Barring mishap over the next four days, Elia Viviani should confirm his victory in the points competition at the 101st edition of the Giro d’Italia in Rome on Sunday after winning his fourth stage of this year’s race in Iseo this afternoon. There is no change at the top of the overall standings, with Simon Yates remaining almost a minute in the lead.
Quick Step Floors rider Viviani now leads Bora-Hangrohe’s Sam Bennett, second today ahead of Bahrain-Merida’s Niccolò Bonifazio, by 58 points with only Sunday’s closing stage presenting an opportunity for the sprinters.
The 155-kilometre stage from Riva Del Garda was raced at a frantic pace from the start as the road headed uphill and it was not until nearly the 100-metre mark that a break got away.#
But with one of the members of the four-group being Team Sky’s Wout Poels, 17th on the General Classification and a threat to the riders occupying the places above him, the break was not going to be given too much rope and it was brought back inside the closing kilometres.
Further attacks followed, most notably from Viviani’s team mate, Zdenek Stybar, but in the closing couple of kilometres, with torrential rain coming down, the peloton was back together with Quick Step Floors getting their sprinter to the front at the right time to clinch victory.
After his victory, Viviani said: “We knew this could be a very hard stage and it was indeed. There were very strong breakaway riders but Bora controlled.
“We played a little bit with them. We did it right because it was the second last stage for sprinters and Bennett could have put my Maglia Ciclamino in danger.
“Once it came down to a bunch sprint, I asked my guys to lead me out.
“When Van Poppel anticipated the sprint, I knew it was too early. It was actually perfect for me. I could pass him.”
Yates, who leads Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin by 56 seconds on the General Classification, commented: “There's no easy day at the Giro.
“This was another hard one and it could have some impact on the coming mountain stages. I heard about splits in the bunch but I never knew who was caught behind.
“I hope everyone is tired because I'm tired.”
Tomorrow’s Stage 18, the first of three consecutive summit finishes that will decide the overall title, takes the riders from the southern Milanese suburb of Abbiategrosso to Pratonevoso.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.