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Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA / BMC Racing Team) - Mikel LANDA MEANA (Spain / Team Sky) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017 from Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

GIRO’17 St.18: Victory Van Garderen – Defending Dumoulin!

Giro Stage Report: Stage 18 could have been the end of Tom Dumoulin’s dream of a Giro win, but the tall Dutchman covered every move and dominated the GC men. At the front of the race Mikel Landa lost again as Tejay van Garderen swooped past him for his first Grand Tour stage win.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA / BMC Racing Team) - Mikel LANDA MEANA (Spain / Team Sky) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km -  photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

The day was looking to be a repeat of Wednesday, but in the end the Giro peloton was decimated by a severe course and a peloton that bayed for action. Mikel landa wanted to consolidate his blue king of the mountains jersey and get revenge for his stage 16 loss. Tejay van Garderen wanted the stage and so the pair went with all the moves off the front and then took their chance on the final climb. Behind; the GC men were playing games. Quintana and Nibali would not work with Dumoulin, but also couldn’t lose him. So no change on the overall, but Tom Dumoulin looks strong enough to be the 2017 Giro champion.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom DUMOULIN (Netherlands / Team Sunweb) - Nairo Alexander QUINTANA ROJAS (Columbia / Team Movistar) - Vincenzo NIBALI (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km -  photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Route
Another hard day for the Giro peloton. 137 kilometers of climbing and descending: Five categorized climbs, one category 3, two category 2 and two 1st cats including the summit finish in Ortisei/St. Ulrich with a total elevation for the day of 3,700 meters. With no flat roads between: Passo Pordoi, Passo Valparola, Passo Gardena, Passo Pinei and Pontives, which is the final climb, it will be a fast hard battle. The stage features a remarkable rise and drop of a little less than 4,000 meters in 137 kilometers, with average gradients of approx. 7% and topping out at 15%. Although the roads are always moderately wide and well surfaced.

The Pontives categorized summit (4km before the finish) has a slope change in the closing climb. Next on the route is a false-flat uphill drag, up to 1,500m before the finish, and a steep stretch up to 500m before the finish, with gradients topping out at 13%. The stage course then turns right and takes a short descent on setts-paved road, up to 150 meters from the finish, where the road levels out. The finish line sits on a 5.5 meter wide asphalt road.

The Start
Due to the shortness of the stage (137K), riders were again warming up on the trainers before the start and as the first climb of the day, Passo Pordoi, started as soon as the race left Moena, it was going to be a baptism of fire for any stiff legs. The Passo Pordoi is a Cat 1 climb, 11.9km long with an average gradient of 6.7% with one section of 9% near the start.

Passo Pordoi
The attacks started from the flag and eventually a group of four riders had a gap of 1 minute after 8 kilometers, they were Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Diego Rosa (Sky) and Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida). Behind them there was a big group of around 30 riders forming and the stage tactics were starting to look like the previous day. The big group was not allowed to escape and so there were more attacks from the bunch which eat into the leading four’s advantage. The early pace on the Pordoi also put the non-climbers in trouble and the ‘autobus’ had formed at the back.

KOM leader, Mikel Landa was very keen to be at the front for the mountain points and the Spaniard made a few attacks eventually succeeding to set up a chase group of around eight riders. The pace at the front saw off Boaro who couldn’t hold the pace. Back with the pink jersey group, Tom Dumoulin only has Laurens ten Dam from Sunweb for company and there was still over 100 kilometers to go.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie Scenery - Passo Gardena  pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km -  photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

100 Kilometers From Ortisei
At the summit of the Podoi: Rosa was first ahead of Rosskopf and Berhane with a lead of 48 seconds on the pink jersey group, with around 20 riders in-between. Ten Dam was doing the chase work for what was left of the bunch, but Katusha-Alpecin had no one in the moves and so had moved forward.

On the descent Rosa, Rosskopf and Berhane were joined by Plaza, Siutsou, Dombrowski, Villella, Landa and van Garderen, then by Landa, Deignan, Amador, Cataldo, Hirt, Pedersen, Rolland, Foliforov, Anacona, Fraile, Rolland and lastly Stuyven.

The break of the day: Diego Rosa, Mikel Landa and Philip Deignan (Sky), Tejay van Garderen and Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Natnael Berhane and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Pierre Rolland, Joe Dombrowski and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Ruben Plaza Molina (Orica-Scott), Dario Cataldo (Astana), Andrey Amador and Winner Anacona (Movistar), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Bahrain-Merida), Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo).

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom Dumoulin (NED - Team Sunweb) - Nairo Quintana (COL - Movistar) - Vincenzo Nibali (ITA - Bahrain - Merida) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km -  photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Passo Valparola
As the leaders hit the second climb of the day, the Passo Valparola, they had a 2 minute lead and the chaos of the first 40 kilometers had subsided.

The pace was still high in the peloton as Bahrain-Merida and Orica-Scott set a good speed on the 12,9 kilometer Cat 2 climb.

The work that Orica-Scott were doing for Yates was taking its toll on the bunch and riders were being dropped. At the front Rosskopf was in trouble as the Sky riders were winding up the speed for Landa to go for the KOM points, as was Fraile. At the summit; Fraile got the better of Landa, Landa was now on 132 points to Fraile’s 104 (LL Sanches in 2nd with 108, but not in the break). The Orica-Scott led chase was at 1:51.

In the valley, with 70 kilometers to go, Rosskopf regained the front group as the lead stabilized at 2 minutes. Orica were still powering the chase, but the pink jersey of Tom Dumoulin had moved forward as Ten Dam went back to the Sunweb car for bottles.

Passo Gardena
When the leaders hit the third climb of the day, Rosskopf and Foliforov were in trouble, then the group splits under the impetus of the sky riders. Movistar take over from Orica in the peloton with Nairo Quintana close to the front with Vincenzo Nibali, Ilnur Zakarin and Dumoulin on his wheel.

The lead group was now down to about nine riders as the pink jersey group looked to be about twenty (or less) strong with a lead of 1:50 as they neared the 50km to go point.

Quintana attacked on the twisty ascent of the Gardena, teammates Amador and Anacona drop back from the leaders to help the little Colombian as everyone looks at Dumoulin to chase behind. Nibali jumps after the Colombian train and catches them and has Siutsou for help. Over the top and Landa takes maximum KOM points and Dumoulin pulls the Quintana/Nibali break back… Scare No. 1 over.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Tom Dumoulin (NED - Team Sunweb) - Passo Gardena - Manuele BOARO (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida) - Vincenzo NIBALI (Italy / Team Bahrain - Merida) - Steven KRUIJSWIJK (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) - Bauke MOLLEMA (Netherlands / Team Trek Segafredo) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

The leaders: Mikel Landa, Diego Rosa, Joe Dombrowski, Davide Villella, Tejay van Garderen, Natnael Berhane and Jan Hirt only had 32 seconds on the GC group with 43 kilometers and two climbs still to go. On the long Descent from Gardena; Plaza, Yates and Quintana tried to split the chase, but as they hit the base of the Passo Pinei they were all together again.

Passo Pinei
30 kilometers remaining and the escape only had 27 seconds on the GC hopefuls, Rosa was on the front for Landa in the break and Plaza was working for Yates in the chase group. Quick-Step Floor’s Bob Jungels had been dropped from the group and Yates was riding into the white jersey as well as looking for a stage win and a better place on the overall.

Both Rosa and Plaza blow and the work is taken up by Landa at the front and Amador in the chase. This just leaves Landa, van Garderen, Hirt, Dombrowski and a struggeling Berhane off the front with a lead of 50 seconds with 26 kilometers to race. Landa took the KOM points again ahead of Dombrowski and Hirt. With a fast descent, Villella manages to rejoin the break before they hit the final climb of the day. Yates led the chase group ahead of Dumoulin and Quintana. Van Garderen and Landa distanced the others four from the break on the fast descent.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Mikel LANDA MEANA (Spain / Team Sky) - Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA / BMC Racing Team) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Pontives
Landa and Van Garderen had 14 seconds on Villella, Hirt, Dombrowski and Berhane and 52 seconds on the pink jersey group as they started to climb to the finish. Movistar had Amador and Anacona on the front of the chase for Quintana with Yates and Dumoulin tucked in behind; Nibali, Kruijswijk, Mollema and Zakarin were next in line, Pinot was at the back.

10K to go and the Spain/US tandem had 26 seconds on the four and 1 minute over the pink jersey and it was lookinglike they would be fighting it out for the stage win. Landa must still have the bitter taste of his second place to Nibali on stage 16 and wouldn’t want a repeat performance. Van Garderen could just do with a win.

As Hirt split the four, Anacona made a move from the chase group and was joined by Quintana, but Reichenbach (FDJ) for Pinot holds them at only a few meters advatage. At the front Van Garderen put the pressure on and dropps Landa. Quintana catches his breath and then goes by himself, but Reichenbach still holds him amd then pulls him back as Landa fights his way back to Van Garderen.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom Dumoulin (NED - Team Sunweb)†- Nairo Quintana (COL - Movistar) - Vincenzo Nibali (ITA - Bahrain - Merida)  pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Nibali is next to try, but Dumoulin has him marked and then the big Dutchman makes his own effort. Was it a bluff? Yes, he goes again and this time it’s for real. Quintana pulls him back. Pozzovivo and Pinot make their move and the others watch them go and leave the chase to Dumoulin and eventually Zakarin. No one wants to chase, Zakarin jumps away and Quintana wont work with Dumoulin and Nibali just watches the story unfold. Quintana and Nibali need to drop Dumoulin, but they are happy to watch him as Zakarin rides away.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tejay VAN GARDEREN (USA / BMC Racing Team) - Mikel LANDA MEANA (Spain / Team Sky) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km -  photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

The Finalé
Last K for Landa and Van Garderen, the Spainiard takes the front and winds it up, but Tejay passes him for the stage win. Next its Hirt, Pinot and Pozzovivo; Pinot takes 3rd with the little Italian on his wheel and an exhasted Hirt 5th. Zakarin is just behind them and the Dutch duo of Kruijswijk and Mollema are 10 seconds later. The pink jersey of Tom Dumoulin leads in Quintana and Nibali.

Van Garderen for the win and Dumoulin saves his overall lead with a fine piece of riding. Keep it PEZ or all your Giro news.

Ortisei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Mikel Landa (ESP - Team Sky)†- Tejay Van Garderen (USA - BMC) pictured during team stage 18 of the Giro D’Italia 2017  from  Moena to Ortisei, 137.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner Tejay Van Garderen (BMC): “It’s been a couple of years and grand tours I’ve done for the general classification but my body wasn’t responding earlier in the Giro. I did my best to keep the morale. This is my first grand tour victory. It’s an incredible feeling, especially in an area like this I’m so familiar with, having done many training camps here. I knew all the roads. I was not confident at all to beat Mikel Landa. He’s a very good sprinter.”

Race leader Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb): “Nibali and Quintana were only focusing on me and trying to make me lose instead of trying to win. In the end, they lost some significant time to the other competitors. Riding like this, I hope they’ll lose their podium spot. If this happens in Milan it would be very nice and I would be very happy. It would have been a dream scenario if Thibaut Pinot didn’t take a minute on me. In the last climb I was feeling strong. So I decided to show them that I’m also awake.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Result:
1. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC in 3:54:04
2. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:08
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:11
6. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:24
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:34
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 1:06
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
11. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
12. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 1:12
13. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
14. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 1:48
15. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
16. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar at 2:20
17. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
18. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:06
19. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 3:55
20. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar
21. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Bahrain-Merida at 4:28
22. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension Data
23. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 4:48
24. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 5:06
25. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 18:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb in 80:00:48
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:31
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:12
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:36
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:58
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:07
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 3:17
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 5:48
9. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 7:06
10. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 7:24
11. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:59
12. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 11:16
13. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 12:24
14. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 14:08
15. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 14:18
16. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 18:07
17. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ at 25:26
18. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 30:27
19. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 30:50
20. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 36:49
21. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 39:45
22. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 40:46
23. Stef Clement (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 42:42
24. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar at 47:05
25. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 51:27.

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