Oh, what a dull dull stage this was, riding through the desert, past building sites. But once again, Elia Viviani gave us a thrill at the end, this time having to fend off a very dodgy Sam Bennett sprint line that nearly put the Italian into the barriers. Rohan Dennis stayed safe in pink and the only change in the GC top 5 was Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Fix All) losing time and dropping out of the top 10 altogether.
It was one of those stages – a one-star flat stage where everyone knows it’ll end in a bunch sprint. And it did. But what a bunch sprint. QuickStepper Elia Viviani went hell for leather after finding himself woefully out of position in the last few hundred metres to deny Jakub Mareczko (Wilier Triestina) the stage. Meanwhile, the intermediate sprint stage earlier in the race was the opportunity Rohan Dennis needed as his BMC teammates led him out to take 3 tiny seconds that put him in pink at the end of the day.
Tom Dumoulin started the 101st Giro the same way as he finished the 100th edition – popping prosecco on the top step of the podium clad in pink! Resplendent in rainbows the World Time Trial Champion mastered the twisty, lumpy parcours, to finish two seconds faster than long-time leader Rohan Dennis. Victor Campenaerts fought his body, bike and the clock all the way to the line to finish just a sliver of a second slower in third. Chris Froome was among the riders who crashed heavily during the reconnaissance of the course in the morning and finished 37 seconds off the pace.