The first battle in the Dolomites drew a draw between the leader, a solid Geraint Thomas on his 37th birthday, and a recovered Primoz Roglic, who entered side by side keeping their pulse on each other. But the third in the fight for the Giro d'Italia, João Almeida, got off the hook and gave up 20 seconds with the pink jersey. So Roglic, thanks to his two attacks, weakened the Portuguese and rises to second place overall, with three days to go.
In the 18th stage, the first in the Dolomites, between Oderzo and Val di Zoldo (161 km), the Italian road champion Filippo Zana (Jayco AlUla) prevailed, winning, in his hometown of Veneto, the hand-to-hand sprint hand to the French Thibaut Pinot, after a long breakaway of seven riders and a beating of 4 hours and 25 minutes, at an average of 36.5 km/hour.
The group that escaped from the first of the five mountain passes of the day, the Passo della Crosetta, came to accumulate a lead of 4 and a half minutes over the peloton with 10 km to go.
Roglic and Thomas were closely marked and entered seventh and eighth, respectively, 1m56s behind the winner of the day. The Welshman did hard work, hooking onto the Slovenian's wheel in the final stretch of the stage, while Almeida, behind them (9th) tried to keep in touch with his two rivals, but showed weaknesses in the penultimate climb and He ended up leaving 20 seconds.
So now the Portuguese accumulates a delay of 39 seconds with the leader. Roglic remains the same, at 29 seconds, so he is ahead of Almeida. But the fight is in the air.
The penultimate stage of the Giro, this Friday, promises strong emotions, in the second assault on the Dolomites: 183 km between Longarone and the spectacular Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the last chance for Roglic and Almeida to turn the classification around. Cyclists will have to ascend three first-category peaks, with a cumulative drop of 5,400 meters.