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.
Tim Wellens’ solo victory on Saturday’s queen stage during a Dantesque deluge brought him a suitcase full of jerseys, including the race leader’s, and a healthy GC margin, which he maintained into Monday’s individual time-trial (after the organisers cancelled Sunday’s stage). He finished only some 30 seconds off overall runner-up Fabio Felline and third placed Alberto Bettiol to confirm his overall victory.
The first nine days of the Giro have been jam-packed with action – and stories. Last week seems to have been all about paradoxes – the good and the bad, the mouthy and the silent, the boring and the restful – in the form of Contador, Formolo, Flecha, Cipollini, Dowsett and Sagan (among others).