Polanc joined Eugenio Alafaci (Trek-Segafredo), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) and Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo) in forming the day’s break, and they were allowed a decent margin as the peloton settled back into the racing rhythm.
QuickStep Floors, with pink jersey Gaviria in their number, hit the front to control proceedings but the pace was steady at best.
The long Portella Femmina Morta climb failed to cause big problems – the steady gradient and steady pace comfortable enough for the fast men, Gaviria among them – to get over with little trouble.
Janse van Rensburg took the honours at the top of the climb, ahead of a visibly unhappy Polanc, while King of the Mountains Daniel Teklehaimanot led the peloton over with the gap down to less than seven minutes.
Trips to the team car aside, there was no real drama to report in the peloton – with the action being saved for Mount Etna – but Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) did become the first rider to leave this year’s race, still suffering the effects of a late crash on Sunday.
Alafaci’s day in the break ended prematurely, and he was swept up by the peloton with 29km remaining – Bahrain-Merida having taken control of the bunch through Valerio Agnoli.
Andre Greipel, in the points jersey, was spat out by the bunch on the uncategorised climb to Ragalna, but Gaviria remained third wheel – giving a good account of himself in the maglia rosa.