With the day’s early breakaway just making it to the line to take the win, Team Sunweb’s Max Walscheid finished stage 18 in the top 20.
Three early attackers were able to snap the elastic, but the sprinter’s teams held them close throughout the day’s entirety as their advantage never peaked over three minutes. Whilst it looked like the peloton was in control of the breakaway’s lead, the trio out front still held onto a minute advantage as the race entered its final 10 kilometres.
The chase continued in the bunch and despite three turning to two in the final seven kilometres, the breakaway just managed to hold on to the line to take the stage honours. Team Sunweb’s Max Walscheid finishes the day in 17th place after a frantic dash to the line.
Max said: “The race didn’t go too bad until the final, when we couldn’t find each other as a group. The guys did some good efforts and Martijn brought me into a good position for the final. On the finish straight, which was a pretty much a drag uphill, I exploded and couldn’t participate in the sprint anymore.”
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek said: “Today was a sprint day so our focus was on Max. We used the guys to position Max which worked out well, but the break of two riders just about managed to stay away. It turned out to be chaotic sprint where gaps opened up before Max, so it was not the result we aimed for.”