De Bondt completes breakup plan with Tiger Leap

Jiro: Late-moment shock to Hindley

Dries De Bondt (Alpecin – Fenix, left) narrowly won the 18th stage of the Giro. | Photo: Cor Vos

05/26/2022 | (RSN) – On the 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia, a breakaway deceived the sprinting teams. After 156 kilometers, Dries De Bondt (Alpecin – Fenix) narrowly defeated his comrades Eduardo Affini (Jumbo – Visma) and Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Eduction – EasyPost) in the sprint. The pink jersey remained on the shoulders of Richard Carapaz (Inios Grenadiers) ahead of the crucial stages of this tour of Italy.

When De Bondt, Affini, Cort Nielsen and Matteo Gabburo (Bardiani – CSF – Faizanè) parted ways after a few kilometers away, the sprinters’ teams could still have been optimistic about being able to control such a small group. This optimism has turned to panic in the past 50 kilometers as it has become increasingly clear that the gap can no longer be bridged.

“Our cooperation was phenomenal. There was never a moment of doubt. No one missed a step, everyone did their best to the finish line. It has been said that this is the sprint stage. It was almost written in the stars. De Bondt revealed the recipe for breaking away from success.”

De Bondt scored with Tiger Leap the biggest win of his career

In the final kilometer, it was finally clear that the victory of the day would go to the runners up front. “The pressure was on Magnus because he was the fastest, he won the most palms and also won the stages of the Grand Tour. In the end, the brave tiger tipped the scales in favor of the former Belgium champions,” said de Bondt, describing his successful strategy.

“It has always been my dream, but ever since I started cycling he has been telling me: I have dreams, dreams become goals, goals have been achieved. I had bigger dreams, I made goals for them and I achieved them,” said the 30-year-old, happy with his first win. On the grand stage, “Now I wanted to win a stage here and that worked too.” Alpecin – Fenix ​​was also able to celebrate the victories of three different riders in this Giro.

As the crucial weekend approaches, Carabaz is still three seconds ahead of Jay Hindley (Bora – Hansgrohe) and 1:05 over Mikel Landa (Bahrain – Victorious). Emmanuel Buchmann dropped to seventh overall due to the retirement of Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) due to Covid.

Hindley stopped with a hole in the last three kilometers

Today was also a lot more active than expected for the candidates. Because of catching up with the field, Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek – Segafredo) lost contact with the field early on. He was able to defend his position at the top of the junior rankings, but had to allow Domenico Pozovovo (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux) to pass him in the general classification. Hindley did not escape unscathed either: the Australian had a flaw in the last three kilometres, but was then ranked by the time of the favourites’ group according to the regulations.

In the sprint rating, Arnaud Démare (Groupama – FDJ) was able to increase his lead to sixth place. If he doesn’t get out of the time limit in the next few days, he’s almost certain to take home Frenchman Maglia Cyclameno. In the mountain classification, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo – Visma) continues to lead. Bahrain Victorious team ahead of Bora in the team classification – Hensgrohe.

This is how the race went:

After Almeida, who finished fourth overall, was unable to start the stage due to a positive Corona test, 152 riders started the race in a mixture of sun and clouds. De Bondt, Kurt and local pros Avene and Gaborough quickly moved off the field, which offered no resistance but then resolutely prevented a number of counter-attacks.

In the first two mountain classifications in Category 4, which De Bondt secured without a fight in front of Avene after 25 kilometres, the advance of deserters onto the field led by teams of sprinters was just over two minutes. Then, the chasers kept the leash shorter, in the first 75-kilometre intermediate race, Gaborough had the most points, and the gap between the leaders and the field was more than 1:30 minutes.

That didn’t change much over the following kilometers. The upper quartet at first maintained this progress, and even stretched for about three minutes until it reached Muro di Ca dell Poggio (fourth cat), the second mountain classification of the day. At the end of a steep climb of 12 percent, De Bondt also won the day’s final mountain prize of 54km, followed by the field, which is split at this point in the race. They leave behind Lopez, in the white shirt, Bowman, King of the Mountain, and Phil Bauhaus (victor of Bahrain), one of the most promising runners.

Division in the field, the fugitives save themselves to the end

In the last 50 kilometers flat, the co-runners increased the pace, but during the extra race that de Bond got, the gap narrowed to less than two minutes. When it came to the final lap of about 22km, the Runaways were still defending their 1:20 lead.

At the first finish line intersection, after which there was still 13 kilometers to go, the quad lost another 20 seconds, while the second field with Lopez and Bowman was about 2:30 minutes behind. But in the final, the two teams held their lead, even though Groupama, DSM and Quick-Step did their best to catch the splitters.

De Bundt laughs third, shocking moment for Hindley

Right on the ground, Avene started the sprint from Kurt’s rear wheel, but de Bondt overtook his rivals in the last few meters and was able to celebrate as the third laughing stock.

Hindley experienced a shock moment in the first field when he lost contact with a puncture. However, since the accident with him in the last three kilometres, Captain Bora has been able to roll to the finish relatively comfortably behind his teammate Patrick Jumper and then at the same time ranked as Carapaz and other favourites.

The second field with German sprinters Bauhaus and Rick Zabel (Israel – Premier Tech) followed about three minutes later after they gave up trying to force contact with the chasing group in the final kilometres.

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