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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 26, 2017

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary | Our YouTube page
2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there. - George Santayana

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:


Giro d'Italia Stage 18 news

We'll start with the report from maglia rosa owner Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb:

Despite numerous attempts, no general classification contender could shake the Maglia Rosa from the shoulders of Tom Dumoulin (NED) after a demanding day in the Dolomites.

As a breakaway vanquished, it came down to the group of general classification contenders to fight it out on the last climb of the day. Although many tried, no attack was able to go clear and the day ended with Dumoulin leading the favourites over the line to take 9th on the stage with no time losses. Dumoulin holds a 31 second lead over his closest rival after stage 18.

After the stage Dumoulin said: "I felt really good today and I'm really happy that I didn't loose any time. When the attacks came I just kept my cool, rode my own climb things came back together. I also tried my luck on the approach to the finish but nothing stuck and in the end I rolled across the line with the other favourites. I'm glad to have survived another day and look forward to tomorrow."

Tom Dumoulin

Tom Dumoulin is still in pink.

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED) added: "Today was a really hard day, especially after another tough day yesterday. The guys fought really hard to put Tom in a good position and keep him there. There was a lot of pressure from the other teams but Tom stayed cool and calm and the final went well. We can look back and be proud of how we dealt with what was a tough stage."

Nairo Quintana's Movistar team had this to say:

The Movistar Team and Nairo Quintana gave as much offense as they could during Thursday's stage 18 in the Giro d'Italia, one of the most demanding courses in this year's race as no less than five rated climbs were covered on the short 137km journey from Moena to Ortisei in the Dolomites. The work by the whole telephone squad started almost right from the bang at the initial Passo Pordoi (Cat-1), as Andrey Amador and Winner Anacona went for an early, 19-man break that ended up victorious -Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) took the day's honours-. Meanwhile, the rest of the Movistar Team took care of their leader before abruptly picking up the pace at the third ascent, the Passo Gardena (Cat-2).

53km from the line, just over three before the summit, Quintana launched his first attack and soon caught up with Amador and Anacona, who were riding under two minutes ahead at the foot of the climb. Their collective effort couldn't, unfortunately, leave behind race leader Tom Dumoulin (SUN), who accelerated as the KOM banner approached and brought the other race contenders with him. At that point, a prodigious labout from both Winner and Andrey started to keep the tempo steady and avoid any attacks before the last climb, Pontives (Cat-1).

Quintana accelerated again with 7km remaining; however, a strong push from Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ), the top domestique for Thibaut Pinot, made another junction possible between Nairo and the GC group, and even served as launchpad for Pinot's late attack together with Zakarin (KAT) and Pozzovivo (ALM). Nairo, Nibali and Dumoulin, who didn't go past them, conceded 58 seconds at the finish. The GC thus stays the same on its first three places -Dumoulin leads from Quintana (+31") and Nibali (1'12")-, yet gets significantly closer on places four, five and six, with Pinot, Zakarin and Pozzovivo at 1'36", 1'58" and 2'07" respectively.

Tom Dumoulin

Dumoulin leads Quintana and Nibali to the finish.

The Giro will head on Friday towards its final mountain-top finish in Piancavallo (Cat-1; 15.5km at 7.3% average), closing a 191km stage nineteen through the Friuli region. It will be - together with the Monte Grappa and Foza ascents on Saturday - the last chance for Quintana and his team-mates to continue seeking for the Maglia Rosa.

REACTION:

Nairo Quintana: “We had to attack, and the whole team has worked as expected to make my accelerations possible. It was a fast, hard stage, and my team-mates did a great job to liven it up. We tried one way and another, moving off the front several times and playing our cards, but it was not possible to put time on the leader. Dumoulin defended himself well and also found some circumstantial rivals at times, riders who were working for their own interest but happened to favour the leader's chances.

"We both finished again with the same time, but one can hope that these hard stages might have had an effect on his legs. I did also try to put some responsibility on his shoulders after the final climb so he chased down the move by Pozzovivo and Pinot - after all, he's the race leader, even if those attacks were also gaining time on us. As I said before, Dumoulin has proved to be in really great condition.

"The physical numbers are looking good for me, but to be honest, everyone here is on top of their game, it's pretty much equal between all of us. There are two days still remaining and we must continue to try, long before the finish if possible, even though Friday's finish will be quite different. There's no other thing we can do but putting our pieces together and conitinue to attack."

And here's the report from KOM Mikel Landa's Team Sky:

Mikel Landa again finished a close second on stage 18 at the Giro d’Italia, extending his lead in the blue jersey in the Dolomites. An enthralling day of racing saw Team Sky commit men up the road in a bid to claim a stage victory that has proved elusive thus far.

After help from Diego Rosa and Philip Deignan, Landa pushed onwards onto the fifth of the day’s categorised climbs with Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) in tow. With attacks from behind closing in, Landa led out the two-up sprint into Ortisei/St. Ulrich but was overhauled by the American heading through the final corner.

Tejay van Garderen

Mikel Landa (in blue) was second to van Garderen.

Despite his disappointment at another near-miss, Landa’s day out was a productive one in the mountain classification, with the Basque rider taking big points to extend his lead to 81.

After some hard racing from the gun, Landa was second over the Passo Valparola and first over the Passo Gardena, Passo di Pinei and Pontives summits.

After the stage Landa admitted to TeamSky.com: "I’m very disappointed again – I wanted to win for the team. I’m really proud of them – they did a really nice job again. We have two more days and we will keep trying. The Maglia Azzurra has been a new motivation for me and today we did good work to help keep it until Milan."

The battle for the pink jersey produced an entertaining race behind, with Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) all attacking, but eventually cancelling each other out.

LottoNL-Jumbo's Tour des Fjords stage 2 report:

Timo Roosen won the second stage of the Tour of Fjords today in Norheimsund with a solo attack. The rider of Team LottoNL-Jumbo flew clear 30 kilometres to race and held only a slim two seconds on the sprinting group behind. "I rode full-gas and it hurts, but it was all worth it," said Roosen. "You know this is a race where you get a chance, and you hope for a good result and to race for the victory."

With 50 kilometres to go, the early breakaway was caught and the final started on a long climb. On top of that, a group of 30 men remained with Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Lars Boom, Paul Martens and Roosen. Roosen attacked on the descent. “The speed of the group was high enough so I thought this was the time to try it and make the difference. I entered the descent and fought for every second. You know it can be very close and it also turned out to be close on the finish."

Timo Roosen

Timo Roosen wins the second stage.

Several teams pursued and the group came closer, but he remained free to for his first professional win after three years with Team LottoNL-Jumbo. "It was a big relief. Of course you are dreaming about a victory and in some races, you feel very strong and it does not work out. Yesterday, a Belgian won his first professional victory. I saw how nice it was and thought immediately, ‘I want that too.’ The fact that it happens a day later is beautiful."

Roosen usually pulls the sprint train for Dylan Groenewegen. "It is beautiful that I now get the chance and win. You are always happy with a victory in the team and therefore you are training hard. If you are rewarded in this way, that is of course absolutely beautiful.”

"This was really beautiful," said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman, after the 11th team victory of the season. "It was incredibly exciting, it was touch and go if he would stay clear. The 18 riders behind Timo tried to close the gap. Lars Boom was sitting there and he did everything he could to disrupt the chase and encouraged Timo, telling him to give it everything.

"Timo works for others and it is great that he is now taking his first win. We knew that he matured and that he could ride a good prologue, but not that he could ride 30 kilometres solo, he smelled the victory and we yelled for him as much as possible."

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