An absolutely disappointing queen stage. As simple as hard to say. For more than five hours we saw the lack of ambition that has prevailed in this Giro d’Italia. Playing fictional cycling, it would have been the same to see an 800-kilometer route with ascents to Stelvio, Zoncolan, Gavia and Mortirolo, because the result would have been the same: a total lack of courage on the part of the favourites. It also calls for reflection on the part of the organization, because the poor show was clearly conditioned by the time trial this Saturday that will decide the champion between Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic. The two signed a nice duel in Tre Cime di Lavaredo that only lasted one kilometer and in which the Slovenian, without the best legs, pulled with pride to scratch three more seconds from the British. In that fight could not be, for the second consecutive day, a João Almeida who is now separated by 59 seconds from the pink jersey. Top honors for Santiago Buitrago (23 years old), who achieved his second stage win in the Giro from the breakaway after last year in Lavaredo.
The queen stage, unfortunately, followed the trend of this Giro, where caution and fear hide courage. About fifteen runners formed the escape, which had the Spanish presence of Carlos Verona and José Joaquín Rojas. The man from Madrid, above all, had grown a tough nut to crack as Santiago Buitrago thinking about the possible stage victory, since the peloton had no intention of imposing a high pace from afar. teams like Jumbo and UAE, that they might have the ambition to torture the leader, They delegated to the classic control of Ineos. The one who put a bit of spice during the first half of the stage, even if it lasted a breath, was Ben Healy, who attacked several times to try to join the breakaway thinking of turning the mountains classification around. Thibaut Pinot, very attentive, he stifled all his offensives to safeguard the maglia azzurra.
With the advantage of the escapees at around 7 minutes, there was a small setback that, luckily, remained an anecdote. And it is that an AG2R car, which was trying to gain meters to assist the three riders who were leading the race, he hit the rear wheel of Verona’s bike and the Movistar rider ended up on the ground. A precipitation that could have been expensive and ended with the disqualification of the vehicle in question. There was little, or rather nothing, to tell after passing the first three ports of the route, including a mythical Giau Pass that the favorites went up from total compadreo. Ahead, Verona went on the attack and selected the leading group, leaving it down to seven cyclists.
Passing through the town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, Roglic changed bikes. A curious movement fully prepared, since the Slovenian got on another bike with a single plate, Thinking of gaining agility and lightness in the more than 20 km that I would have to climb to the finish line and, incidentally, testing what will probably be the mount that I will use tomorrow in the final time trial. Given the outcome of the stage, the choice was left in a simple detail. Ahead, the fireproof Derek Gee (the rider with the most kilometers in breakaways in this Giro) attacked with 7 km to go to break the break. The toast of the persecution was left to Buitrago and the Colombian, without looking back, gave a recital: he released everyone one by one, caught up with Gee, removed the stickers and won alone. Historic day for the coffee grower, who inscribed his name on a mythical summit of Tre Cime di Lavaredo in which his compatriot Lucho Herrera already shone back in 1989.
Behind, the dream battle remained a mere guerrilla. De Plus and Arensman controlled perfectly, setting the pace that suited his leader at all times. As they pulled clear, Almeida took the lead, but Roglic was quickly sent off for a corner with 1.5km to go. The Portuguese, with his usual courage, linked again, but could not with the Thomas’s arreón, his first attack in this entire Italian round. Neither did Roglic, who lost a few meters to the general surprise. When it seemed that everything was resolved in favor of the Welshman, the Slovenian pulled his classic rush to overcome a Thomas who was long on the last ramp. The Giro will be played tomorrow with its three candidates for the title in 59 seconds. Lussari will be the judge.
See complete classification
Pergine Valsugana – Caorle
Oderzo – Val di Zoldo
Longarone – Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Tarvisio – Mount Lussari
Rome – Rome