American rider Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing Team has won the 137km, 18th stage of the 100th Giro d’Italia. Mikel Landa Meana (Team Sky) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) finished second and third.
Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb again managed to hold the pink jersey, retaining his lead of 31 seconds over Nairo Quintana.
Struggling for form earlier in the three-week race, stage winner Tejay Van Garderen admitted his body wasn’t responding over the first two weeks of the Giro.
“I did my best to keep the morale,” said the 28yo.
“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.”
Dumoulin Lashes Out At Nibali & Quintana
Indefatigable and seemingly unbreakable, overall leader Tom Dumoulin suggested Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana were riding in collusion to unseat him. Going one step further, Dumoulin said he’d be happy if neither pre-race favourite made the overall podium.
“(They) were only focusing on me and trying to make me lose instead of trying to win,” he said after the stage.
“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.”
Indicating there was more to come, Vincenzo Nibali said the race for pink was far from over.
“Together with Nairo,” he said, “We tried to surprise the pink jersey. But Dumoulin responded well. Tomorrow there is another stage where we can attack and we will try again. “
Adam Yates Into White Jersey And Top Ten
Meanwhile lead Orcia-Scott rider Adam Yates has moved to the white ‘best young rider’s’ jersey after finishing 12th on the stage. The 24-year-old now sits ninth overall and holds an 18-second lead over Bob Jungels in the best young rider competition
“It wasn’t an easy day in the saddle but in the end I took the jersey,” said Yates, who won the white jersey at the 2016 Tour de France.
“For how long, we will see,” he added. “We have two mountain stages to go and the time trial, where Bob (Jungels) is obviously much better than me. I need to make some more time in the next two days so we will see what happens.”
Stage 18 Top 5
1 – Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) – 137km in 3h54’04”, average speed 35.118km/h
2 – Mikel Landa Meana (Team Sky) s.t.
3 – Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) at 8″
4 – Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
5 – Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) at 11″
General Classification After Stage 18
1 – Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)
2 – Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) at 31″
3 – Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida) at 1’12”
4 – Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) at 1”36″
5 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) at 1’58”