The final mountain stage, the final summit finish – and once again the GC was shaken. This time, it was Thibaut Pinot who bonked something fierce and lost nearly an hour. A sad farewell to a podium place for a rider who helped animate this year’s Giro. Tom Dumoulin did his best to attack Chris Froome in the final 10km but couldn’t get a gap to take back those 40sec. Froome only needs to get over the finish line safely tomorrow to win his first Giro d’Italia. But the good news story of the day was a birthday solo stage win for Mitchelton Scott’s Mikel Nieve.
Max Schachmann of Quick-Step Floors took his maiden Grand Tour victory on a day the breakaway contested the stage win for the first time this Giro. However, the headlines are all about what happened behind him. Stage 18 saw the first of three summit finishes that will decide the destination of the maglia rosa and who gets to share the podium in Rome. Simon Yates had his first bad day finishing with his advantage over Tom Dumoulin slashed to just 28 seconds to set up a nail-biting finale.
Quick-Step Floors played it cool to deliver Elia Viviani his fourth victory after a day of frantic action. With the maglia ciclamino still in play and never quite the right combination of riders in the break, BORA-hansgrohe and Mitchelton-Scott chased every attack and kept any move on a tight leash. Sam Bennett was boxed in on the run to the line, his late kick only enough for second place. Niccolo Bonifazio rounded out the podium. The GC contenders finished together, just pleased to have survived a day of full-gas action.