With 15 stages of the 2018 Giro d’Italia now complete, we’re a little closer to knowing who will wear the maglia rosa into Rome. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has undoubtedly been the strongest climber of the race and at the time of writing he has three stage wins to his name. The big unknown is the stage 16 individual time trial.
Yates performed well in the stage 1 race against the clock in Jerusalem, but Tuesday’s stage 16 is a different beast. It’s nearly four times as long, for a start, and it’s also the sort of terrain that’s perfectly suited to defending champion (and world time trial champion) Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb).
Barring a major incident, Dumoulin will take a significant chunk of time out of Yates’ lead on stage 16, but the question is: how much? Yates currently leads Dumoulin by 2:11 — a healthy margin and one that could well see Yates in pink by day’s end.
Will he get to Rome wearing the same colour, securing Mitchelton-Scott’s first-ever Grand Tour victory? The odds seem to be in his favour, but stranger things have happened in the final week of the Giro. Just ask Steven Kruijswijk.
As we wait for the racing to resume after the third and final rest day, check out the following photos from the second “week” of the Giro, from stages 10 through 15.
Stage 10, the first day after the second rest day, saw the riders resume their journey north in the centre of Italy.
Esteban Chaves started the day in second overall but struggled after the rest day and was isolated early. He eventually lost 25 minutes, plunging to 39th overall.
Matej Mohoric led a late breakaway, attacking multiple times. By stage’s end however, it was just Mohoric and Nico Denz left at the front. Mohoric took line honours in a two-up sprint
Stage 11 started in beautiful Assisi and was somewhat of a tribute to the late, great Michele Scarponi. The riders went through the town of Filottrano where Scarponi lived until his death in April 2017.
Simon Yates was well looked after during the stage, as usual. Zdenek Stybar launched a late attack and was joined by Tim Wellens, however, the pair was caught as the road ramped up toward the finish line in Osimo.
Seeking more time on Tom Dumoulin, Yates went solo forcing Dumoulin to chase on his own. Yates took an impressive victory, his second of the Giro as Dumoulin battled to finish second, two seconds behind.
It was a tight start to stage 12 in Osimo.
Wellens went on the attack again on stage 12. He was caught as the riders readied for a bunch sprint on the world-famous race track at Imola. Sam Bennett launched his sprint a lot earlier than normal, not wanting to get caught out. He was able to hold on to win his second stage at this year’s Giro.
Stage 13 featured your typical Giro breakaway filled with riders from the second-tier, Pro Continental teams. Despite it being an almost dead-flat day, Chaves lost more time. In fact, he was last across the finish line, 15:24 behind the stage winner.
As expected it was a bunch sprint that decided stage 13 with Elia Viviani winning his third stage of the race.
Stage 14 began in San Vito al Tagliamento with the riders bound for the brutal Monte Zoncolan climb.
After suffering for nearly two weeks, Froome came good on Monte Zoncolan. He attacked 4.3km from the summit of the infamous ascent and was able to open a gap. Froome was chased by Yates with Froome just managing to keep his fellow Briton at bay. In the end, it was a stage win for Froome, with Yates just six seconds behind.
Tom Dumoulin rode valiantly, giving up just 31 seconds to Yates (plus a six-second time bonus). Many had expected the bigger rider to suffer more on the brutal slopes of the Zoncolan.
Stage 15 fell on Chris Froome’s 33rd birthday. He was given a cake at the start of the day, but he wasn’t able to replicate his impressive ride from the day before.
With 17km to go, on the penultimate climb, Yates attacked his main GC rivals. Dumoulin tried to get the other GC favourites to help chase Yates but to no avail. Instead, they attacked Dumoulin, forcing the defending champion to reel them back in. He was livid at the finish line.
At the end of the day though, it was stage win number three for Simon Yates. He’s the first rider to win three stages in the Maglia Rosa since 2003 when Gilberto Simoni achieved the same honour. Before that? Eddy Merckx.
With six stages remaining, Yates leads the 2018 Giro d’Italia by 2:11. Will he become the first British winner of the Corsa Rosa?
Imagery courtesy of Cor VosFollow BikeExchange: Email | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube