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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 31, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. - Rainer Maria Rilke

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Giro d'Italia stage 18 team reports

We posted the reports from the race organizer and 2nd-place Pascal Ackermann's Bora-hansgrohe team with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Damiano Cima's Nippo-Vini Fantini team:

Damiano Cima is the winner of the stage n.18 of the Giro d’Italia n.102. A victory obtained with extreme lucidity even after 172km of today’s breakaway and after almost 1000 km of riding in front of the bunch in Giro d’Italia. A victory achieved with a sprint in the sprint, with the advancing group reabsorbing just two meters before the line the two riders of the breakway except for Damiano Cima who today wrote a page of important history for him and for his team.

The embrace with Marco Canola after the finish line, the tears of Juan Josè Lobato, the fatigue accumulated by all the teammates in the 18 stages of this Giro d’Italia culminate in the best result of this team’s history, a victory in a World Tour stage, a victory in the most important race of the season: the Giro d’Italia.

Damiano Cima

Damiano Cima enjoys his big win. Sirotti photo.

Damiano Cima comments his victory, the fourth in his career, the first in Italy in the most important race: “During the race I really understood that we have the chance to arrive only 1km from the finish and it was a really intense final where I tried to keep calm and think about the last 350 meters. I thank also the other riders in the breakaway we worked together until the end to play our chances. I am really happy to have succeeded in giving a victory to all the people who believed in me. To the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team, to the DS Mario Manzoni who strongly wanted me and believed in me, to all the teammates with whom we fought in these days and with whom we had staked this stage. My thoughts also go to my family who made sacrifices to make me run, to my girlfriend Veronica and two people who are no longer here, namely my grandfather, a great cycling fan and Pierino Farimbella.”

Nervous day, where a massive final sprint was expected, the breakaway started with attacks and attacks. At km 50 the winning attempt starts with Damiano Cima, Mirco Maestri and Nico Denz. The escape takes off but seems to be kept under control by the group that only in the final 20 km accelerates considerably, but in front of the three athletes are good and intelligent continuing to cooperate perfectly up to 3km from the finish line when some shots and attempts begin. Damiano Cima despite the almost 1,000 km of breakaway (about 930) collected in 4 actions rode in front of the group. The athlete from Brescia born in 1993 and professionally launched by the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team, is the athlete who has collected the most km of escape in this Giro d’Italia, crowned and culminated today in the most beautiful dream for every rider: the victory in the Pink Race.

Third-place Simone Consonni's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this report:

After more than two and a half weeks of supporting his team mates, Simone Consonni was finally able to demonstrate his sprinting prowess when he exploded in the final few hundred meters of stage 17 to take a third place finish behind Pascal Ackermann (Bora Hansgrohe) and the stage winner Damiano Cima (Nippo Vini Fantini Faizane).

Up until today Consonni had served his team mates selflessly, firstly as the lead out man for Fernando Gavira and then as a domestique for Conti and Polanc whilst they wore the pink. However, he was able to get his Giro reward after fighting for position in the final kilometres of the race to come second in the bunch sprint, just behind the Cima, who was the solo breakaway rider left up the road.

Commenting the stage, Consonni said: “Third place is a good result for me and I’m really pleased with it, even if we didn’t catch all the break. Even though this is the third week of the Giro I felt good in the sprint. Though it’s been a hard race for us- first working for Gaviria, then Conti and Polanc when they were in pink. It’s another step in my career as I always hope to be improving as a rider. This result definitely gives me confidence for making the most of the next opportunity I get.”

Unfortunately, Valerio Conti was forced to abandon the race after making history for the team by wearing the pink jersey for six days consecutively during the second week of racing.

Valerio Conti

Former Maglia Rosa Valerio Conti had to abandon the Giro. Sirotti photo.

Doctor Jarrad Van Zuydam, physician from UAE Team Emirates, explains: “Over the past week, Valerio has been struggling with pain due to a cyclist’s nodule, ischial hygroma [a kind of saddle sore]. We have been treating his condition with some success but unfortunately, his condition deteriorated significantly after the stage yesterday”.

Tomorrow the Giro heads back to the hills with a 151km route from Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza. The stage features two categorized climbs along the way before a final summit finish which takes the riders up a 13km ramp that averages just under 6%

Here's the report from fourth-place Florian Senechal's Deceuninck-Quick Step team:

A largely downhill course was on the cards for the 222km-long stage 18, which started in Valdaora and concluded in Santa Maria di Sala, the hometown of Antonio Bevilacqua, the 1951 Paris-Roubaix champion and winner of eleven stages at the Giro d’Italia. On paper, it wasn’t a route suitable to a breakaway, and that was why only three riders escaped from the peloton’s clutches after a rapid start to the stage.

The trio took their margin north of six minutes after 50 kilometers, but despite that, the field took it easy and didn’t look too worried, starting the chase only with 80 kilometers to go. As they passed through the second intermediate sprint, the clock showed a gap of just 2:20, but inexplicably, it went up again to three minutes, encouraging the escapees to keep pushing.

A couple of 90-degree left-handers inside the last ten kilometers helped the three leaders to hold their advantage over the peloton at one minute, but a late injection of pace eventually reduced the gap to 17 seconds under the flamme rouge. A cat-and-mouse game between the three helped the chasers make inroads, but just as they looked on the verge of catching them, Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini) opened his sprint and nabbed the stage honours.

Florian Senechal

Florian Senechal winning Le Samyn earlier this year.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step got in the mix with Florian Sénéchal, who despite being boxed in as he was preparing to kick out, found some space and had the strength to sprint in the hectic finale, coming just outside the podium. The 25-year-old Frenchman, who is riding his fifth Grand Tour, took his sixth top 10 finish of a season which saw him score a maiden pro victory in March, at Le Samyn.

And here's the report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team Movistar:

The dream for every small team, and also for every rides who goes on a breakaway, became true for Italian youngster Damiano Cima (NIP) at the finish of stage 18 in the 2019 Giro d’Italia, as his 170km effort saw him beating the sprinters by just few meters after leaving escape companions Mirco Maestri (BRD) and Nico Denz (ALM) in the final straight.

Thursday’s action lacked, fortunately, any significance for the Movistar Team and Richard Carapaz as he had absolutely no problems to retain his GC lead. Sütterlin, Mas, Pedrero, Carretero, Rojas and Amador worked once again as a sole rider to keep the Carchi native well protected, with both Richie and Mikel Landa staying in their coveted GC places –‘Richie’ in the lead by 1’54”; the Basque in fourth, 47″ behind the podium-.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz still has a couple of mountain stage and a time trial to go.

The Blues will now head into the weekend that could crown them as winners of the 2019 Giro. Friday will see them tackle the first big test: 151km from Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza (Cat-2), a quite lumpy route for most of the day yet overshadowed by the 13.6km (5.6% avg.) of its final ascent.

REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“It was a stage which seemed easy on paper, yet the early phase in the mountains was quite intense before the break went away, and in such finishes there’s always stress and an effort to make. The important thing is I was able to finish with a good feeling again, and there were no setbacks, crashes nor mechanicals for any team rider. It will be a different thing tomorrow: it’s another big test in the mountains for us. All three remaining stages will be crucial. We feel ready for the challenge in our team, and above all, confident that we can do well. Let’s tackle the stage focused, give our best and hopefully retain the Maglia Rosa before that final weekend.”

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