Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 18– A blitzing win for Bettiol as the GC riders keep their powder dry.

Let the records show that Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia was taken in fine style by Alberto Bettiol of EF Education-Nippo. The Italian on the US team made it into the 23-man break on the longest stage of the race, attacked with panache over the four climbs in the finale, and soloed over the line in pure, unadulterated joy to take his first victory on home soil. Rather fittingly, considering the race organisers might have laughingly labelled this is a sprint stage, Simone Consonni (Cofidis) revved it up to take second place from Team DSM’s indefatigable Nicolas Roche. The peloton were led over the line, and indeed for most of the 180km after the break went away, by Filippo Ganna (INEOS) some 23 minutes later. There is no change in podium positions with Egan Bernal (INEOS) still in pink and still facing the mountains in the next two stages.

The boldness of Bettiol

The four climbs in the final kilometres set the tone for the rouleurs in the break to get their mojo on – they did not disappoint. Deceuninck Quick Step’s Remi Cavagna timed his bid for glory with precision, power and 26km to go. He got his gap and went straight to time trial mode. It looked all over.

Nicolas Roche and  Alberto Bettiol teamed up to chase the leader down

Bettiol attacked Roche and stalked Cavagna down

Catching and cruising past him just before the summit of the final climb.

With the sweet scent of victory driving him on Bettiol came to the finish line with seconds to spare to show that flashy ‘Euphoria’ EF kit to the cameras and celebrate in full euphoric style.

We love to see a key domestique rider given his chance. Who can forget the Bettiol and Hugh Carthy double act on stage 17.

Bettiol quote of the day…

Interviewer: Take us through the last 10km. You had to catch Remi Cavagna who is one of the best time triallists in the world.

Alberto: Yes but I’m also one of the best time triallists in the world!!!!

To breakaway or not to breakaway

The longest stage of the Giro, two crucial mountain stages and a time trial on the horizon all added up to two types of team strategies. First, the GC teams were desperate to let the break go and stay away all day so they could grind out the endless kilometres in a pace to suit them. Second, those teams without GC ambitions to shepherd, were desperate to get into the break away for one last shot at experiencing the pop of prosecco and the pink confetti cannon.

From the moment the flag dropped it was BRUTAL! The pace kept high as the attacks kept coming.

The paucity of sprinter teams upped the chaotic factor. I can only imagine some riders sending up a prayer to the cycling Gods to just make it STOP. Eventually the right combination of 23 riders made the cut.

The peloton breathed a sigh of relief, Ganna and teammate Salvatore Puccio came to front to set a nice’n’easy pace as the gap ballooned out to ‘the break is definitely going to win this stage’ territory. They stayed there all day!

When the race is long

Today’s stage traversed the Po valley. Long, flat roads that wound their way through some bucolic scenery. A transition stage to weaken the legs and heart of the riders before the tough days to come. For the cycling fans on Twitter this is licence to make hay…

We can always rely on NYVelocity for tractors

Bidon bar was spotted

All of the slo-mo shots and close ups

Thoughts turned to photographers

We had artsy shots on the TV too

The Final Words


Stage 17 Top 5 

1 Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) 5:14:43

2 Simone Consonni (Cofidis) +0:17

3 Nicolas Roache (Team DSM) same time

4 Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) s/t

5 Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) s/t

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 77:10:18

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +2:21

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +3:23

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +6:03

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +6:09

6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +6:31

7 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:17

8 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +8:45

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +9:18

10 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) +13:37

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Points jersey Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

King of the Mountains Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r Citroen)

Best Young Rider Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

For the full race review, go to cyclingnews 

Go here for the official Giro website

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