Giro d'Italia GC contenders catch breath as sprinters reap rewards of surviving mountain challenge – Stage 18 preview

FRANCAVILLA AL MARE ITALY MAY 15 LR Laurence Pithie of New Zealand and Team Groupama FDJ Tim Merlier of Belgium and Team Soudal QuickStep stage winner Jonathan Milan of Italy and Team Lidl Trek Purple Points Jersey Danny van Poppel of Netherlands and Team BORA hansgrohe and Caleb Ewan of Australia and Team Jayco AlUla sprint at finish line during the 107th Giro dItalia 2024 Stage 11 a 207km stage from Foiano di val Fortore to Francavilla al mare UCIWT on May 15 2024 in Francavilla al mare Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Stage 11 sprint at the Giro d'Italia 2024 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Following two brutally tough mountain stages, made even harder by snow, cold rain, polemics and intense racing, the Giro d'Italia peloton will finally get some respite on Thursday on the flat 178km stage from Fiera di Primiero at the foot of the Dolomites down to Padova, west of Venice. 

It is a transition stage, a chance for race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and the other GC contenders to catch their breath for 24 hours and a huge opportunity for the sprinters before the last mountain stages and then the final circuit stage around central Rome. The lightweight climbers will step aside and the powerful sprinters and their leads out will muscle in and take centre stage.

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.

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