Giro d’Italia 2017: Tejay van Garderen wins stage 18; Tom Dumoulin maintains lead; Adam Yates in white jersey

Climb-laden Dolomites stage fails to crack Dumoulin as breakaway succeeds

Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) beat Mikel Landa (Team Sky) on stage 18 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia as the breakaway succeeded, while Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) maintained his overall advantage.

On a climb-laden day in the Dolomites, Van Garderen took his first Grand Tour stage win – beating Landa in a two-up sprint after picking the better line at the finale.

And little more than a minute behind the race leaders, Dumoulin – who resisted every attempt by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) to attack him, led his two rivals across the finish line.

There were big changes in the GC however, not least Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) moving ahead of Bob Jungels (QuickStep Floors) and into the white jersey.

Tejay van Garderen won stage 18 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia, as the breakaway succeeded (pic – Sirotti)

With the climbing starting early in the stage, Diego Rosa (Team Sky), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Manuele Boaro (Bahrain-Merida) and Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing) led the way onto the Passo Pordoi.

The category one ascent saw no shortage of other riders trying to bridge across, in similar fashion to the previous day’s stage, and the fact pace – and the peloton’s response – meant riders were caught out very early on in the day.

Maglia rosa Dumoulin was left with just Laurens ten Dam for company after the first climb, and Sunweb had nobody in the large group forming off the front either.

Movistar, by contrast, had Andrey Amador and Winner Anacona once again, while King of the Mountains Landa and one of his closest challengers for the blue jersey, Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), were also up the road.

The pace eased up once the front group had got away – enough for Chad Haga to rejoin his team-mate Dumoulin on the front – but Nibali was alive to their tactics and his Bahrain-Merida team-mates immediately started pushing the pace themselves on the Valparola.

Orica-Scott then kicked hard on the front, bringing the gap down with Yates’ white jersey challenge in mind, and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) – who moved into the top ten the previous day – was the biggest casualty of their pace-setting.

In the front group, it was Team Sky driving the pace – Rosa and Philip Deignan trying to tee up Landa for the climb, but the blue jersey settled for second at the summit behind Fraile.

On the next climb, the Passo Gardena, the GC group was thinned again – Jungels dropping out the back as Orica-Scott’s earlier efforts paid off for Yates.

With the maglia rosa group down to 15 riders, Quintana and Nibali tested Dumoulin’s resolve but he chased well and the leading GC men – sans Jungels – stayed together.

Up the road, the front group was down to six riders, and over the top of the Passo di Pinei only Van Garderen and Landa remained, with Jan Hirt (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) chasing at a distance.

Quintana and co in the GC group held back, and it soon became clear why when Amador and Anacona in turn dropped back to support their team leader.

With 7km remaining, Quintana joined forces with Anacona to attack but Nibali closed the gap, with Dumoulin on his wheel, and the Dutchman proceeded to tease his rivals with a number of attacks of his own.

Yates lost contact with the GC group, but fought back well as Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacked, and Nibali, Quintana and Dumoulin marked each other.

Tom Dumoulin successfully defended the pink jersey (pic – Sirotti)

Up the road, Landa led the way onto the final run-in, but – as he was with Vincenzo Nibali two days earlier – the Team Sky man’s poor positioning on the final corner cost him dearly again.

It meant a maiden Grand Tour stage win for Van Garderen, before the focus switched to the GC men.

And while Pinot and Pozzovivo gained a couple of seconds, Dumoulin maintained his lead over Quintana and Nibali, with only two mountain stages and the final time trial to come.

Giro d’Italia 2017: stage 18 – result

1) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing – 3.54.04hrs
2) Mikel Landa (ESP) – Team Sky – ST
3) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +8”
4) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – ST
5) Jan Hirt (CZE) – CCC Sprandi Polkowice +11”
6) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +24”
7) Steven Kruijswijk (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +34”
8) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo – ST
9) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb +1.06
10) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar – ST

General classification

1) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb – 80.00.48hrs
2) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +31”
3) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.12
4) Thibaut Pinot (FRA) – FDJ +1.36
5) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +1.58
6) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +2.07
7) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +3.17
8) Steven Kruijswijk (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +5.48
9) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Scott +7.06
10) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors +7.24

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