After the rest day, the Giro d’Italia gets back on track with Magnus Cort (Education First) taking the victory in a true infernal day: pouring rain, sub-zero temperatures… a terrain where the Danish rider thrives.
The Giro is attempting to recover from the departure of one of the race’s leading candidates. Without Remco Evenepoel, a fresh Giro begins, with six cyclists competing for the prized Maglia Rosa. The 192 kilometres to Viareggio promised to be the start of a very unexpected race.
However, weather-wise, everything played out somewhat similarly to last week. The rain continued to fall on the riders, and when paired with the below-freezing temperatures, it threatened the stage’s regular progression. Nevertheless, the organisers gave the start signal, and the breakaway that would dominate the tenth stage quickly formed.
The breakaway formed in two waves, with Alessandro De Marchi and Derek Gee being caught by Davide Bais and Magnus Cort just before reaching the Apennines. The Passo delle Radici didn’t sink the escapees but had a significant effect on the peloton.Aleksandr Vlasov has joined the list of race withdrawals: the Russian cyclist suffered on the climb and had to withdraw from the Giro due to illness.
The leading quartet managed to increase their advantage over the peloton, largely due to the disorganisation prevailing within it. No one was determined to chase, indicating that the victory was in the hands of the escapees. Despite this, they had a scare: with 20 km to go, the gap decreased from five minutes to one minute and fifteen seconds.However, the lead was enough for the breakaway to begin the final sprint without being threatened by the peloton.
Cort completes the Grand Slam
De Marchi was the first to attack, but it was Magnus Cort who came out on top, completing the Grand Slam of stage victories in all three Grand Tours. For the second time in four days, Gee finished second. The Canadian cyclist is still seeking his first Giro victory, but he has shown his abilities in the decisive sprints. De Marchi closed out the top 3 of the stage, while Bais eventually succumbed. The peloton arrived 51 seconds behind Cort.
“It was one of the most challenging times of my life,” Cort remarked. “We didn’t have much choice but to keep pushing.” I don’t recall ever doing a stage like this with so much pushing in the hills. It was one of the hardest stages I’ve done on a bike. At times I was out there in the cold and almost didn’t know what was going on”, Cort told the press.
Thomas retains the Maglia Rosa
In the overall standings, Geraint Thomas maintains a two-second lead over his nearest rival, Primoz Roglic. Thomas’ teammate at Ineos, Tao Geoghegan Hart, sits in third position, trailing by five seconds.
The 11th stage of the Giro is the longest of the entire race, covering the 219 kilometres that separate Camaiore from Tortona. The stage should be favourable for sprinters, with few significant climbs and a long final descent in Tortona. Cavendish is among the favourites, but with such a long stage, you never know what might happen.