Giro d'Italia 2018: Rest Day 2 Recap

Mitchelton-Scott take control in early mountains

The second phase of the Giro d'Italia started with a lengthy transfer from Israel to Sicily for three stages on the island off the toe of the Italian boot and then onto the mainland for a flat stage and two summit finales. Rohan Dennis (BMC) carried the maglia rosa to Sicily with the first true test of his GC capabilities to come on Mount Etna on stage 6.

Refreshed after a day off for the transfer from Israel, Lotto Fix All's Tim Wellens claimed victory on a punchy uphill finale in Caltagirone on stage 4. The race lead remained with Dennis, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost some time. Michael Woods (EF-Drapac) managed to steal a few seconds, as did Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in a move that would presage his sparkling performances in the mountains later in the week.

Froome was far more attentive in the second steep finale to stage 5 in Santa Ninfa, won by Enrico Battaglin (LottoNl-Jumbo), and while the overall contenders had to fight to stay together, there were no big changes in the overall aside from Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) losing time due to a crash.

The active volcano, Mount Etna, proved to be a suitable location for the GC action to heat up on stage 6, and Mitchelton-Scott seized control, with Esteban Chaves going in the early breakaway and staying clear until Yates jumped across to him in the final kilometers of the climb. The pair opened up 26 seconds on a group of chasers that was missing maglia rosa Dennis. The move put Yates into the overall race lead by 16 seconds ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), with Chaves third.

The peloton moved to the mainland for a short, flat, and beautifully scenic stage to Praia a Mare, where Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) finally turned around his record of near-misses and claimed his maiden Grand Tour victory over Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).

The respite in climbing was brief, and two 200+km days followed, with back-to-back summit finishes. The first, to Montevergine di Mercogliano, was a fast grind to the finish that did little to change the overall classification. It was a fine platform for the talents of Richard Carapaz (Movistar), who jetted away in the finale to claim the first Grand Tour stage victory by an Ecuadorean rider.

The highest point in the Apennines proved a far more complicated affair, with the climb to Gran Sasso d'Italia surpassing the snow line at a whopping 2135m. Although not as steep as some of the Giro d'Italia's later ascents, the sheer length, altitude and a strong head wind proved to be the undoing of a number of riders.

But not for Yates, who stole away from a quartet in the final hundred metres to take the stage victory while wearing the maglia rosa over a frustrated Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), with Chaves just behind. With Tom Dumoulin losing a dozen seconds and missing the time bonuses, Chaves moved into second at 32 seconds, with Dumoulin at 38 seconds in third.

Froome and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) were the big losers on the day, with the Team Sky rider giving up 1:07 and the Italian champion another seven seconds, both dropping outside the top 10 at more than two minutes.

Stage 4: Catania - Caltagirone, 202km 

Winner: Tim Wellens
Leader: Rohan Dennis

Tim Wellens wins stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia

Stage 5: Agrigento - Santa Ninfa (Valle del Belice), 153km 

Winner: Enrico Battaglin
Leader: Rohan Dennis

Enrico Battaglin (LottoNL-Jumbo) wins stage 5 at the Giro d'Italia

Stage 6: Caltanissetta - Etna, 169km 

Winner: Esteban Chaves
Leader: Simon Yates

Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott)

Stage 7: Pizzo - Praia a Mare, 159km

Winner: Sam Bennett
Leader: Simon Yates

Sam Bennett victorious in Praia a Mare

Stage 8: Praia a Mare - Montevergine di Mercogliano, 209km

Winner: Richard Carapaz
Leader: Simon Yates

Richard Carapaz (Movistar)

Stage 9: Pesco Sannita - Gran Sasso d'Italia (Campo Imperatore), 225km

Winner and Leader: Simon Yates

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia

General classification after stage 9
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott37:37:15 
2Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott0:00:32 
3Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:38 
4Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:00:45 
5Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida0:00:57 
6Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:01:20 
7George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo0:01:33 
8Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:02:05 
9Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
10Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:02:25 

 

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