This classic Tour de France dress rehearsal was a slow burner, only coming alight in the mountains after two time-trials and two sprint stages. Sky’s Geraint Thomas won his fifth one-week stage race in Indurain-like fashion, off the back of his performances in the time-trials and his consistency in the mountains. He measured his efforts to resist everything that second-placed Adam Yates – winner of the final stage – and third-placed Romain Bardet could throw at him on the ascents and descents. There was to be no repeat of last year’s ultimate stage denouement.
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. Continue reading
A shorter stage, a lively route with a tricky, steep, cobbled finish – used in stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico and won by Adam Yates – that wound round the ramparts of the historic finish town. This should’ve suited a punchy, explosive rider. It did, but not one everybody expected. Race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) shot up that final climb like a rocket to take his second stage win. Defending champion Tom Dumoulin had him in his sights but couldn’t close the gap on that final cobbled kilometre, which seemed to go on forever. However, he’s only 47 secs back. Davide Formolo (Bora-hansgrohe) took third place. The top two tightened their grip on GC and there are now only four riders within two minutes of Yates.