Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) claimed another bunch sprint victory in difficult conditions at Iseo ahead of his arch-rival Sam Bennett (Bora – Hansgrohe) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain – Merida). The Franciacorta stage was shortened as the neutral zone was extended by 5.5 kilometres. The race was contested on lumpy terrain with numerous attacks and, come the end, in pouring rain. Simon Yates (Mitchelton – Scott) retained the Maglia Rosa for the 12th straight day ahead of three mountain stages.
1 – Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) – 149.5km in 3h19’57”, average speed 44.861km/h
2 – Sam Bennett (Bora – Hansgrohe) s.t.
3 – Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain – Merida) s.t.
4 – Danny Van Poppel (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo) s.t.
5 – Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal) s.t.
1 – Simon Yates (Mitchelton – Scott)
2 – Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 56″
3 – Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain – Merida) at 3’11”
4 – Chris Froome (Team Sky) at 3’50”
5 – Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) at 4’19”
The stage winner, Elia Viviani, said: “My 10th win of the season and my fourth at the Giro d’Italia confirms the level I’ve reached since I joined Quick Step. I’ve only doubted myself at Imola where I had a bad day, but I came here with a very well-prepared team that was built to help me win stages. In addition to these victories, the Maglia Ciclamino was – and remains – my main goal of the season. I was pretty nervous this morning because I knew this was a unique occasion for Sam Bennett to take the jersey away from me. Therefore, we opted for a defensive tactic – firstly to make it back to the back after being dropped in a climb, secondly in the lead-up to the sprint. Eventually, my lead-out men could play their normal role, especially Fabio Sabatini who had a flat tyre before my second win in Eilat and a mechanical before my third win in Nervesa della Battaglia. He made the difference in the sprint today.”
The Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates, said: “I was expecting a much easier day today. It’s been a very fast stage. Everybody was looking for a breakaway. There were also candidates for a sprint finish. We didn’t make the race difficult but other teams did because they were never happy with the composition of the breakaways. We were happy for the breakaways to stay away but other teams were not, so it came down to a sprint. In the coming three days, I’ll watch Tom [Dumoulin] mostly and the other GC guys. I’m getting closer to the end. As the days tick down, I feel that I’m getting closer to the overall victory but I also feel that difficult days are coming so I’ll be careful. Tomorrow is the only day that I know the final climb but I expect a breakaway to finally succeed.”