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Giro d'Italia 2018: Stage 11


 Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia. It’s the day after Esteban Chaves’ dream of wining the corsa rosa faded away, but it's also another potentially tricky day of the GC candidates still in the hunt for the maglia rosa.

We’re on the road between Assisi and Osimo for another 156km of action. It’s a much shorter stage than yesterday’s mammoth endeavour but there are plenty of obstacles ahead, not least the final 5km of the stage which see the peloton take on a tricky, super fast descent before a climb to the finish which includes pitches of 16 per cent. On paper, this should be a day for the breakaway but at the Giro d’Italia, as we saw yesterday with Chaves, you just never know what’s around the next corner.


Let’s take a look at the GC coming into the stage.


1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 43:42:38
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:41
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:46
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:00
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:01:23
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:36
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:08
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team
9 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:02:28
10 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:30


It’s Simon Yates who continues to lead the pack and at the moment he looks to have the better of both Pinot and last year’s winner Tom Dumoulin. The Sunweb leader still has the TT to come but at this rate we could be set for another nail-biting last week. Let’s hope so, at least.

One rider well placed is Pozzovivo. He’s rolled back the years and is in the best form he’s had in some time. I spoke to his team boss this morning, Brent Copeland, who said that part of the negotiations in bringing Pozzovivo to the team (from AG2R) at the end of last year centered around the idea of making him the sole leader at the Giro. The Italian climber has paid back that faith and then some… but there’s still a long, long way to go in this year’s Giro.

Another bit of Bahrain Merida related news. Heinrich Haussler looks set to return to the Tour de France this year. He won a stage into Colmar (in the rain after dropping a group that included Chavanel) in 2009) and he had a decent run in the Classics this year. He’s currently training with Nibali and co. at altitude and is set to be rewarded with a new contract for his efforts.


With Chaves falling out of contention, Chris Froome has made it back into the top ten. Progress considering the difficult first week he had, and the two crashes he suffered. There's still a long way to go but this weekend's stage up the Zoncolan will determine the future of Froome's race. 


Back to Bahrain for a moment, and Barry Ryan has written this piece on yesterday's winner, Mohoric, who is still just 24 years of age. 


After yesterday's explosive start there's certainly an air of tension around this morning. The riders are about to start though, with maglia rosa Simon Yates already signed on and ready for action. Bravo to Yates for not racing in pink shorts. Instead he's gone for a small amount of pink trim at the bottom of his kit, to match his jersey. 

The stage is about to start, and it's the road from Assisi rather than to it, as the riders embark on stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia. 


While we roll out through the neutralized zone, now's the perfect chance for me to shamelessly plug the Cyclingnews podcast. The latest episode came out on Monday and includes Yates and Froome. You can download it, or listen to it HERE for free. Thanks to all our listeners who have helped make this a record number of downloads for May, already, and of course our partners - Prendas Ciclismo, Pinarello, and Floyds of Leadville. 


Already we've seen a number of early attacks but nothing has stuck so far. Quick-Step are in the thick of things but Mitchelton are near the front and making sure to vet each rider who tries to jump away. 


148km remaining from 156km

There's an attack from Dimension Data but that's caught and the Dowsett tries his luck. He's a good rider to follow in these circumstances as he ups the wattage. He's caught too though. 


Savio pings two men up the road in another early skirmish and it's the second attempt from the Pro Conti outfit that looks to have created a small gap. Again it's Quick-Step who mark the move. They're all attacking today, having concluded that the finish is too tough for Viviani. 


Eight riders have gone clear with 146km to go. Quick-Step, Trek, Androni, and BMC Racing are all involved. As for the conditions, cloudy, overcast but dry at the moment. Perfect racing conditions to be honest. 


By the way, you need to catch up on the latest from the Tour of California. That's more of a suggestion than an order, but yesterday's stage was genuinely decent. Toms Skujins won, a year after that horrible crash he suffered at the race. It was easily one of the best moments of racing we've seen this season. 


And as luck has it, it's Pedersen who is in the break today for Trek. He's away with Ben King but the move is shut down by Androni and we're all together once more. There's been no let up from the bunch yet as each attack is brought back by the super-aggressive peloton. Just over 140km to go.


Bardiani, in that distinctive kit of theirs, launch another move but then it's countered by AG2R. Almost every team are looking to make it into the break today. Next up it's Bora, and Bardiani again. There's a brief lull...


And now Sanchez from Astana powers out of the saddle and accelerates. He's instantly marked by a string of riders but the pace continues to rise. Sanchez just looks class on a bike when he goes to the front and starts to dictate the pace. He's a rare example of a team leader making the slow transition into the role of a super domestique. The move is eventually snuffed out and Androni once again take up the challenge. 


Christopher Clive Froome didn't say a lot yesterday after the finish, and who can blame him given the distance he had to cover. 


"It was a very hard stage, everybody was feeling fresh and there was a lot of action at the start of the day.

"But I'm pleased that I was in the front group, and finally the only guy that lost time was Esteban [Chaves]. It was a tough day, and that's racing."


Read the full story, here.


136km remaining from 156km

Almost 20km covered and we're closing in on the first climb of the day  - the Pass Del Cornello. There are some really tough pitches in the ascent and it's almost 8km in length. We could genuinely see the race explode on the climb. Another move has just been caught by the way. Quick-Step go again though. 


It's constant. A few riders create a gap of a few metres and then they turn around the bunch are almost on them instantly. De Marchi now gives it a go but Androni close that one. Sky are also present, and the road starts to rise. Hang on... we might have a break now.


133km remaining from 156km

AG2R, Sky, Bora, BMC, Androni are all present but a few more riders are about to make contact. Pantano is up the road too...we have about 20 riders on the attack and more joining them. Chaves perhaps?


We're whizzing along at 50kph as Astana once again roll the dice. Once we hit the first climb the peloton is going to be under serious pressure if they try and keep this level of intensity up. 


Pedersen accelerates once more with 128km to go. Again it's Androni who mark the move. 


It's just relentless but now we're climbing and it spells the end for the Pedersen move. 125km to go and a group is starting to push clear though. Names to come...


Plaza is there, and leading the charge but he's marked by around eight or nine riders. That move then splits up and it's De Marchi who goes again, with Sanchez on his wheel. 


And it's De Marchi and Sanchez who are clear but it looks like a Trek rider is trying to come across. If that's Pedersen it would be decent little trio. The leading two riders are not waiting though. 


If you were only going to select two riders for the break you couldn't do much better than De Marchi and Sanchez. Maybe you'd throw someone like Hansen into the mix but with 122km to go the race is starting to form. Although two more riders are trying to come over to the leaders. 


I think that Trek rider was Pantano but he's been caught by the bunch. Time is running out if riders want to join Sanchez and De Marchi. And it's Androni and Bardiani who send riders up the road. Can they make contact?


The two leaders have 1'13 over the peloton with 119km to go.

Best break you've ever seen in a race? I'd go for the 2001 Championships of Zurich. It was simply ridiculous. Look at the names...


Armstrong, Ullrich, Casagrande, Freire, Rebellin, Camenzind, Dufaux and Kivilev.


Dufaux won by the way.


The bunch have sat up by the but we have three chasers trying to hunt down Sanchez and De Marchi. The gap is almost two minutes between the leaders and the main field. 


116km remaining from 156km

3'15 for the two leaders, as Mitchelton post a man on the front of the bunch to just keep things ticking over. the BMC car is in the middle of the bunch, right in the middle, as it tries to move up to De Marchi. As Masnada makes it three leaders. 


And the gap continues to grow. It's at 3'45 with 115km to go. There are still two more riders trying to bridge up and they'd be really handy later in the stage if the break hope to really contest the win. The three leaders are not hanging around though. De Marchi drifts to the back of the group and looks for the chasers but they're not in view. Masnada then comes to the front and takes the KOM points. As a thank you to the others he takes a long pull on the front. He's in contention for the KOM jersey so he'll snaffle up any points he can. 

As for the chasers, Maestri is at 34 seconds and Turin is at 58 seconds. We're on the descent, so it's going to be a big ask to make contact. 


Tuft continues to set the pace for the peloton. They crest the climb at 4'20 down with 110km to go. This is the Canadian's final Giro appearance and he's certainly getting his moneys worth given the amount of time he's spent on the front of the bunch since Mitchelton moved into the maglia rosa. With GT teams down to eight now, riders like Tuft have to take on even more responsibility. 


Maestri makes it to the leaders. Turrin is closing too, which is fabulous as it will allow me to slot in loads of Turin Brakes' discography into live coverage. And he's made it with 109km to go. Ever 'the Optimist'. 


Waiting has cost the break close to a minute but they're in full flight now with 103km to go. It's LottoNL who are helping with the chase as they look to perhaps set up Battaglin for another potential stage win. 


Lotto Soudal are also hitting the front as they look to set up Tim Wellens for the day. The finish sure does suit the Belgian, and he's clearly in form. 


Into the final 100km of the stage and the gap is holding at 3'28. The break is strong but with three or four teams already chasing their chances aren't great. EF are starting to move up too, as they look to try and set up Woods for another tilt at an uphill charge. He was second the day that Wellens won, of course. 


Contador: Froome and Aru can no longer win the Giro d'Italia #Giro101

@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 16th May 2018 12:39:33

Both Lottos are on the front at the moment. The rider who is really benefiting from this is Yates. His team can take a break, and he could contest the finish and pick up yet more time bonuses. We're already into the final 90km of the stage. 


As De Marchi drops back to the team car picks up some information but it's not good news with the bunch in hot pursuit. The break are only treading water at the moment with the gap holding at 3'30. 


@dnlbenson stage 5 TDU: Valverde, Evans, Sagan, Luis Leon Sanchez

@ItaDude Wed, 16th May 2018 12:41:04



That was a good break indeed. Keep them coming in. 

The latest @Cyclingnewsfeed podcast is a Giro d'Italia rest day special! Join @dnlbenson and @Procycling_mag's…

@prendas Mon, 14th May 2018 19:41:18

81km remaining from 156km

Another 30 seconds have been knocked off the break's advantage and it's down to 3'01 with 81km to go. There's certainly no lack of effort from the break but they're up against a chase that involves both Lottos and Trek Segafredo. 


73km remaining from 156km

Lotto Fix All turn the screw and reduce the gap even further, as we see the bunch head through the feed zone. The gap is at 2'05 with 73km to go. 


A reminder of the five riders in the break:


Luis León Sánchez (Astana Pro Team)

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing Team)

Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF)

Alex Turrin (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia)


Coming up.. a few more breaks you've enjoyed in the past...


@dnlbenson 2011 TdF Stage 19. Contador/Voeckler/Evans/Schleck. That was a wild stage.

@cmchristensen1 Wed, 16th May 2018 13:05:36

@dnlbenson @AndreGreipel at #4jdd stage 5

The bunch eased up through the feed zone, and that's allowed the leaders to try and rebuild their advantage, and it's back up to 2'23. It's not going to be enough at this rate, however, with 68km to go.


The bunch have scoffed their lunch and it's back to chasing. The gap has subsequently dropped to 2'12 with 65km to go. 


De Marchi and Sanchez show their form and almost create a couple of gaps as the break start to climb. The acceleration leads to time gap extending to 2'52 but there's still a long way to go. Dumoulin meanwhile is at the back of the bunch, having come back through the team cars.


The gap is now back out to three minutes as Masnada continues to hunt for KOM points. We have 58km to go but the bunch still hold all the cards. Trek, who missed the break with Pedersen and Pantano, set the pace, as we see Chaves and Yates near the front of the main field. 

Chaves' Giro d'Italia setback: 'We have not got an answer' #Giro101

@Cyclingnewsfeed Wed, 16th May 2018 13:34:12

More of your favourite ever breaks coming up.


@dnlbenson TDF 2016 stage 11. Bodnar, Sagan, Froome, and Thomas. They made a boring stage quite exciting.

@JoshandhisBikes Wed, 16th May 2018 13:16:11


Missed that, sat in an airport.

@dnlbenson Despite everything that's come to light since, I still have a soft spot for 2005 LBL Voigt & Vinokourov

@philkoop Wed, 16th May 2018 13:19:39


Come on Phil.. be better. How about an 80km solo break from Berzin in the 1998 LBL?

@dnlbenson Dont forget Chiapucci, Massen, Bauer and Pensec in the 1990 TDF..

@ConorTMcGrane Wed, 16th May 2018 13:34:40

@dnlbenson one of the most famous: 1st stage of TdF in 1990: Maasen, Bauer, Chiapucci, Pensec. Shaped the entire race.

@RasmusBendtsen2 Wed, 16th May 2018 13:37:18


So good, we've posted it twice.

50km remaining from 156km

50km to go and the gap is at 2'43. Nothing but rolling roads today as we see Turrin take a long pull on the front. De Marchi has drifted to the back of the group but he still looks fresh.

Trek Segafredo still lead the chase with Mads Pedersen doing the work, and he's strung the peloton out as we hit 45km to go.


@dnlbenson I am duly chastened. Will you accept Eros Poli's epic solo victory over Ventoux in the 1994 TdF?

@philkoop Wed, 16th May 2018 13:49:28


Slow clap turns into standing ovation. Nice work, Phil.

@dnlbenson TDF 2012 stage 14: Sagan, Gilbert, Luis Leon Sanchez, Izaguirre, Casar

@a_o_mck Wed, 16th May 2018 13:46:53


Is that the one that Sky chased down and Sanchez had a word with Wiggins as a result?

37km remaining from 156km

Sanchez comes forward and takes a long turn as the break continues to fight back. The gap is holding at just over two minutes but a few more teams are getting involved in the chase. 


The bunch are almost flat out at the moment as Trek continue to push the pace. De Marchi leans over as if he has a pair of Spinachi bars on his bike, and pushes the pace for the five-man break but with 32km to go the gap is at 2'06.


The road has narrowed as as a result Team Sky move to the front and start to set the pace, with Froome looking to keep out of trouble. The gap is down to 2'01.


We're climbing once more and Sanchez sets the pace but he's starting to rock a little bit before drifting back. It looks like Turrin is losing contact. And Maestri too. So that's just three riders left at the front of the race. It's 16 per cen at the moment, and a real struggle after such a tough stage. 


Sanchez goes over the line first for the intermediate sprint but the gap is down to 1'50 with 29km to go, as we see a number of Michele Scarponi banners by the side of the road as the race honours his memory today. 


The three leaders are at a frantic pace now but their lead continues to drop, with the gap at 1'43. Lotto Fix All are all in for Wellens now as we see Henao protecting Froome near the front of the bunch. 22km to go.


A few more GC teams are starting to get involved now as they look to protect their maglia rosa interests. All this does is increase the pace, and drive up the tension as Bahrain, BMC, Sky, and Sunweb move up to join Mitchelton.


20km remaining from 156km

Just 1'27 now for the trio up front. It's not going to be enough. 


Turrin and Maestri are about to be caught by the peloton, with just over 17km to go. Bora have moved up too, as they look to protect Formolo during the tricky run-in.


Yates is well positioned for now, just tucked in behind his teammates with 15km to go. So many riders are in the mix for the finish, Wellens, Woods, Pinot, Yates, Lopez, and even Dumoulin, Pozzovivo and Chaves of course. 


And here come Pinot and his FDJ comrades. Froome is there too, with Poels by him, and the gap at 55 seconds to the leaders out front. Today has ben relentless, so there are going to be gaps at the finish, make no mistake. 


We're climbing again with 12.8km to go. Yates is marking Pinot but the gap to the leaders is down to just 45 seconds. Masnada is setting the pace but he's on the rivet, for sure. 


As the bunch climb, riders are distanced right away, as Mitchelton and FDJ go toe-to-toe.


No big names dropped just yet but this climb is tough, as we see Dennis come to the front and make sure he's near the front of the action. 12km to go and the break is at 45 seconds.


11km remaining from 156km

AG2R are also in the mix as they hunt for the stage win but Mitchelton muscle their way to the front as well as they look to protect Yates. 


Pantano is now setting the pace at the front in order to set up Brambilla, I presume but here come Lotto Fix All. Sanchez is setting the pace at the front of the race but the break are running on fumes now. The gap is at 45 seconds with 10km to go.


Up comes Carapaz and then Aru. This is going to be such a frantic finish as we head towards the final climb. 


Pinot is already in second wheel with 7.5km to go. He's not going to attack just yet though. Poels meanwhile is right at the back and drifting. 


Just 24 seconds for the leaders up the road as Trek increase the pace once more. 


Yates is on Chaves' wheel. 6.3km to go.


19 seconds for the leaders, who are almost finished as the road kicks up once more. Here come Bahrain for Pozzovivo. 


5km remaining from 156km

5km to go and it's game over for the break, despite a late kick from Sanchez and then De Marchi. 


Attack and it's Stybar!


Wellens goes after him with 4.6km to go. 


Henao is involved in a crash!


As Stybar and Wellens link up with 4,2km to go. They descend and then the road kicks up again.


Wellens leads around the technical corners but Stybar is holding is own. The two leaders have just a few seconds on the chase. 3.5km to go. 


The gap is around 5 seconds.


3km to go as the descent continues. 


The gap is now up to 8 seconds. And the road is about to climb once more. 


Froome has been gapped. 


2.1km to go and the gap is 7 seconds. This is going to be close. 


1.8km to go and it's 6 seconds.


And Wellens attacks with 1.5km to go. He's alone. 


And Yates attacks too.


Yates is about to catch Wellens with 1.4km to go and Yates is clear!


Dumoulin is chasing as Froome cracks.


Pinot has gone too so it's just Dumoulin chasing Yates. 


1km to go and Yates is still clear. 


Dumoulin can't close the gap with 700m to go.


The gap is only 2 seconds.


The road kicks up agin and Dumoulin is starting to close but Yates responds.


Yates is going to take another win. 


But Dumoulin is closing once more. 


Yates is leading, Dumoulin and then Formolo.

What a pursuit but Yates takes it. Dumoulin is second, Formolo third. 


A group of Pinot, and Pozzovivo came over the line a few seconds later. Then Lopez, and Aru. 


Froome, however, has lost 40 odd seconds.


That was an incredible battle between Dumoulin and Yates - the Giro in a microcosm so far. Dennis and Aru both made the top ten by the way but no Lopez or Carapaz. Froome lost more time though, and his chances of winning are all but over, surely.


That was perhaps Dumoulin's best ride since the TT. He went after Yates but never cracked, so his form appears to be on the rise. The TT next week is going to be so, so important. 


1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 3:25:53
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:02
3 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:05
4 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:08
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:11
9 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:18
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:21


Good rides from Geniez, Konrad and Schachmann too. Dennis more than held is own on a finish that didn't really suit him. 


General classification after stage 11

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 47:08:21
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:47
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:04
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:18
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:01:56
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:09
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:36
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:02:54
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:55
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:10


So Froome is out of the top ten once more, and now there are just four riders within two minutes of Yates. The podium looks to be between Yates, Pinot, Dumoulin, and Pozzovivo, at this stage.


Pinot simply didn't have the turn of speed that Yates had. He still had a decent climb but he's lost more time on Yates. He at least held Pozzovivo.


Here's what today's stage winner had to say:


Did you plan it? Yes and no. We decided before the stage that we wouldn’t chase for the stage, because normally in a finish like that there are some faster guys who have won before me. That also proved true - the guys like Tim Wellens and Lotto-Jumbo they came to the front to chase. They were obviously confident for the finish. That wasn’t the plan, but if it came back I would of course try.


Gained time on Froome: I’d prefer to be getting more time on Tom. He was really chasing me all the way to the finish there. He looks better than the other day on the steep finishes there. I think he’s getting better as the race goes on, and that’s not good news for me.


Rohan Dennis: It was a big, wide road, which is always a good way to make a breakaway take a long time to go.

It wasn't too hard in the peloton, just sitting there. I was sitting at the back, it was pretty flowing and easy. But after that, moving up was quite difficult. The pace was high all day and to get to the front was actually quite hard. Once you were there you had to fight to make sure you didn't lose your spot knowing it was hard to get back up.

I was feeling good, there was a little crash on the second to last climb and that made me have to go a littel deeper than I wanted to, I had to fight to get back a bit. Even with that I was still able to be strong on the final climb and get a top 10. I didn't take time out of the top GC guys, but guys that are going to be a threat to my top 10 - I took time out of them, so that's good.

And here's our full report, results, photos, and video is on its way too.


Froome isn't throwing in the towel just yet. Here's what he told Eurosport at the finish:


I’m going to keep fighting. It’s good to get this racing in the legs. I haven’t done much racing this year and it’s good to get the racing year. I haven’t given up hope. We saw yesterday with Esteban just how quickly this race can change for anyone of those GC riders. I’m going to keep plugging away. I’m really motivated and we’re going to do as much as we can.

On Yates...

He is flying. I’m really happy for him it’s amazing to see another Brit in the pink jersey and he’s got a really strong chance of winning.


Scrolling down the results, it was a bad day for Woods. He lost over a minute.  Lopez shipped another 30 seconds, while Chaves coasted over the line nearly five minutes down.


Here's a look at the rest of the top 20 on GC:


11 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:03:17
12 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:20
13 Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data 0:03:25
14 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:29
15 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:03:40
16 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:03:43
17 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:04:01
18 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:33
19 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:05:08
20 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:05:21


If Formolo hadn't lost those five minutes at Etna he'd be right up there and fighting for a podium spot. A top-10 on GC isn't out of the question though if he holds this form for the next week and a bit.


Meanwhile, we have our post-race selection of quotes, right here.


We'll close live soon but we'll finish with some breaking news. The new production from Cyclingnews Films will be out just after the Giro d'Italia finishes. We'll be announcing more on that tomorrow morning but you can always catch up with our first film - THE HOLY WEEK - on our Vimeo channel. 


Thanks for joining us today. We'll be back tomorrow with complete live coverage from stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia. Stay tuned later today for our Tour of California live coverage. 


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