Tim Merlier held his speed and his nerve in a chaotic sprint to give Giro debutantes Alpecin-Fenix their first podium, and claim his first GT victory and the GORGEOUS maglia ciclamino. The ‘fastest man in Belgium’ screamed to the front with 250m to go, holding off Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka ASSOS) and Cofidis’ Elia Viviani who had to settle for second and third respectively. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) retains the pink jersey, so the only other change in GC is the rise of Remco Evenepoel as he grabbed two seconds to put him on the same time as Deceuninck QuickStep teammate Joao Almeida. Looks like Patrick Lefevre’s comment of leaving this tussle to be settled on the road is coming true.
Stage 1: Belfast to Belfast, 21.7km team time trial
Orica-GreenEDGE dominated the opening team time trial stage to put birthday boy Svein Tuft into the maglia rosa. But in front of enthusiastic Belfast crowds, who were undeterred by rain which began to fall shortly after the start, Irish star Dan Martin slid out on the wet roads and was forced to abandon with a collarbone injury.
Stage 6: Mola di Bari to Margherita di Savoia, 154km
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took his second win, finishing well ahead of runner-up Elia Viviani (Cannondale) – once more a bridesmaid – and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE). Continue reading