João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) won the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia with an attack on the finishing climb of Monte Bondone as the long-stalemated fight for the general classification finally got unstuck. Almeida made his move with six km to go and briefly looked like he’d be recaught, but latched on to a counter from Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and the duo gradually pulled clear as Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič couldn’t match the pace. Thomas regained the race lead he gave up on stage 13 as overnight leader Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) lost more than four minutes.
- The early action was dominated by a large (17-rider) breakaway, but the most difficult stage of this year’s Giro was destined to be a day for the overall classification. The damage was largely by attrition as Jumbo set the pace over the penultimate climb and the early Bondone slopes. When UAE took over, the group steadily whittled to fewer than a dozen, and Almeida’s attack came only when the group was down to just five riders: himself, Thomas, Roglič and teammate Sepp Kuss, and Jayco-AlUla’s Eddie Dunbar.
- Roglič lost 25 seconds at the finish, and it might’ve been slightly worse had Kuss not been there to pace him. Almeida leap-frogged him in the overall standings, but the top three are still separated by less than 30 seconds.
- If Israel-Premier Tech’s Derek Gee is the breakaway revelation of the Giro, Dunbar is its fresh GC story. The 26-year-old Irishman is in his fifth year on the WorldTour, but this is only his second Grand Tour after the 2019 Giro. Third place may be too far a fight but he’s very much capable of overhauling Bahrain Victorious’ Damiano Caruso for fourth. “All I ever wanted was to have an opportunity in a race like this,” he said in brief comments at the finish to Eurosport/GCN. He’s got it now, and he’s taking it for all it’s worth.
- João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates)
- Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) @ same time
- Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) @ :25
- Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) @ same time
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) @ 1:03
- Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)
- João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) @ :18
- Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) @ :29
- Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) @ 2:50
- Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) @ 3:03
Landscape appreciation moment
- Without much real action, the GC is very much settling into a three-rider battle between Thomas, Almeida, and Roglič. Caruso’s losses today likely put the race out of reach for him, and Dunbar would have to pull off something miraculous to even get on the podium. The relative quiet of the overall classification has been a topic of grumbling, and two factors likely play roles:
- The DNFs of Remco Evenepoel and Tao Geoghegan Hart robbed the race of two contenders whose presence might have added a lot of spice to the race. There’s no denying it; riders make the race and we’re missing two of the best.
- The stage 20 time trial is ridiculously hard, and riders may be simply holding something in reserve and hoping to take time in a non-tactical showdown of aerobic power and pacing, knowing the GC is over at the summit. In retrospect, maybe that time trial shouldn’t have been the penultimate stage.
- Of the top three, Roglič undeniably looks weakest. For all the talk of whether his team – half of which had to be replaced before the start due to illness and injury – Jumbo itself has performed just fine. Rohan Dennis was solid today, and Kuss was the last teammate left of any of the three contenders’ teams. It’s Roglič who has been spotty, with strong performances on stages 8 and 9 bookended by troubling losses on stage 1 and today. He’ll be hoping he rebounds yet again for stages 18-20.
- On the topic of team strength, losses have hit Ineos as well, as Pavel Sivakov DNF’d today from injuries suffered in a week two crash. Thymen Arensman and Laurens De Plus have provided capable support for Thomas, but so far, the winner of the team strength/depth battle appears to be UAE, with Davide Formolo, Jay Vine, and stage 15 winner Brandon McNulty all putting in work on the final climb. We’ll see if they race more aggressively in stages 18 and 19.
- Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) seems to have lost some snap from his form, but the stage 8 winner has a new target: the KoM competition. He soaked up 40 points today and is now in the lead by 20 over Davide Bais of Eolo-Kometa. Bais’ brother, Mattia, was in the move today and it’s likely we’ll see Davide back in the break on stage 18 and/or 19. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has dropped to third in that classification, but we’ll see if the emergence of an EF rider in the lead sparks a response given his Twitter beef with EF manager Jonathan Vaughters.
- Speaking of other jersey battles, points competition leader Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Victorious) was alert and ready when Gee tried to go for intermediate sprint points at Rovereto. Gee has an outside shot of overhauling Milan, but he has work to do: he’s 58 points behind, and Milan should add to his cushion in the sprint-friendly 17th stage tomorrow.
We didn’t talk about Bruno
The last week of the Giro is always, by tradition, brutal, but Wednesday’s stage 17 is one for the fast men again: 197 km, pretty much all (literally) downhill. Several top sprinters are out of the race, including stage winners Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Trek-Segafredo’s Mads Pedersen. Expect a breakaway. Expect it to be caught, and expect Milan to vie with Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) and soon-to-be-retired Mark Cavendish (Astana) among others.
Stat of the day:
Gee may not get the points jersey but at this point he’s a lock for the final combativity award. He’s been in the break on five of 16 stages so far, spending 779 km out front, or 29 percent of the total kilometers ridden so far. Will he go on the attack again? Does a bear …
Survivor, Soudal edition, continues with just two riders left on the island, er, team bus:
At least they’re not drafting this time?
Giro can’t go a day without at least some rain. Blame Rudy.
Meanwhile, for all that talk of swapping the Giro and Vuelta calendar spots for better weather for both…
- Is the WorldTour broken? Andy McGrath has Deep Thoughts on how to fix it.
- ICYMI: it’s Mark Cavendish’s last season, and we may never see his like again.
- What does the rest of week three of the Giro look like? Here’s your rundown.
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