Giro d’Italia #20: Fraile fights all the way to finish 13th

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the final road stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) finished in 2nd and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) was 3rd. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) held onto the pink leaders’s jersey heading into tomorrow’s final time trial.

The final road stage of the Giro d’Italia saw the peloton take on 190km from Pordenone to Asiago. Two big climbs would provide the platform for attacks and the riders did not hold back today. Initially, 6 riders got away in an early break but when Katusha started pacing on the Monte Grappa, the gap dropped from 6-minutes to just under 2-minutes. The penultimate climb of the Giro also saw the peloton shatter to just the 20 best riders, Omar Fraile from Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was one of them, hanging tough with the big GC contenders.

On the descent, a few riders were able to come back to the front group but it remained a much reduced peloton heading toward the final climb of the Giro d’Italia. Fraile was committed to the final climb, despite the inevitable attacks of the main GC contenders. Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) and Zakarin attacked with around 15km to go and went into the lead on the stage. Later, Quintana, Pinot and Nibali came across the gap to make it 5 riders in front as they crested the climb with a 15″ lead over the Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) chase group of 6 riders. Fraile was in the 3rd group on the road, around 10″ further back with a 15km drag race to the line remaining.

It was an exciting final 20 minutes of racing as all the groups committed fully to driving the pace and it showed with the time gaps holding steady. In the final, Pinot was able to out-sprint the other GC contenders to take the stage win. Fraile never gave up and fought valiantly for the 13th position he took at the finishline. A great effort by our stage 11 victor.

Oli Cookson – Sport Director
We went into today’s stage with the aim of going into the break or literally hanging on to put Omar into a position to fight for the stage win. We missed the early break of 6 riders so we pulled on the front into a sharp 1km climb that came after 30km. Omar tried to jump across to the break then but Movistar weren’t letting him go. The peloton rode hard to the Monte Grappa climb and Omar did a great job of staying with the best. Onto the final and it split when the GC guys were trying to drop Dumoulin. Omar went over 10 seconds behind the Dumoulin group but it was going to take a lot of luck for them to look at each, so that Omar could come back to contend for the stage win. That didn’t happen in the end but he finished 13th on the stage and we should be very happy with the performance.