Belgian victory at the Giro: Tim Merlier wins the 18th stage in a sprint, quiet day for Tadej Pogacar

Belgian victory at the Giro: Tim Merlier wins the 18th stage in a sprint, quiet day for Tadej Pogacar
Belgian victory at the Giro: Tim Merlier wins the 18th stage in a sprint, quiet day for Tadej Pogacar

Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) won the 18th stage of the Tour of Italy (WorldTour) between Fiera di Primiero and Padua over 178 km on Thursday. A victory snatched at the end of a massive sprint where he beat the Italian Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek). The Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) completed the day’s podium.

In the general classification, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) retains his pink jersey with a lead of 7:42 over the Colombian Daniel Felipe Martinez (BORA-hansgrohe) and 8:04 over the Briton Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).

Today’s breakaway launched by Mirco Maestri, Andrea Pietrebon, Filippo Fiorelli and Mikkel Honoré was joined by Edoardo Affini. She succumbed ten miles from the finish.

After launching the final sprint, Tim Merlier managed to preserve his success while Jonathan Milan, locked in, made a huge effort to try to win at the line. It turned out to be too short.

The Belgian won his second stage victory in this Giro after winning the third on May 5 in Fossano. This is the ninth victory of his season (the seventh in a stage race) and the 43rd of his career. He offers his team a third success. Julian Alaphilippe won the 12th stage.

On Friday, the riders will start the 19th stage of the Tour of Italy on a 157 km course including numerous climbs between Mortegliano and Sappada where the finish will be judged six kilometers after the Cima Sappada.

Three passes are listed in this stage: the Passo Duron (2nd cat. at 5.8% average over 6.9 km), the Sella Valcalda (3rd cat. at 3.7% average over 8.9 km) and the Cima Sappada (2nd category at 4.4% average over 10.7 km and with a slope of 8.5% during the last 2.8 kilometers).

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