Race report

Romain Bardet takes great 2nd place after blockbuster GC battle on Blockhaus

Giro d'Italia

A blockbuster of a finale awaited the peloton this afternoon, as they took on a brutally tough day in the mountains and a finish atop the climb of Blockhaus. Leaving the neutralised zone in Isernia the peloton were immediately met with a trio of challenging climbs, where Nico Denz rode well to mark out several larger attacks that looked to form. Eventually the elastic snapped though and a breakaway went clear, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton, focusing on conserving energy and staying safe for later in the day.

As the stage progressed, the time to those ahead dwindled and going over the top of the penultimate climb they lead by three minutes, where Cees Bol, Alberto Dainese and Nico Denz had done a great job to position the guys. A fast descent followed before the riders immediately bounced back, with almost 26 kilometres of climbing from there to the line. Romain Combaud and Martijn Tusveld did the early positioning work as the break was caught, before Chris Hamilton took over in guiding Romain Bardet and Thymen Arensman in the ever-thinning GC group.

It became a race of attrition as riders dropped from the group one-by-one, with Arensman and Bardet making the final selection of around 12. Inside five kilometres to go Carapaz made his move, which split the group to pieces, with Bardet and Landa quickly onto his wheel, while Arensman rode at his own steady tempo as he fought to return. The pace remained high but a trio of chasers clawed their way back as the pace in Bardet’s group slowed. Heading into the final Bardet tried two attacks but he was unable to shake Carapaz and Landa from his wheel, so once again the trailing trio made it back; setting up a group sprint of six for the stage win.

Heading around the final it would be Hindley that kicked early, just holding on to take the stage win ahead of Bardet who fought back from deep, claiming a brilliant second place on the line. Behind, Arensman’s steady tempo saw him pick past a few other riders and end the day in tenth place; making for a strong double top ten finish on the day. With gaps amongst the GC riders, Bardet moves up to third place overall for Team DSM ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

“I think from a GC perspective we are in a good place,” explained Bardet. “We are where we need to be. It was really great, we’ve felt in control so far in the Giro – the guys have rode amazingly well. Of course today there is a bit of frustration because I would liked to have won but there are still plenty of stages left and for sure we are a good position so we can end the first week on a high note.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “The guys did a super job today once again to look after Romain at all of the key moments and then on the climb, with him taking second and moving into third on GC. I think we’ve done a really good week of teamwork which has brought us into this position. We’ve rode in a really controlled way, been in the front when we needed to be for the important moments. We’re in a really nice position in the race with second today and third on GC; for sure we would have taken that at the start of the race going into the first rest day.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 HINDLEY Jai BORA - hansgrohe 5:34:44 100
2 BARDET Romain Team DSM ,, 40
3 CARAPAZ Richard INEOS Grenadiers ,, 20
10 ARENSMAN Thymen Team DSM 0:58 -
30 HAMILTON Chris Team DSM 9:26 -
44 TUSVELD Martijn Team DSM 17:36 -
50 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM 21:11 -
81 DENZ Nico Team DSM 33:15 -
154 DAINESE Alberto Team DSM 44:58 -
165 BOL Cees Team DSM 45:46 -