Race report

Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley move up on GC after double top 10 stage finish

Giro d'Italia

The final day of racing before the first rest day at the Giro d’Italia saw the riders faced with a tough day out in the saddle that featured well over 4000 metres of climbing throughout the stage. As expected, an incredibly long and hard fight for the breakaway ensued before a group of six riders managed to escape after 80 kilometres of racing. Their gap ballooned out, with the team focused on keeping GC candidates Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley safe.

The gap to those ahead did fall and at one point it seemed as if the GC riders might fight it out for stage honours. However, torrential rain put a dampener on the chase efforts and the breakaway had enough time in hand to claim victory. Riding well together as a unit, with every team member in the reduced peloton as the race entered the final 15 kilometres, Kelderman and Hindley were brought to the front of the bunch.

A strong cross headwind made it difficult for any GC riders to attack from far out, so the only differences were made on the steep final kilometre. Kelderman put in an a strong attack, with only Fugslang initially able to follow, before Hindley expertly picked his way through the scattered peloton to join the duo. Crossing the line in eighth and tenth, Kelderman and Hindley gained time on most of their GC rivals and as a result move into second and ninth on GC respectively ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

“It was a long and hard day, especially in the end where it was really cold,” explained Kelderman at the finish. “My legs felt really good today. The team gave me a lot of confidence as we still had eight guys over the second last climb. We were able to hold a really good position and in the last part I felt really good. I started my sprint at around 400 metres to go and just went full gas to the finish to see if I could create some gaps. I never had the pink jersey in mind because it was just too short until the finish to get a big enough gap. I’m really happy with the feeling now and that’s the most important thing. We look day-by-day and we make plans, and we’ll see what’s possible in the next weeks. For sure, the team did a great job and Jai was super good so I think we can be confident and have a nice rest day.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “Today we had the first real mountain challenge in this year’s Giro. Alongside that we had some really tough weather to deal with in the finish where it went down to single figure temperatures and some heavy rain. Our guys rode a bit defensive from early on, looking to save energy, ready for that final. We rode well together and as we came into the final climb we still had all eight rider together. It showed that the investment that they put in, working together and looking after each other in the last weeks has paid off, and they’ve had good legs on the first big test. On the last climb the race opened up a little bit and it was a steep last kilometre. Both Wilco and Jai finished it off really well, taking some seconds on some of their GC competitors. It was a very tough day for the guys but we can be happy with how it went.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GUERREIRO Ruben EF Pro Cycling 5:41:20 100
2 CASTROVIEJO Jonathan INEOS Grenadiers 0:08 40
3 BJERG Mikkel UAE-Team Emirates 0:58 20
8 KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb 1:38 -
10 HINDLEY Jai Team Sunweb ,, -
35 OOMEN Sam Team Sunweb 3:14 -
37 HAMILTON Chris Team Sunweb 3:29 -
41 TUSVELD Martijn Team Sunweb 4:32 -
54 DENZ Nico Team Sunweb 7:21 -
63 HAGA Chad Team Sunweb 10:53 -
64 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,, -