Race report

Spicy finish sees Romain Bardet take 7th place in reduced GC group sprint

Giro d'Italia

With yesterday’s first official rest day behind them, as the day between Hungary and Italy counted as a travel day, the riders were faced with a stage that defined the “day of two halves” phrase. A flat opening 100 kilometres saw a small battle for the breakaway before three riders escaped and built up an advantage that peaked at six minutes.

As the kilometres progressed the gap dwindled and the peloton entered the “hill zone” with 80 kilometres to go, where the pace ramped up throughout. Riding well together as a group, the team stayed towards the front and out of trouble on the sinuous and twisting roads, and with 20 kilometres to go the race break was caught. Maintaining their position going into the final climb, the team wanted to keep Romain Bardet and Thymen Arensman on the GC, while there was also the potential that fast finishers Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese would make it over the ascent. However, an infernal pace was set on the front of the bunch, meaning that Bol and Dainese along with the rest of the sprinters had to let go with around one kilometre left on the ascent.

As a result, it was a reduced front group of around 30 GC riders and puncheurs that would go on to fight it out for the stage, with Arensman and Bardet in the selection. Despite multiple attacks in the finale, which both Team DSM riders were alert to, particularly Arensman who closed things down, it ended in a bunch sprint finish. Arensman did well to lead Bardet out who opened up his sprint on the uphill drag to the line but he was squeezed against the barriers and couldn’t compete for a podium finish. Nonetheless, he took a solid seventh place with Arensman also finishing safely in the GC group, with the team making it through a potentially tricky day unscathed.

“Today was a pretty tricky and hot day,” explained Arensman. “The first hundred kilometres were kind of easy, the boys kept a really nice position in the bunch. It was a bit of a nasty pace with the wind from the side a little bit, but that was all okay. We kept a nice position and tried to position ourselves really well for the hilly zone. There the pace went up and it got pretty hard. We tried to stay together and the boys did a good job to give me and Romain some bottles and ice, keeping us in a good position. In the final it really kicked off. Alberto and Cees did a great job to try and stay in the front group but on the last climb it was just an all-out GC battle, full-gas, so in the end it was Romain and I over the top. I saw some GC guys attacking and closed them down and did a lead-out for Romain where he took seventh spot. It was a good day, we survived well I think and the legs felt good.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 GIRMAY Biniam Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux 4:32:07 100
2 VAN DER POEL Mathieu Alpecin-Fenix ,, 40
3 ALBANESE Vincenzo EOLO-Kometa ,, 20
7 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, -
22 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM ,, -
40 BOL Cees Team DSM 1:02 -
51 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM ,, -
52 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM ,, -
53 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM ,, -
116 DENZ Nico Team DSM 8:48 -
117 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -