Bouhanni Scores Hat Trick at Giro d'Italia
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) has scored a hat trick at the Giro d’Italia. Bouhanni picked up his third stage win of the race in a bunch sprint, taking the flat, 173-km run from Modena to Salsomaggiore Terme in 4:01:13. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) took his third runner-up finish of the Giro, and former maglia rosa Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) finished third. Cadel Evans (BMC) remains the race leader.
As soon as the peloton cleared the neutral zone, Marco Bandiera (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) and Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo) jumped clear. The pair ran up an 8:35 lead before BMC and Omega Pharma-Quick Step went to the front and began a leisurely chase.
In the last 20 km, teams began to battle for control at the front. Consequently, the peloton accelerated and the gap between bunch and break narrowed. Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) and Yannick Eijssen (BMC) crashed, with Rovny remounting quickly and Eijssen, one of Evans’s mountain domestiques, abandoning. With nine km left, the bunch reeled in the break.
Sky went to the front and drilled it on the day’s only climb, an uncategorized one. The British squad’s pacemaking single filed the field and split the peloton. Bouhanni was dropped on the climb, but he managed to rejoin the bunch with two km remaining.
The peloton had to negotiate a series of turns before reaching the home straight. On one of these, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) crashed and took down several other riders. Only about 10 riders were ahead of the mishap. Nizzolo took the lead, but Bouhanni came around the Italian with 75 m left for the win.
The climb and the twisting finale were difficult for Bouhanni, and his teammates saw him through the difficulties. “Team Sky rode very hard on the climb and made the first selection,” the Frenchman said. “I dropped back a bit, but I still managed to cross the climb in about 20th place. In the team meeting this morning we were told that we would have to be among the first five at the turn with 500 m to go. Sebastien Chavanel took me there, then rode at the front for me. The entire team was great today, always around me and working hard all stage. I’m very happy to be at the Giro with this team.”
In the overall, Evans leads Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 0:57 and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) at 1:10. Stage 11, the longest stage of this year’s Giro, will not change matters. The hilly, 249-km ride from Collecchio to Savona will feature two Category 2 climbs, the second of which will summit 30 km from the finish. With the GC contenders wanting to save their legs for Thursday’s time trial, a breakaway could decide the stage. Who will be in it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!