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Welcome to live coverage of stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia from Belluno to Rif. Panarotta
We have mountains again today! A category two climb, plus two category one climbs, including a mountaintop finish at Rif. Panarotta (Valsugana).
We will be losing at least one more rider today, Ivan Santaromita will not be at the start for Orica-GreenEdge. Or as the team tweeted, "The three amigos become los dos compadres as â�ª@ivansantino falls victim to illness."
www.cyclingnews.com/news/ulissi-abondons-the-giro-ditalia-with-sore-throat-and-fever Double stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) is also not at the start today. A bacterial infection, sore throat and fever have finally done him in.
Sorry, that link didn't work out quite as intended....
The stage was to have started at 12:10. At least the weather is co-operating today, there is sunshine!
Or not? We saw photos earlier with sun, now the race ticker is telling us rain.....
A number of teams and riders were not happy with the ending of the 16th stage, saying that Quintana should not have attacked or continued on, or should be penalised. We think we can see some hard attacks today as some riders want to take back the time they lost.
And, in case you have forgotten, here are our top ten in GC:1Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team73:05:31 2Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team0:01:41 3Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:03:21 4Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar0:03:26 5Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo0:03:28 6Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:03:34 7Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:49 8Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:04:06 9Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp0:04:16 10Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing0:08:02
Speaking of the controversy surrounding Stage 16, the AIGCP had requested that the stage results be annulled. That request has been denied.
Ten km into the day and no break group yet....
Stefano Pirazzi of Bardini was the happy winner yesterday, taking his first Giro stage win.
And everyone is still all together!
We aren't seeing much cycling action here at the moment, so why don't you take a look at our YouTube channel? And while you are at it, you can subscribe!
We understand that a few riders have indeed tried to get away already, but the pace is very high and no one has been successful.
We are at km 27 now and the road is staring to go up. That is apparently the cue for Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) to try and get away.
So much for the sunshine we thought we saw earlier. Now we have some rain drops -- hardly anything new at this Giro! But at least it is a comfortable 21°C.
As the riders make their way up San Pellegrino the bunch begins to split up. The maximum gradient on this climb is 15 %, which comes around 5km from the top.
Elia Viviani looks far from happy as he is dropped from the group along with Iljo Keisse from Omega Pharma QuickStep
Attacks are coming off the front, Robert Kiserlovski has gone
Kiserlovski is trying to bridge across to a group of riders who have gone ahead of the maglia rosa group, we will bring you names as we have them.
However, it is Tim Wellens who has forged on and is the sole leader at the moment. He's attacked out of the small group at the front. Wellens was in the break yesterday and finished second to Stefano Pirazzi.
Wellens has been caught by about five riders, but they only have a small gap over the advancing peloton.
Mountains classification leader Julian Arredondo has now come out of the peloton, followed by Pelizotti and Cataldo.
Arredondo is looking to secure his place at the top of that competition. However they're still a god 8km from the top.
The leading trio are now joined by Edoardo Zardini of Bardiani
Appologies, the Androni rider is actually Emanuele Sella
All of there riders have been in the break at some point, but none have yet come out with a victory. Arredondo came painfully close on stage 8, but was denied on the final climb.
Ok we have five men in the lead. They are Jualian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing), Dario Cataldo (Team Sky), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani CSF), Emanuele Sella and Franco Pelitzotti (Both Androni)
The five leaders now have an advantage of 1:05 on the peloton and have been joined by a chasing group of four riders.
The new additions to the breakaway group are Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol), Phil Deignan (Team Sky), Thomas de Gendt (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo)
More riders making the junction over to this leading group Martin Keijzer (Belkin) and Fabio Duarte (Colombia) are now onto the back of the group. That makes it 11 now.
Movistar are managing things on the front of the peloton at the moment. They look like they're taking it fairly easy, the peloton is not too strung out. However, we have lost most of the sprinters who will be riding the grupetto all the way home today.
Michael Rogers back in the cars. He doesn't look happy that the camera bike is around and he waves it on.
Alberto Losada (Katusha) has set off in chase of this leading group. The gap to the 11 men out front is now 1:50.
Ivan Basso and Matteo Rabottini have attacked from the peloton. Their advancement is briefly paused to get some rain jackets from the car as the rain has begun to fall.
Basso hasn't had a great Giro d'Italia. He currently sits in 13th place, but he's 22:28 behind Quintana.
The lead group have hit the hardest part of this climb and Sella gives a big dig on the front. How long before Arredondo makes his move?
And there he goes. Around 3km from the top Arredondo sets out alone for the mountain classification points.
Luca Paolini has to pull over and stop to sort out a problems with possibly his shoe. It's on a pretty steep section, heading around a corner but he manages to get going before the entire peloton pass him by.
Arredondo has now been joined by Deignan at the front. Deignan is no threat to Arredondo's mountains jersey an the Colombian will be happy to have some company.
Arredondo currently leads Robinson Chalapud by 26 points in the classification, so these points are vital for him. Here is how the standings looked this morning.
1 Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing 95 pts
2 Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia 69
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 63
4 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky 62
5 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 56
6 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia 43
7 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 39
8 Jonathan Monsalve (Ven) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo 39
9 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 37
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 36
Losada has joined the front group and Basso and Robottini are about to do so as well.
With Arredondo and Deignan up front, it is actually the second group that they've joined. No time checks yet on the two out front.
Outside of the Giro, Deignan's teammate Bradley Wiggins is on the radar of Orica-GreenEdge. The Brit is out of contract at the end of the season. Read the full article here.
Arredondo takes the full points at the top and Deignan lets him. No point in wasting the energy for the Irishman. His teammate Cataldo takes third, 40 seconds behind the leading pair.
Arredondo now has 127 points at the top of the mountains classifcation. Those 14 points for Cataldo, added to those from stage 14, move the Italian into second place - 51 points behind Arredondo.
The peloton finally hit the top of San Pellegrino, 4 minutes behind the two leaders. All riders with warm clothing on, as the rain continues to fall.
As we hit the descent, here is a picture of Nairo Quintana from this morning. He's chosen to go for the all pink option. Wise choice? We're not too sure. He has toned it down a little with his black rain coat.
Arredondo and Deignan have been caught on the descent, so it is all together at the front. Basso leading the group down.
Basso looks like he's giving Deignan a bit of info about the descent. The two riders swapping notes.
Patrick Gretsch is trying to bridge across on this descent. The German is right down on the top tube, getting as aero as he can. Not taking it easy at all.
De Gendt, Basso and Sella have made a little gap for themselve on this descent, but they decide it's not worth it and sit up a little bit. They keep looking back at their fellow escapees, waiting for them to come back to them.
Shots of the finish show that it is absolutely hopping it down at the moment. At least we've got an uphill finish.
Sky have got two men up front, but back in the peloton is their road captain Bernhard Eisel. The Austrian rider is the one who runs things on the road for the team. We caught up with him during the Giro d'Italia to ask him about his role in the team You can watch that and subscribe here.
After getting dropped on the first climb, Nacer Bouhanni has managed to make it back to the peloton. He is still in good shape to take the maglia rossa, provided he can make it to Trieste. If he does, it will be the first grand tour completed for the Frenchman and it just may earn him a spot in the Tour de France team.
The gap to the leaders has gone up to 5:54. No sense of urgency in the peloton at the moment, they're all having a good catch up. The average speed of the race is 39 kph.
Other news coming through today is that despite puncturing a lung earlier this season, Chris Horner could be back in time for the Tour de France. Read the full article here.
The gap continues to grow for the escapees. It is now 7:08, but they're going to need every second of it if they want to stay out front on that final climb.
Wellens attacks and takes the points at the intermediate sprint ahead of Sella.
Basso is really pushing the pace on in this escape group, as they go down a short descent. The sun is shining on them too, which will be a bit of sweet relief. Basso is the best placed rider in this escape group at 13th, 22:28 behind race leader Quintana.
None of the riders in the break have won a stage of this year's race, however we have a few previous stage winners. Basso is the obvious one, after winning the general classification in 2006 and 2010. De Gendt won the epic Stelvio stage in 2012 that put him onto the podium. Rabbotini also won a stage in 2012, along with the mountains classification. Pellizotti is the final Giro stage winner in this group. He's taken two stage victories in the past.
Zardini himself hasn't won a stage of the Giro d'Italia, only taking his first professional win in the Giro del Trentino. However, it has been a sterling Giro d'Italia for the Bardiani team as a whole. They've won three stages with Canola, Battaglin and Pirazzi this year. Can he make it a fourth today?
At 23, Tim Wellens is the youngest rider in the break. He joined turned professional with Lotto-Belisol in 2012. Wellens finished second in the Belgian National Time Trial Championships earlier this season. He is yet to take his first pro victory, but came close in yesterday's stage.
The leaders are on the second climb of the day the Passo del Redebus. They've managed to build their advantage to 7 minutes now and still look to be working well together.
Fernando Alonso and Paolo Bettini are with the race today, possibly scouting for riders to sign. They've had some problems getting the team set up and we await the first announcements of who will be in the team for next season.
We're on the steepest part of this climb, which hits 15%. The advantage is falling slightly, they are now 7:47 ahead of the peloton.
Francisco Ventoso is still controlling things on the front of the peloton. He's been doing a lot of the work today. The former Spanish champion is still covered in bandages from the crashes earlier in this race.
Oleg Tinkov has got one of his riders in the break today. He has been very outspoken about incidents of the last week. We spoke to him earlier this week about his thoughts on the Giro d'Italia. Watch the video here and don't forget to subscribe.
Movistar have upped the pace back in the peloton and they're beginning the bring back this group of 14 riders. At one stage it was well over 8 minutes, it has now fallen to 6:59.
Things are pretty calm in the peloton at the moment, but we can expect the action to really light up when they hit the final ascent in around 27 kilometres time. We could see the final spot on the podium change at the finish here.
Arredondo attacks for the KOM points. Cataldo is quick to get on his wheel though.
There is still a kilometre to the top of this climb, but the two forge ahead.
Cataldo leads the sprint for the points, but Arredondo goes around the outside and takes the full quota at the top. The Colombian extends his lead once again.
From the top of the of the penultimate climb it is 22 kilometres to the foot of the final ascent of Refugio Panarotta.
Thomas de Gendt pushes on and splits the leading group. He is joined by Basso and Duarte.
Arredondo and Cataldo are back in the main group of leaders after racing for the KOM points.
The peloton crest the penultimate climb, 6:16 behind the leaders. Movistar have upped the pace and they're looking to close the gap.
There are two other races going on today. Tom Boonen has won the second stage of the Tour of Belgium, while Mathias Frank took victory in the Bayern Rundfahrt.
As it was on the first descent, Ivan Basso has made a little gap out at the front. He's got Sella, Wellens and De Gendt with him. They've got 23 seconds on the chasers.
The remaining leaders have almost caught up with Basso now, but he's been descending surprising well today.
The peloton are taking it a little easier down this descent than the escapees. The gap is going back out again and now stands at 6:49. No point in taking the risks here, but it's a big advantage to try and overhaul before the finish.
The leaders are now back onto the flat roads as the advantage increases again to 7 minutes. It will be touch and go if they can hold this. They're bound to break up a lot once the hit the final climb.
Movistar continue to lead things in the peloton, as it snakes down this descent in one long line. With Ulissi's departure after yesterday's stage, Movistar are one of only two teams who have all their riders remaining. The other team is Trek Factory Racing.
After initially bringing the gap down to six minutes, Movistar seem happy to let the escapees have a bit more rope now. The gap is up to 7:30. Have the Spanish team decided to let the break stay out to the finish?
We're almost at the final climb and the attacks are going to start coming from this group. Who will be the first to blink? There are a number of strong climbers, including Duarte, Zardini, Arredondo. Former champion Basso may struggle to match the explosiveness of others in this group, but you can't count him out either.
We also can't forget Deignan, Rabottini and Cataldo. This stage is no forgone conclusion, it could come down to tactics over anything else.
AG2R have sent a rider to the front to help out Movistar. Pozzovivo has been suffering from bronchitis since the weekend, but if he has the legs then he will go for something today. A podium place could still be within his grasp.
The leaders are riding through the town of Levico Terme at the moment. They've got an advantage of 7:27 and they're about to begin climbing for the last time today.
Basso is around 14 minutes outside of the top 10 at the moment. He won't be able to make it back in today, but if they can hold a decent advantage over the peloton it will help his cause a little.
AG2R-La Mondiale are trying to push on the pace. They're currently leading the team competition, but Pozzovivo is also only 28 seconds away from the podium at the moment.
De Gendt attacks at the foot of the final climb.
De Gendt did this yesterday, but from a little further out. No immediate reaction from the other escapees
Behind the leaders, Europcar are now on the front of the peloton. Pierre Rolland is another rider in contention for the podium today. The gap is really coming down now, it's currently 5:47
Rabottini is chasing down De Gendt, he's got 21 seconds on the second group.
Rabottini's attack doesn't work. He's back with the other chasers as De Gendt carries on alone. The peloton continue to shut this lead down to 5 minutes.
Riders immediately being dispatched off the back of the peloton as they start climbing.
Keizer launches a flyer from the back of the chasing group. He's now on his own in pursuit of De Gendt.
Keizer hasn't managed to get much of a gap on the chasers. De Gendt continues to power along up this climb. He's riding very strongly, but has he gone out too fast? Only time will tell.
Deignan and Arredondo have joined forces and bridge the gap to Keizer.
De Gendt still has 16 seconds on the chasers, who are now together again, and 4:53 on the peloton. It's going to be hard to keep this going.
The favourites are moving to the front of the peloton. There could be a lot to gain from this climb.
Basso upping the pace in the chase. It's not a huge acceleration, but it will test the legs of the others who try to follow him.
Basso goes again and he gaps the five riders he was with. He's obviously going deep, judging by that grimmace.
Arredondo and Deignan come across to Cataldo. These two have been joined at the hip today. Sky have got two cards to play in this finale.
De Gendt has hit the 14% section of this climb and he's beginning to pedal squares. He won't be able to match the like of Arredondo and Cataldo in a finish like this.
The chasing trio have De Gendt in their sights now, as the gradient gets a little easier. It's still pretty tough though.
The peloton have just ridden under the 10km to go banner at 4:44.
De Gendt attempts to take a bidon from a team member, but it doesn't quite work out. He's going to have to wat to the finish to get a drink now.
Duarte has managed to bridge to the Arredondo group. He's a good bet for the victory today if he can keep up with the pace.
The peloton has been drastically reduced, but all the main favourites are in there. AG2R and Movistar have the numerical advantage.
The chasers can see De Gendt, but the gradients mean that they are struggling to shut it down.
Pelizotti has managed to drag himself up to this chasing group. They're now five riders, but they can't quite manage to catch De Gendt just yet.
No it is Basso's turn to try and make it to this second group. He's not a fan of big accelerations, but he's grinding it out and working his way back.
Arredondo makes the junction to De Gendt and attacks off the front.
Duarte follows him and they are riding up together.
Deignan has caught up with the two Colombians. De Gendt struggling behind them now.
De Gendt manages to haul him self back to the front group with Pelizotti, as Romain Sicard attacks the peloton.
Rolland attacks, but it is well marked by Quintana.
After bridging the gap, De Gent has gone on the attack again. Pelizotti chasing him down.
Pelizotti drops De Gendt and goes on alone. This has been a great Giro for Italy. Will it be another for the home nation?
Evans struggling now on this climb, is this the end of his podium hopes?
Rolland attacks again
Rolland has Quitana, Hesjedal and Uran with him.
Arredondo catches and passes Pelizotti. Duarte trying to catch him.
Back in the group of favourites Pozzovivo, Majka and Kelderman are in that group too.
Deignan is now chasing again. So that's Arredondo, Duarte and then Deignan spread out along this climb. Pelizotti doesn't have the legs to keep up
Castoviejo on the front of the group of favourites. They're 3:16 behind Arredondo.
Rolland now has a dig off the front. He takes Quitana, Uran and Kelderman with him.
Arredondo still alone, Duarte is chasing hard though.
Rolland attacks for the third time, no one follows.
Some of the former breakaway riders are being hovered up by this group of favourite. Rovny decides to take things up ont he front of that group.
Hesjedal, Majka and Pozzovivo have managed to catch up with the Quintana group. Rolland is still ahead of them alone.
Duarte has Arredondo in his sights, but it will be tough to close this down.
Uran telling temmate Poels to drive the pace and make things hard for Quintana. Hesjedal, Kiserlovski and Kelderman have been dropped.
Arredondo has gone under the flamme rouge
Rolland has passed Wellens, but the maglia rosa group is not too far behind
In the maglia rosa group we have Quintana, Pozzovivo, Aru and Majka.
A few hundred metres for Arredondo
Aru attacks the group of favourites
Arredondo looks behind them but there is no one, not even a car and he starts thumping the air
Arredondo wins, Duarte follows him over 16 seconds later
Deignan rounds off the top 3. Great effort by all three riders.
The group of favourites pass under the flamme rouge. Rolland back with them.
Quintana has been looking lively and he might try something soon
Basso finishes 1:45 down on Arredondo
Aru attacks. He's close to the final podium spot too.
Arus heads around the final corner and has a small gap on Rolland
Aru takes about four seconds on Quintana, but the important time will be against Rolland.
Aru started the day only 8 seconds behind the Frenchman. It will be a close call, but I think Rolland may have the podium spot for now. However, we've still got two very big days to come.
Evans crosses the line well down today. He finishes 4:22 back on Arredondo and almost two minutes on Rolland.
Riders are crawling across the line in ones and twos. This was a very tough finish and it has had a big impact on the top 10.
Today's victory is the third professional success for Arredondo. He's definitely one for the future and Colombia can continue to revel in their massive revival in cycling.
Rolland moves to third, he's two seconds ahead of Majka and Aru (who are on the same time). Evans is the biggest loser today. He's now down to 9th in the general classification.
Arredondo is all smiles on the podium. This is the biggest day of his young career. The victory also consolidates his position in the mountains classification. Few will be able to catch him after today.
Here is the man of the moment, Arredondo exhausted but celebrating his victory.
Here is the top 10 from today's stage
1. Julian Arredondo
2. Fabio Duarte
3. Philip Deignan
4. Franco Pelizotti
5. Edoardo Zardini
6. Thomas de Gendt
7. Ivan Basso
8. Dario Cataldo
9. Fabio Aru
10. Nairo Quintana
And after that exciting finish, this is our top 10 in the GC.
2. Urán at 1:41
3. Rolland at 3:29
4. Aru at 3:31
5. Majka s.t
6. Pozzovivo at 3:52
7. Hesjedal at 4:32
8. Kelderman at 4:37
9. Evans at 4:59
10. Kiserlovski a 8:33
Tomorrow is the mountain time trial, which could have a huge impact ahead of the final weekend. InCycle caught up with former rider Eros Poli, who rode the stage. You can watch the video here.
You can also read our preview of the stage here. The winner of last year's mountain time trial, Vincenzo Nibali isn't here, but Samuel Sanchez is. He finished second to Nibali, could he do the same again?
Tomorrow should favour the GC contenders. However, with the tired legs in the peloton its going to be easier said than done to make time on your rivals.
Fernando Alonso was behind the podium after the race. He might be looking into signing Arredondo after his efforts today. It was some ride by the young Colombian. It's the nation's third stage win, after Uran and Quintana taking a victory each.
We've still got two more days to go for the GC riders, before the sprinters' stage in Trieste. Nairo Quintana look reasonably secure in their positions. However, it is still all to play for in third place and this Giro is far from over.
That is all from us today. Join us tomorrow for that crucial time trial.