German HTC-Columbia rider in clinical finish

Sprinter André Greipel of the HTC-Columbia team must feel like he's been through hell in the mountains over the last days and worse than that must have been watching his team mate and rival Mark Cavendish winning in California but with the help of his peerless lead out train, and Sky's, he finally got his win today.

The mostly flat 156 km stage to Brescia had Greipel's name all over it but that didn't stop Team Sky having a very good go with their man Greg Henderson. However, not only was HTC's danger man sitting on Henderson's wheel with 200m to go but another New Zealander Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions) who galloped past for 2nd and Tiziano dall'Antonia who showed the depth of the Liquigas-Doimo team by grabbing 3rd. Henderson had to settle for 4th.

A two man break consisting of Oliver Kaisen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Alan Marangoni (Colnago-CSF Inox) attacked and stayed away since kilometre 21 but the combined might of the teams with fancied sprinters weren't going to miss their last opportunity for glory before all it all goes horrible again in the mountains tomorrow. Marangoni survived until within 2 km of the finish line but Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was at terminal velocity as he led  the peleton by in a streak. 

The overall is unchanged with David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) in the lead with a 2:27 advantage over Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) and 2:44 over Richie Porte (Saxo Bank).

Back in the high mountains tomorrow, the organisers have a plan in place to divert the race in case the sheer weight of standing snow - to a depth of six metres in places - causes problems at the finish.

Giro d'Italia Stage 18 Top 20 Result


 1  GREIPEL Andre         GER  THR  3:14:59 bonus 20"
 2  DEAN Julian           NZL  GRM          bonus 12"
 3  DALL'ANTONIA Tiziano  ITA  LIQ          bonus  8"
 4  HENDERSON Greg        NZL  SKY  
 5  HONDO Danilo          GER  LAM   
 6  BROWN Graeme          AUS  RAB 
 7  HAEDO Lucas Sebastian ARG  SAX 
 8  ELIJZEN Michiel       NED  OLO  
 9  SABATINI Fabio        ITA  LIQ 
10  BONNET William        FRA  BTL 
11  HINAULT Sebastien     FRA  ALM  
12  DONATI Alessandro     ITA  ASA 
13  ARASHIRO Yukiya       JPN  BTL 
14  POZZATO Filippo       ITA  KAT 
15  VELO Marco            ITA  QST 
16  FORSTER Robert        GER  MRM 
17  CLAUDE Mathieu        FRA  BTL 
18  ARROYO David          ESP  GCE 
20  BODNAR Maciej         POL  LIQ     all same time

Giro d'Italia 2010 Overall Top 20

 1  ARROYO David          ESP  GCE             0:00
 2  BASSO Ivan            ITA  LIQ         at  2:27
 3  PORTE Richie          AUS  SAX         at  2:44
 4  EVANS Cadel           AUS  BMC         at  3:09
 5  SASTRE Carlos         ESP  CTT         at  4:41
 6  NIBALI Vincenzo       ITA  LIQ         at  4:53
 7  VINOKOUROV Alexandre  KAZ  AST         at  5:12
 8  SCARPONI Michele      ITA  AND         at  5:24
 9  CUNEGO Damiano        ITA  LAM         at  9:21
10  KISERLOVSKI Robert    CRO  LIQ         at  9:32
11  PINOTTI Marco         ITA  THR         at 10:28
12  EFIMKIN Alexander     RUS  ALM         at 10:59
13  GERDEMANN Linus       GER  MRM         at 11:36
14  CATALDO Dario         ITA  QST         at 14:10
15  KARPETS Vladimir      RUS  KAT         at 14:34
16  MOLLEMA Bauke         NED  RAB         at 15:24
17  GADRET John           FRA  ALM         at 21:07
18  ARDILA Mauricio       COL  RAB         at 23:22
19  CIONI Dario David     ITA  SKY         at 23:48
20  DE GREEF Francis      BEL  OLO         at 28:37