Giro d’Italia 2019: Stage 18 – Cima wins a breakaway thriller

Stage 18 of the 2019 Giro d’Italia was one for the breakaway… just. Damiano Cima of Nippo-Vini-Fantini crossed the line inches ahead of a fast-approaching peloton, delivering the biggest result of his career and a first Giro success for his Italian team.

As if by magic, a stage for the sprinters appeared. After days of mountainous GC action, stage 18 offered the big guns a day off and they gladly took it. Everything about today felt half-hearted. Even the breakaway seemed a bit lacklustre compared with the all-star groupings we’ve been treated to over the last week. 

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However, appearances can be deceptive. Nico Denz (Ag2r), Damiano Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani) went up the road early on and looked to be an easy catch for the peloton. But that peloton got a bit lazy-assed and that breakaway had something extra in hand.

For the last 20 kilometres, we were treated to a thrilling climax as the bunch whittled down the advantage. In the end, they were about 10 metres too late. Damiano Cima judged his finish perfectly to take the win and bag Nippo Vini’s first ever stage victory at the Giro.

The Italian found just the right words to sum up his win:

“I can’t believe what just happened. I’ve spent so many kilometres in breakaways during this Giro. I thought I’d never make it, but I’ve won today. It’s insane. It’s the dream of a lifetime.”

Burn….

Watch the pulsating last kilometre here. Look at how close it was and how hacked off Pascal Ackermann (2nd) is…

Rider(s) of the race

There’s three of them. The day’s breakaway: Cima, Denz and Maestri. They worked together, they rode strongly and they played smart. How often do we see a break in pole position only for a large amount of faff in the closing kilometre to ruin things? These guys got it right and gave us a nail-biting finish when we were expecting a snoozeathon.

Cheer up Nico, you’re one of VeloVoices riders of the race…

All change in ciclamino

Pascal Ackermann (Bora) took second place on the stage allowing him to jump back into the lead of the points competition. This morning’s leader,Arnaud Demare (FDJ), only managed eighth. 

It’s a just reward for Bora who were far more active in chasing down today’s break than FDJ. And they have a better track record in ciclamino accessories. [Thank God! The nightmare of the clashing purples had ended! – ed]

What else happened?

Eh… not much. Richard Carapaz has gone with a full pink bike. Just the shorts to go now.

Which reminds me, if he is in the maglia rosa for Sunday’s time trial he needs to say NO to Movistar-issued pink booties.

Does Hubert Dupont know how to rock or does he know how to rock? [He’s in a band – The Spirit Levels – ed]

And some weirdo seemed to put a broken bike in the path of the breakaway…

Coming next

Stage 19 has seen the Giro turned on its head in two of the last three editions. This year it looks like stage 20 will be the decisive day but time is running out so someone just might try something.

And check out the tunnelled hairpins on the final climb

Stage Results – Top 5

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1 Damiano Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini Faizane) 4:56:04

2 Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe) same time

3 Simone Consonni (UAE-Team Emirates) s/t

4 Florian Senechal (Deceuninick Quick Step) s/y

5 Ryan Gibbons (Team Dimension Date) s/t

General Classification – Top 10

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1 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) 79:44:22

2 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:54 

3 Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +2:16

4 Mikel Landa (Movistar) +3:03

5 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +5:07

6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +6:17

7 Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe)  +6:48

8 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +7:13

9 Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) +8:21

10 David Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) +8:59

All the jerseys

Maglia rosa – Richard Carapaz (Movistar)

Maglia blanca – Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)

Maglia ciclamino – Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe)

For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews

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