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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,
Another double day of Grand Tour racing on Thursday saw climbers battling in both Italy and Spain.
Over at the Giro, a trip over the Stelvio led to a stage that will make the history books, with a nail-biting duel for the stage and a GC shakeup in the Dolomites.
At the Vuelta, a rainy day in northern Spain came down to a showdown on the final climb, where some of the biggest names in the race engaged in a fierce battle in the closing meters of the stage.
Read on for more …
Abby Mickey and Dane Cash
| Hindley wins stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, Kelderman moves into the maglia rosa
Jai Hindley took Team Sunweb’s first stage win of this year’s Giro d’Italia after an action-packed stage. Hindley narrowly beat Tao Geoghegan Hart in the two-up sprint to the finish, with the pair finishing 46 seconds in front of Pello Bilboa in third.
Hindley’s Sunweb teammate Wilco Kelderman rode into the pink jersey 1:25 behind the winner and fifth on the stage. After 15 days in pink João Almeida finally gave up the lead finishing almost five minutes down on Hindley.
Stage 18 ended up being the most decisive day of the Giro so far with some dramatic movement in the general classification.
Ten escapees, including Thomas de Gendt, stage 17 winner Ben O’Connor, and stage 1 and 5 winner Filippo Ganna reached the base of the Stelvio, the biggest climb of the day, with four minutes over the peloton, piloted by Sunweb. On the Stelvio, Sunweb filtered through their domestiques, setting a pace that rapidly decreased the advantage of the splintering breakaway. While some of the leaders on the road sat up to be spat out the back of the Sunweb-led peloton, O’Connor refused to give up and continued solo in front of the remaining break.
As the reduced peloton got farther up the penultimate climb, Almeida showed signs of cracking for the first time in 18 days. With the maglia rosa dangling off the back, Rohan Dennis took over the pacemaking for Geoghegan Hart, who sat fourth on the general classification, albeit almost three minutes behind Almeida.
More of the general classification contenders suffered as the Stelvio went up but the strongest on the climb were Geoghegan Hart, Dennis, and Hindley. The three caught up with O’Connor and quickly left him behind as the two Ineos riders put more time into Wilco Kelderman, who sat second on GC at the start of the day, 2:41 behind Almeida.
Down the descent and on to the final climb, the time gaps between groups of GC favorites continued to fluctuate. Geoghegan Hart took three bonus seconds, and Hindley only one, putting Geoghegan Hart third in the virtual general classification as the three leaders started the final 10 km climb to the finish. On the base of the slopes, Dennis finally cracked, after some exceptional teamwork for Geoghegan Hart, leaving only Geoghegan Hart and Hindley alone to battle it out for stage honors and also pink. With Kelderman in the virtual lead, Hindley had a valid excuse to sit behind Geoghegan Hart for the remainder of the stage.
Behind the two leaders, Bilbao and Jacob Fuglsang passed Wilco Kelderman, the Dutchman hovering around a minute and a half back from his teammate Hindley and Geoghegan Hart. Bilboa picked up steam on the final climb, dropping Fuglsang and clawing his way back into the general classification conversation.
Into the final 5 km, Geoghegan Hart led Hindley, Bilbao chased alone just under a minute behind the two, Fuglsang dangled behind, and Kelderman followed a minute and a half behind the leaders, with Almeida four and a half minutes down and well out of the general classification.
In the sprint to the finish Hindley was the stronger, nabbing some valuable bonus seconds over Geoghegan Hart. The general classification at the end of the stage featured much larger time gaps but a lot of the same names as it had at the start. With only three stages to go, one with significant climbs and one a time trial, the Giro looks to be far from over.
Top 10, stage 18
1 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb) 6:03:03
2 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (INEOS Grenadiers)
3 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:46
4 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 1:25
5 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 2:18
6 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 4:04
7 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 4:51
8 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo)
9 PERNSTEINER Hermann (Bahrain – McLaren)
10 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 4:55
Top 10, GC
1 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 77:46:56
2 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb) 0:12
3 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:15
4 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:19
5 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 2:16
6 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 3:59
7 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 5:40
8 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 5:47
9 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 6:46
10 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 7:28
| Dan Martin wins stage 3 of the Vuelta a España, Primoz Roglic remains in red
Roughly nine years after nabbing his first Vuelta a España stage win, Dan Martin nabbed his second in the hard-fought finale of Thursday’s stage 3.
After a strong pace in the pack up the challenging finishing climb shed numerous riders out the back, the stage came down to a battle between a select group of GC contenders, with Martin surging to the fore with around 150 meters left to climb. He held off Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz to take the victory at the line.
Roglic continues to lead the race with Martin still in second overall but now just five seconds behind Roglic, with Carapaz in third, 13 seconds back.
The 166.1-kilometer third stage from Lodosa to La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa took place under tricky conditions with intermittent rain and occasionally high winds over the course of the afternoon. With the peloton unwilling to give the day’s break much room, the battle for the stage win came down to the pack on the final climb after the early escapees were caught near the foot of the ascent to La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa.
The Ineos Grenadiers set the tempo early, quickly whittling down the pack. Esteban Chaves suffered an untimely mechanical before the midway point of the climb and was forced to chase down the lead group, ultimately losing 1:06 on the day.
Kenny Elissonde tried to get away inside the last 3km but he was reeled back in. After a handful of others tried attacking the elite lead group with getting any separation, things came down to an uphill sprint. Martin was well-positioned for the final few hundred meters and he kicked with 200 meters to go, holding off a hard-charging Roglic to get the win.
Top 10, stage 3
1 MARTIN Dan (Israel Start-Up Nation) 4:27:49
2 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma)
3 CARAPAZ Richard (INEOS Grenadiers)
4 POELS Wout (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:04
5 VLASOV Aleksandr (Astana Pro Team) 0:07
6 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 0:09
7 GROSSSCHARTNE Felix (BORA – hansgrohe) 0:12
8 CARTHY Hugh (EF Pro Cycling)
9 KUSS Sepp (Team Jumbo-Visma)
10 CHAMPOUSSIN Clément (AG2R La Mondiale) 0:24
Top 10, GC
1 ROGLIC Primoz (Team Jumbo-Visma) 12:37:24
2 MARTIN Dan (Israel Start-Up Nation) 0:05
3 CARAPAZ Richard (INEOS Grenadiers) 0:13
4 MAS Enric (Movistar Team) 0:32
5 CARTHY Hugh (EF Pro Cycling) 0:38
6 KUSS Sepp (Team Jumbo-Visma) 0:44
7 GROSSSCHARTNE Felix (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:17
8 SOLER Marc (Movistar Team) 1:55
9 BENNETT George (Team Jumbo-Visma) 1:57
10 VALVERDE Alejandro (Movistar Team) 2:08
| Thibaut Pinot abandons Vuelta due to back pain
After losing over 25 minutes in the opening two stages of the Vuelta Pinot opted not to start stage 3. The Groupama-FDJ rider had been struggling with a lingering back injury sustained in the opening stage of the Tour de France in August. In dropping out of the Vuelta, Pinot has now wrapped up his 2020 season and will return home to his goats.
Prior to the start of the Vuelta, hopes were high that the Frenchman could salvage his season with some results in Spain after a disappointing Tour de France. With Pinot out of the race, Groupama-FDJ will shift their focus to David Gaudu who is their highest placed rider, 3:20 down on Primoz Roglic.
| Vanmarcke will join Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021
Sep Vanmarcke has announced his move to Israel Start-Up Nation for the next three years after spending the last four seasons with the various iterations of Team EF Pro Cycling. He joins an impressive line up of riders at the growing World Tour team and will be crucial to their Classics campaign throughout his contract. Vanmarcke will continue to eye victories at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, two races he has finished on the podium of on multiple occasions, but has yet to win.
“I like the fact that ISN also has a lot of interest in the Classic races,” Vanmarcke said in the team’s press release announcing his signing. “I hope that together we can have great moments and win big races.”
| Maryland Cycling Classic announces 2021 date
Maryland Cycling Classic organizers have announced that the 2021 edition of the event will take place on September 5, the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend in the United States.
Next year’s race will be the first-ever for the event, whose inaugural edition was planned for this season before it was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. As was planned for 2020, the Maryland Cycling Classic will take place the weekend before the GPs Québec and Montréal in 2021, broadening the slate of one-day racing on offer for teams making the trip to North America. According to a press release, the Maryland Cycling Classic “will feature several events over the course of Labor Day Weekend.”
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Today’s featured image of Jai Hindley at the start of stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia comes from Cor Vos.