The stage after a rest day often throws up a surprise (not least the Covid +s) and that’s exactly what happened on today’s hilly Stage 10 in the Giro d’Italia. In his maiden Giro, Peter Sagan (Bora) soloed to his long-awaited first victory of the season after going in the day’s breakaway, and holding off the chase from the GC contenders. Brendan McNulty (UAE) was runner-up while race leader Joao Almeida (DSQ) nicked a cheeky four bonus seconds on his rivals to round out the podium.
How the stage was won
The day belonged to Peter Sagan who royally entertained us as only he can.
The 30-year-old Slovakian fought hard to be part of the early break on a stage full of steep climbing, in search of the points on offer in the intermediate sprint. Clearly he’s not yet ready to concede the points jersey to Arnaud Demare (FDJ).
But having bagged maximum points, he carried on.
In the final 20km of the stage, Peter had only Ben Swift (Ineos) for company, whom he dropped on the final climb of the day. This topped out with just over 10km left, with the GC contenders breathing down his neck a mere 22 seconds behind. Throwing caution to the wind, he pushed out his advantage on the treacherous final descent made worse by the heavily falling rain.
None of the GC contenders’ teams were able to control their pursuit of Sagan, who sustained his enormous efforts to take his maiden career victory at the Giro in style. It was his 17th grand tour win, making him the 100th rider with victories in all three grand tours. He’s now within 20 points of the maglia cyclamino!
Speaking seconds after the stage finish, the three-time former world champion said:
I won with my style, putting on a show! We were in the breakaway all day, I had good legs, and went solo on the uphill before descending with attention in the downhill and then full gas in the final kilometres.
It was clear that Sagan had re-found his missing mojo today, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.
GC shaken up
Aside from race leader Joao Almeida attacking in the final kilometres to gain four bonus seconds ahead of his main rivals, there were a few other significant events. Steven Kruijswijk (11th on GC) and his entire Jumbo Visma team withdrew (see below), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), distanced on the final climb, slipped 9 places to 16th while Jakob Fuglsang‘s (Astana) inopportune puncture saw him lose over a minute and slip to 11th.
Will the Giro reach Milan?
And, if it does, will it be a case of last man standing? These were the questions on everyone’s lips this morning after two teams, several support staff for other teams and Michael Matthews of Sunweb, whose teammate Wilco Kelderman is currently runner-up, pulled out because of Covid positives. Chances are there will be more positives as the week progresses. At what point would they call the race?
The final word
Stage 10 results
1 Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) 4:01:56
2 Brandon McNulty (UAE-Emirates) +0:19
3 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:23
4 Ben Swift (Ineos-Grenadiers) same time
5 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) s/t
GC Top 10
1 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 39:38:05
2 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:34
3 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +0:43
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) +0:57
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +1:01
6 Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) +1:15
7 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +1:19
8 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:21
9 Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +1:36
10 Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain McLaren) +1:52
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Points jersey Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
King of the Mountains Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling)
Best Young Rider Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
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Official race website: Giro d’Italia
Header image: ©GETTY/Velo/Tim de Waele