Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) won the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia with Moreno Moser (Cannondale) taking 2nd and Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quickstep) rounding out the stage podium. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) kept the pink leader’s jersey once again.
Today the riders had a long 244km haul from Muggio to Pinerolo. The only real obstacle of the day came with 20km to go, when riders had to take on the category 2 Pramartino climb. With such a parcours on the cards and two tough stages coming up in the next two days, it was the perfect stage for a breakaway.
24 riders would form the break of the day and as soon as they had 2 minutes on the peloton, that was pretty much the stage set and gone as there were no GC threats in the front group and they gap grew quickly to 12 minutes. Unfortunately, no Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders made the break and so our African Team would take advantage of the easier day in the peloton to save energy for the tough upcoming weekend and protect the GC hopes of Kanstantsin Siutsou.
The break arrived at the Pramartino with a lead of 13 minutes, Brambilla and Moser clearly had the best legs on the climb as they went clear half way up the 5km ascent. There was a small chase group of 4 riders that formed behind them but after a short 500m cobbled kicker, Trentin manged to get away on his own and was in pursuit of the two leaders with 4km to go. It looked like Brambilla and Moser would decide the stage but in the final moments, Trentin got across with 300m to go and started his sprint immediately. Moser had no response while Brambilla enjoyed watching his team mate take the win.
For our African Team, it was all about keeping Siutsou’s top 10 GC aspirations alive over the Pramartino. The team did a great job protecting Siutsou all day and then delivering him to a good position for the climb. The peloton was reduced to just 20 of the top GC riders and Siutsou was there accompanied by Igor Anton for support as well. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) who started the stage in 11th on GC, just 18 seconds behind Siutsou, was dropped on the climb and so Anton contributed to the pace setting to help put time between Siutsou and the 11th position. In the end, Siutsou came home with all the other GC favourites and the gap back to 11th now sits at 2’38”.
Kanstantsin Siutsou – Rider
I have never experienced anything like this stage of the Giro d’Italia in a grand tour before. You think on a stage like today you start easy, there goes a big breakaway and that’s it. But, everyday has been full gas and today from 150km it was one line in the peloton. Our boys did a fantastic job, like Jay, Jaco and everybody else to keep me protected in the line. I never suffered or had to wait for a bidon or anything. Before the climb they kept me in position and after the climb Igor did a job for me to protect my general classification position. I am a little bit tired but we will just see how the next two days go, after that we can relax.