The queen stage of the Giro awaited the peloton on Friday afternoon as they rolled out of Longarone, with a 183 kilometre route backloaded with several challenging and famous climbs, including Passo Giau and the finish atop Tre Cime di Lavaredo. As expected, it was a furious battle to make the break in the early part of the race with the move eventually going after roughly 60 kilometres of hard action. With all Team DSM riders in the bunch, they focused on rallying around each other and helping Andreas Leknessund for as long as possible.
With the large gap given to those ahead, it was clear they would fight it out for the stage win so all eyes in the peloton were on the GC battle to come. It was a wearing down process over the climbs, all adding to the accumulated fatigue over the past three weeks of racing, and heading onto the penultimate ascent the GC group was down to around 20 riders.
The last ascent saw some incredibly steep double digit slopes and a strong pace set, which eventually blew the GC group to bits. Leknessund dug as deep as he could to try and hold on for as long as possible but eventually had to let go of the wheels. Riding his own pace to the line and encouraged from the car behind, Leknessund could limit his losses and finished the stage in a respectable 16th place. It’s a result which sees him sit ninth on GC ahead of tomorrow’s difficult time trial.