Dennis Maintains Top Ten on GC After Steep Summit Finish24. May 2018, Prato Nervoso (ITA) — Road Team
A steep summit finish set the scene for the latest General Classification battle on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, with Rohan Dennis laying it all out on the road to limit his time loss and retain his top ten position ahead of two big days in the mountains.
Unlike previous stages, the breakaway went away quickly and after 30km of racing, the peloton sat up to allow the 12 riders to go clear while behind, BMC Racing Team’s six riders were back in the peloton.
The peloton enjoyed a relatively calm next 100km and it became clear that the stage win would go to the breakaway when the group gained a maximum of advantage of almost 16 minutes on the approach to the climb to Prato Nervosa, a 15km ascent with an average gradient of seven percent.
The breakaway started to attack each other on the climb and slowly riders dropped one by one until a group of four riders were left to battle for the stage win.
Maximilian Schachmann (Quickstep-Floors) had the legs to take the stage win over Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy) and as they were crossing the line, the attacks started in the Maglia Rosa group.
Dennis was one of fifteen riders in the main group chasing the attacks from Richard Carapaz and Miguel Angel Lopez (both Astana Pro Team), and was sitting at the back to conserve energy before the final few kilometers.
With two kilometers remaining, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) attacked and immediately split the group. Although race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) was able to follow, a string of further attacks from Chris Froome (Team Sky), Domenico Pozzavivo (Bahrain-Merida() and Dumoulin eventually distanced Yates as they approached the flamme rouge.
The trio crossed the line 28 seconds ahead of Yates, while behind Dennis continued to ride his own pace in an impressive display of determination which saw the Australian cross the line five seconds behind Yates.
Stage 18 saw the top ten reshuffle slightly with Dennis moving from sixth to seventh overall, ahead heading back to the mountains on stage 19 for a tough day featuring four categorized climbs, including the summit finish of Jafferau.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Thankfully it was [calm]. But, if the breakaway didn’t go for an hour it was pretty easy to sit on. It was just nice that they let the break go, it took a bit of time, and obviously win and then us GC guys battled it out on the final climb a little bit more and had our own race at the back. Probably with about 25km to go, leading into the climb, they wanted to get to the bottom of the hill first and then from 15km to go, it was full gas. There were a few attacks. A couple of teams went to the front to try and blow it up, and succeeded. But in the end, today made the GC a little bit more exciting.”
“Obviously I lost one place but the guys behind me didn’t gain any time, maybe if they did it was ten seconds, so not that much. I’m still confident that a top ten is possible. Obviously tomorrow is a big day so I just have to get through that. I think tomorrow is the hardest day out of the whole Giro.”
Stage 18 Abbiategrasso > Prato Nevoso
Top 3: 1. Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors), 2. Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy), 3. Mattia Cattaneo (Androni-Sidermec)
BMC Racing Team top 3: 25. Rohan Dennis, 43. Kilian Frankiny, 74. Alessandro De Marchi