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by Mark Zalewski
May 26, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Van Garderen ends Grand Tour drought with Giro stage win; Van der Poel tastes success on the road with Belgium Tour stage win; Canola makes it a hat trick in Japan; Dumoulin critical of rivals on Giro stage, ‘I hope they lose the podium’; Van der Poel to race Albstadt World Cup Sunday; Dries De Bondt kicked out of Belgium Tour for riding on footpath; Planckaert has surgery for broken collarbone after Belgium Tour crash; Tour of Utah announces 2017 stages; Video: Van Garderen post-stage interview; Teaser: UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup; Video: ORICA-Scott pre-Giro, stage 18; Video: Duel on Hellfire Pass; Philippe Gilbert stops for mid-stage photoshoot at the Belgium Tour.
Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) finally ended his hunt for a Grand Tour stage victory, winning the dramatic 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia in the Dolomites out of the breakaway in a sprint with Mikel Landa (Sky). Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) finished third and moved closer to a podium spot while Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) solidified his hold on the Maglia Rosa, fending off attacks from rivals Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
“It’s been a rough couple of years in Grand Tours for me but I did my best to keep the morale high — it’s an incredible feeling,” Van Garderen said about the win. “I’ve done a lot of camps here so I knew every inch of the roads. Landa is a very fast sprinter and great climber — I tried to play it as best I could, but I didn’t know I was going to win until I crossed the line.”
With 25km to go and only one major climb remaining the main break was down to six big hitters: Mikel Landa and Diego Rosa (Sky), Joe Dombrowski and David Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data) and Van Garderen. Ruben Plaza (ORICA-Scott) had done a lot of pace-setting on the previous climb in the break, but paid the price and was dropped. Behind in the GC group Movistar put multiple riders on the front, trying to put the pressure on Dumoulin. Quintana eventually tried an attack on Dumoulin but the Dutch rider responded straight away. Making the stage even more dramatic the white jersey of Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) came under threat from Adam Yates (ORICA-Scott).
At 15km to go Van Garderen and Landa separated themselves from the leading group and descended together off the front, quickly building a gap of 15 seconds. The chase behind was led by Villella of Cannondale who still had Dombrowski with him in the group. Farther back Quintana attacked Dumoulin again at 6.5km to go on the middle of the Pontives climb. Not long after Van Garderen made his move on the front, going for the solo stage win. But in both cases the attacks were neutralised. Later it would be Dumoulin who would put the pressure on the group with 4km to go, signaling to all he had a tight grip on the Maglia Rosa.
Into the final few kilometres the GC group had fractured with riders like Pinot, Zakarin and Hirt riding away, as Dumoulin was only concerned with Quintana and Nibali. Up front Landa led the entire final kilometre, with the pair keeping the pace high as they watched the chasers closing. Van Garderen timed his move perfectly, coming around in the final 100 metres to take the win. Adam Yates rode an impressive stage to leapfrog from third, 2:25 behind Jungels in the white jersey, to now lead the youth classification by 28 seconds over the Quick-Step Floors rider.