The Slovenian rider wins on Etna in similar fashion to his solo victory on Abetone in 2015. The Luxembourger wears the Maglia Rosa just like last year.
Two years after he won climbing the Abetone, Slovenia’s Jan Polanc claimed the first uphill finish of the 100th Giro d’Italia as he soloed to victory on Mount Etna, surviving from a long breakaway despite the strong wind blowing on Sicily’s famous vulcano. Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels – who wore the Maglia Rosa for three days last year – moved into the lead ahead of British riders Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates.
1 – Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) – 181km in 4h55’58”, average speed 36.693km/h
2 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) at 19″
3 – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) at 29″
Today’s stage winner Jan Polanc said: “We were only four riders in the breakaway. Two of them were already at the limit, so at the bottom of the climb, it was not difficult to drop them off. It was more difficult to maintain the difference with the bunch. I had to push as much as I could in the last few hundred meters. I knew the top favourites were chasing hard. I was thinking of this stage when we were here for a training camp with the team, so I went away knowing that if we were to be caught, I’be up there for my captain. It was a more difficult to win here today than on the Abetone two years ago because the climb to the Etna is steeper and there was much more wind.”
The Maglia Rosa, Bob Jungels, said: “Two days ago our move in the crosswinds was an intention but not a plan. This morning also, I knew there was a possibility to gain the Maglia Rosa. I had to stay in the wheels because there was a lot of headwind. An 18km climb is always a bit of a gamble. I struggled a lot to get in the first part of the group, but I managed to stay calm and follow my goal. I didn’t have too many things in mind until I heard [sport director] Davide Bramati screaming in the radio ‘go for pink’. I’m super happy that I can sit here. The colour of my jersey has changed but I still see this Giro as a milestone for my career. I’m hungry but also realistic. At the Blockhaus, Nairo [Quintana] and other skinnier guys than me might have an advantage.”