Former junior and U23 World Champion Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) took his first Giro d’Italia stage victory after opening his Grand Tours account at La Vuelta last year. The longest stage this year was an eventful one with runner-up Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) losing contact with the main peloton on the first climb and finishing with a deficit of 25 minutes, whereas his teammate, Simon Yates, increased his overall lead as he won the intermediate sprint awarding a time bonus ahead of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
1 – Matej Mohoric (Bahrain – Merida) – 244km in 6h04’52”, average speed 40.124km/h
2 – Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
3 – Sam Bennett (Bora – Hansgrohe) at 34″
1 – Simon Yates (Mitchelton – Scott)
2 – Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 41″
3 – Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) at 46″
The stage winner, Matej Mohoric, said: “Today’s goal was to make the breakaway. I did at the beginning with 12 other riders but, unfortunately, because of what happened to Chaves, the peloton came across. After that, I remained close to Domenico Pozzovivo until I asked him if I could ride behind Villela since I felt very good. He gave me the green light. I’m delighted that I have taken this opportunity. I wasn’t convinced I’d win the sprint against Nico Denz. That’s why I tried to drop him a few times before. Maybe I pulled a bit more than him. It was a hard stage and subsequently a different sprint than if we had arrived fresh. I’m not very good in a sprint from a slow speed so I launched and I increased my speed as much as I could. We came to the Giro to win stages from breakaways with Giovanni Visconti and myself, and sprints with Niccolo Bonifazio, but our main goal remains to help Pozzovivo for the best overall ranking possible.”
The Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates, said: “We had an extremely difficult start. It was the most aggressive stage I’ve seen for a while. This usually happens in short stages only. But this was a long and ferocious race. The high speed never stopped. I first thought Esteban Chaves would be able to come back but it was a really crazy stage and I’m very disappointed for him as I know he’s worked very hard for this. As for the tactics, I’d prefer he’d still be there, so we could play more cards and tactics in the final. I’m not scared of the third week; I’m scared of the time trial. I know I’ll lose some time there. That’s why I gained three seconds in an intermediate sprint today. If I keep gaining here and there, I’ll be happy. I’m confident that I’m going well and I have a great team to support me, but I know it won’t be easy. My rivals are very strong. I’m self confident as always and I’m understanding what I’m trying to achieve.”