Arrendondo Takes Stage 18 of Giro d'Italia
Julian Arredondo (Trek) has climbed to victory in Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia. Arredondo powered away from the remains of the break of the day to win the mountainous, 171-km ride from Belluno to Rifugio Panarotta (Valsugana) in 4:49:51. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) took second at 0:17, and Philip Deignan (Sky) finished third at 0:37. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains the maglia rosa.
On the day’s first climb, the Category 1 Passo San Pellegrino, 14 riders jumped clear. They were Arredondo, Dario Cataldo (Sky), Eduardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF), Emanuele Sella and Franco Pellizotti (both from Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), Deignan, Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol), Thomas de Gendt (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank), Martijn Belzer (Belkin), Duarte, Alberto Losada (Katusha), Ivan Basso (Cannondale), and Matteo Rabottini (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo). Movistar rode tempo at the front of the peloton, while the escapees ran up a lead that maxed out at eight minutes at the summit of the Category 2 Passo del Redebus (122.8 km).
By the time that the breakaways reached the base of the Category 1 ascent to the finish, it was evident that a member of the break would win. De Gendt was the first attacker. With 10 km left, the Belgian led Cataldo by 0:25, while Arredondo and Deignan were not far behind the Italian. The three chasers joined forces, and Duarte and Pellizotti caught up to them. The quintet chipped away at De Gendt’s advantage, and Arredondo caught the Omega Pharma-Quick Step man with six km to go.
The Trek man dropped the Belgian. Duarte caught his compatriot, and de Gendt, Deignan, and Pellizotti joined them. De Gendt attacked, but Pellizotti caught and dropped him. Arredondo and Duarte bridged up to Pellizotti, and then Arredondo attacked. He spent the last 100 m of his race celebrating.
Behind, the general classification battle resumed. Europcar did pacemaking for Pierre Rolland, who was 0:02 behind Cadel Evans (BMC) in the struggle for third place. Rolland’s teammate Romain Sicard launched an attack that Rolland followed. Evans withstood that attack, but the Frenchman’s next move dropped the Australian. Rolland attacked two more times until he got clear of the maglia rosa group. Wout Poels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) went to the front of the group to protect teammate Rigoberto Uran’s second place overall. Fabio Aru (Astana) attacked to secure third place. The Italian closed to within 0:02 of Rolland.
The stage produced another shakeup of the standings. Evans plummeted from third at 3:21 to ninth at 4:59. Rolland rose from fourth at 3:26 to third at 3:29. Aru climbed from fifth to fourth. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) rose to seventh to sixth, while Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) climbed from ninth to seventh.
Arredondo had to be talked out of attacking at the base of the final climb. “I have to give a big thanks to my director and coach Josu [Larrazabal],” Arrendondo said. “I wanted to attack at the bottom of the last climb, but he told me from the team car, ‘No! No! No! Take it easy! Not yet!’ Then with four kilometers to go he said, ‘Julian, now!’ I won this stage to a great degree from his advice.”
In the overall, Quintana leads Uran by 1:41 and Rolland by 3:29. Only 1:30 separates third from ninth on GC, so much remains to be decided, and Stages 19 and 20 will do the sorting out. The 26.8-km mountain time trial from Bassano del Grappa to Cima Grappa (Crespano del Grappa) will create time gaps. Will Uran overtake Quintana? Will Rolland keep his third place overall? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com!