Giro 2018 Stage 21: Triples for Sammy B and Chris Froome

The first Grand Tour of the year is done and dusted. The fat lady has sung, the podium, GC and jerseys have been awarded. This one’s been a real roller-coaster ride from start to finish. And what a finish! Ten circuits of the heart of Rome’s Centro Storico, neutralised for the GC after three circuits due to the cobbles, corners and crater-like condition of the road. On the final lap, five went clear only to be swamped in the dying kilometres by the sprint trains of Quick-Step and Bora-hansgrohe. With 70m to go, it was Sam Bennett who roared through to take his third stage win, leaving Elia Viviani, himself winner of four stages, in second place. Jempy Drucker rounded out the podium. Ten minutes later, the GC riders rolled over the line, including race winner Chris Froome, first Brit to win the Giro d’Italia and only the third rider (after Hinault and Merckx) to hold all three Grand Tour titles at once.

Riders of the Race

Congratulations to the 150 riders who reached Rome – you’re all heroes in our book – and commiserations to those who didn’t due to injury and illness. We hope you recover and come back even stronger.

Just six teams finished with a full complement of eight riders and only 10 teams won stages, four of whom also held the leader’s jersey. Within those, Quick-Step Floors won five stages and the points’ jersey and Mitchelton-Scott, who held the leader’s jersey for 13 days, and won five stages.

To say it was slim pickings for the rest would be an oversimplification. Take the example of wild-card ProConti team Bardiani-CSF. Their objective was to gain plenty of air-time for its sponsors by getting in every break. As a consequence, 23-year-old Giulio Ciccone was runner-up in the King of the Mountain competition. The team leaves Rome happy with its result. As does Bahrain-Merida with its objective of a top five place on GC achieved, and the added bonus of a stage win. For those that left empty-handed, there’s fortunately another two Grand Tours yet to race this season.

Meanwhile …

Some Final Thoughts

There’s much to rejoice about in this year’s Giro, most notably the youngsters. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) third-placed rider and winner of the young jersey competition had a great tussle for the jersey with fellow South American Richard Carapaz (Movistar) who finished fourth and won stage 8. Then there’s the early wearer of the white jersey Max Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) who won a stage in his maiden grand tour.

We had youngsters who worked tirelessly for their team leaders, such as Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb). Sam Oomen (Sunweb) finished 9th overall and did an enormous amount of work in the mountains for his team captain, Tom Dumoulin, and Jack Haig was often the last man standing for the rider who led for most of the race, Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates.

Also, let’s not forget 22-year-old Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data) who sadly crashed on stage 19 while lying 12th overall on GC. Indeed, the top 20 is happily littered with riders yet to hit their peak racing years, such as Patrick Konrad (7th) and Davide Formolo (10th), both of Bora-hansgrohe. Plus, spare a thought for Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) the heaviest man in the race at 84kg, who made it safely to Rome and enlivened the final stage. Chapeau to all the #youngdudes.

Let’s also celebrate the exertions of some of the older riders, many of whom were mentoring those young guns. I’m talking about riders such as  Svein Tuft (Mitchelton-Scott), Fabio Sabatini (Quick-Step Floors), Roy Curvers (Sunweb), Lars Bak (Lotto Fix All), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy) and last, but not least, the man who’s just ridden his 20th consecutive Grand Tour, Adam Hansen (Lotto Fix All).

Two further stars emerged, this time on social media. Firstly, Chad Haga (Sunweb) who neatly summarised each stage (from stage 10 onwards) and for whom a journalistic career surely awaits.

Next,  Alex Dowsett (Katusha) who neatly paraphrased the collective thoughts of the gruppetto. Guys, thanks for amusing and entertaining us.

Lastly, team EF-Drapac p/b Cannondale who grew moustaches during the Giro. Guys, please, never, ever again. Save your energy for winning stages.

Tweet of the Day

IMHO this was the best of a series of tweets today from my fellow VeloVoice – do check them all out. Obviously Chris agreed as he dropped the pink saddle and bar tape.

Stage results

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1 Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) 2:50:49

2 Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) same time

3 Jempy Drucker (BMC) s/t

4 Baptiste Planckaert (Katusha-Alpecin) s/t

5  Manuel Belletti (Androni-Sidermec) s/t

GC Top 10

1 Chris Froome (Sky) 89:02:39

2 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) +0.46

3 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +4.57

4 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) +5.44

5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) +8.03

6 Pello Bilbao (Astana) +11.08

7 Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) +12.19

8 George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) +12.35

9 Sam Oomen (Sunweb) +14.18

10 Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe) +15.16

All the jerseys

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Leader’s jersey Chris Froome (Sky)

Points jersey Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors)

KOM jersey Chris Froome (Sky)

Young rider’s jersey Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar)

For full results

Header image: ©GETTY/AFP/Luk Benies

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