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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 26, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. - Winston Churchill

Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies

Les Woodland's book Cycling's 50 Triumphs and Tragedies: The rise and fall of bicycle racing's champions is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia stage eighteen reports

We posted the report from stage winner Filippo Zana's Team Jayco AlUla with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Geraint Thomas put in a controlled performance to defend the maglia rosa and extend his race lead on stage 18.

Geraint Thomas remains in pink. Sirotti photo

Thomas was the only rider able to react to a late attack from Primoz Roglic on the final ascent, following the Jumbo Visma rider before the pair worked together to gain time on their rivals.

The duo finished 21 seconds ahead of second placed Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) who drops down to third. Thomas now leads the race by 29 seconds from Roglic, with Almeida 39 seconds back.

Earlier, the Grenadiers had combined well on the first climb of the day, the category one Passo della Crosetta to reduce the peloton and deter attacks from the competitors.

Laurens de Plus and Thymen Arensman were key to supporting Thomas, with Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift then re-joining the team after the descent to pace the majority of the stage.

De Plus then picked up the reigns again on the Cat 1 climb, Forcella Cibiana, reducing the GC bunch further before Sepp Kuss and Roglic went on the offensive, with only Thomas able to join him to extend his overall lead.

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Here's the Giro report from Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Primoz Roglic has bounced back from a lesser day on Tuesday in the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Slovenian and his teammate Sepp Kuss made a late breakaway during a stage with over four thousand metres of climbing. This allowed them to gain time on some of their rivals.

Primoz Roglic leads Geraint Thomas across the finish line. Sirotti photo

Kuss took the initiative on the Coi, allowing Roglic to launch an attack. João Almeida struggled on the steep sections and had to let the others go. Roglic then took the lead, and only Geraint Thomas could follow. At the finish line, the duo was 21 seconds ahead of Almeida, with the Slovenian Team Jumbo-Visma leader now in second place.

"The climb of the Coi is just right for Primoz. We can be satisfied with the time he gained today. On days like today, you can only compete with the best if you are one hundred percent. Luckily Primoz is in good shape. We look forward to tomorrow's queen stage, where we can try something as a team for the last time in this Giro. Saturday's time trial will be a man-to-man battle", Kuss said.

"That's how we know Primoz. Hopefully, he can continue in this vein over the next few days", Michel Hessmann added. The young German (21) is still not feeling tired in the third week of his first grand tour. "It's going well. I'm surprised I'm still riding so fresh in the last week. Today, as a team, we did everything possible to put Primoz in a good position. In the end, I was lucky to be able to slow down towards the finish. This allowed me to save some energy for tomorrow, another very tough stage."

Sports director Marc Reef was pleased with the result of the first of two Dolomite stages. "Primoz reacted very well today to his lesser day on Tuesday. Today Almeida had to give in to Primoz's attack. He seems to have had a bad day. Maybe Thomas, who could follow today, will have the same problem in the next two days. With the five riders his team has left in the race, they can control the race up to a certain point. When the real battle starts, they, too, will be struggling. Maybe we can take advantage of one of their weak moments", the sports director said.

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Here's the stage 18 report from Derek Gee's Team Israel-Premier Tech:

Derek Gee and Marco Frigo continue to impress in this year’s Giro d’Italia. On stage 18, the two young IPT riders finished in fourth and sixth place after another big day in the mountains.

Derek Gee finishes fourth. Sirotti photo

“Today was another good day for us. We had pin-pointed this day as one for the breakaway to make it and we went all in”, Frigo said after the stage.

On the first big categorized climb of the day, Gee and Frigo attacked and got a gap. The IPT duo kept a high pace, which only allowed a handful of other riders to join the front group.

“I felt great on the first climb, so we went for it. Then I got to the top and thought ‘oh… there is still a long way to go’”, Gee joked as he looked back on yet another hard day at the front of the race.

The breakaway worked well together all day and on the top of the penultimate big climb, with 25 km to go, Derek and Marco still had a gap of nearly five minutes on the peloton. At this point it was certain that the stage winner would come from the break and at the bottom of the final climb, attacks started to occur.

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Filippo Zana (Team Jayco AlUla) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) upped the pace and despite putting up a brave fight to stay in the wheel, Gee had to let go with about 8 km to go. Ultimately, the two riders stayed away to fight for the win, while our Canadian neo-pro turned himself inside out to finish in fourth place. His fifth Top5 result in this year’s Giro d’Italia. Zana won the stage.

“Marco and I were both pretty cooked coming in to the final climb, so we just decided to sit on and try to follow. Maybe I went a little too deep trying to go with Zana and Pinot but I’ve already been second three times in this race, so I thought that I might as well try today. At the end, the legs just gave out on me”, Gee explained.

Frigo, too, fought courageously on the final climb and little by little, he clawed his way closer to the leading riders. In the end, he crossed the line in sixth place, which is the 23-year-old Italian’s third Top 10 result in the race.

“I gave everything I had on the last climb, riding my own pace. I’m really happy with today’s performance and once again, together with Derek, we showed our eagerness to try to get that victory!”, Frigo said.

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