Filippo Zana Triumphs in Dramatic Sprint: Thomas Is One Step Closer to The Final Win

Filippo Zana, the Italian road race champion, emerged victorious in a thrilling two-man sprint against Thibaut Pinot to claim his first grand tour win on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia. Zana’s decisive effort on the Veneto region’s home roads saw him surpass Pinot and take the stage victory.

Filippo Zana displayed incredible speed in a dramatic finale in Val di Zoldo, overtaking Thibaut Pinot in a thrilling two-man sprint to claim his maiden grand tour victory at the Giro d’Italia. With a spectacular victory on the Veneto circuits, the Italian road race champion delighted his home audience.

While Pinot showcased his trademark swashbuckling performance in the Dolomites, leading the charge towards the finish line, it was Zana’s decisive surge from behind that propelled him to the stage win. The home advantage was critical to Zana’s success, as he outlasted Pinot and won the coveted victory.

Roglic Climbs to Second Place as Thomas Defends Pink Jersey on Stage 18

In the general classification, Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma moved up to second place, trailing Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos by 29 seconds. Thomas, celebrating his 37th birthday, successfully defended his maglia rosa, fending off attacks from Roglic and his teammates on the demanding final climb.

João Almeida of UAE Team Emirates dropped to third place, 39 seconds behind Thomas,  while Eddie Dunbar of Jayco AlUla climbed up to fourth, 3 minutes and 39 seconds behind the overall leader. Pinot took peace in reclaiming the title of “King of the Mountains.”

Thomas expressed happiness with his performance on stage, stating that gaining time on Almeida while being close to Roglic made for an excellent and solid day.  He highlighted Roglic’s strength but remained content with the outcome, emphasising the importance of maintaining consistency and resilience.

The day started quickly, with a high average pace and multiple attacks. However, no breakaway occurred until the first of the day’s five categorised climbs, the Passo dello Crosetta. The race was initially controlled by Roglic and Jumbo-Visma, but it was Team Ineos that accelerated the pace, briefly separating the Slovenian GC candidate.

By the halfway point, the breakaway group of seven riders had acquired a six-minute lead. The margin fell to 4 minutes and 25 seconds as the smaller peloton approached the Forcella Cibiana with 20 kilometres remaining. The escape group included Warren Barguil, Derek Gee, Marco Frigo, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, and Davide Gabburo, but it was Zana and Pinot who emerged as the key competitors on the last ascent.

Stage 19: the final chance for Roglic and Almeida?

Stage 19, scheduled for the following day, presented an even more challenging route with 183 km from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. It included five categorised climbs, including three category-one ascents, and encompassed over 5,000m of climbing, promising another demanding day in the mountains for the riders. This could be Roglic and Almeida’s last chance to win the Maglia Rosa, so it should be an exciting stage.

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