOVIVO Domenico, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, at 3:48
- BILBAO Pello, at 3:51
- BUCHMANN Emanuel, BORA - hansgrohe, at 4:45
- HIRT Jan, at 7:42
- VALVERDE Alejandro, at 9:04
Salò - Aprica 202 km
“Nothing bad ever happens after a rest day, Nothing bad ever happens after a rest day, Nothing bad ever happens after a rest day.......” is the mantra riders are reciting right now to themselves. This course looks like a meat grinder for post-restday-legs though.
Normally the finish to Aprica means a big-ring, fairly tame, final ascent after the nasty Mortirolo. This time they do the relatively gentle version of Mortirolo but go to Aprica via the tough Santa Cristina climb, this combo looks like a much tougher overall finale. And to add to the misery they stuck this little beast in between Mortirolo and Santa Cristina.
Expected finish: 16:45 - 17:40 CEST
King of the pain-orgy : Mikel Landa
Mortirolo stages are his thing, right? Well, he’s free now, let’s see it.