Maciej Mohoric of Bahrain-Merida has won stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia.  Mohoric overcame Nico Denz of AG2R La Mondiale in a two-up sprint finish, with the peloton led home by Sam Bennett 34 seconds later.  Significantly for Mitchelton-Scott, their GC hopes now rest firmly on Simon Yates’ shoulders after Esteban Chaves lost 25 minutes over the course of the day.

After the race’s second rest day the main field faced up to stage 10 from Penne to Gualdo Tadino.  Classed as a medium mountain stage, the day took in three climbs, including one big ascent almost from the start.  The final climb peaked with 36km to go; giving any sprinters who remained with the peloton a chance to regain themselves for a sprint finish.

Today’s breakaway were very unfortunate, as they picked the day to go up the road where one of the general classification’s biggest threats would lose significant time.  This resulted in a high pace from the peloton early in the stage to ensure that Mitchelton-Scott’s Esteban Chaves could not get back on with the peloton.  What was happening to the Colombias was unknown, but from very early on in the stage the rider who started the day second on GC found himself in trouble; and had to be nursed through the stage by a number of teammates including Sam Bewley.

 

Stage 10: RESULTS

The break of the day was a strong one, with Koen Bouwman of LottoNL-Jumbo, Jarlinson Pantano of Trek-Segafredo, Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana, Valerio Conti of UAE Team Emirates, Matej Mohoric of Bahrain-Merida and Tony Martin of Katusha-Alpecin among the breakaway group of 17 riders that went clear.  They gained a minute over the peloton but from here Team Sky upped the tempo significantly in a bid to rid themselves of Chaves.

That meant that the break were quickly brought back, save Tony Martin and Israel Cycling Academy’s Krists Neilands, who went clear.  But the latter appeared to see that his efforts would come to nought and he sat up; leaving the multiple world time trial champion out on his own.  Martin seemed up to the challenge of a solo break, and he pressed on; but his lead was a slender one ad inevitably he would be brought back too under the relentless pace set by Team Sky, LottoNL-Jumbo and Groupama-FDJ.

For a time the disaster that was confronting Chaves was met with hope as the large group of which he was a part was aided by Quick-Step Floors.  They had Elia Viviani in the group and for a time it looked like they were hopeful of bringing the Italian back into the peloton after the majority of the major climbs of the day had been navigated.  That triggered a big chasing game as the peloton tried desperately to maintain their lead over the Chaves group.  At 110km to go the gap was at just over 1.50mins.

Esteban Chaves lost 25 minutes and his status as one of the GC challengers today in the longest day in the saddle of this year’s Giro d’Italia, photo Sirotti

Gradually though the lead extended to upwards of 2 minutes, and with 100km remaining Quick-Step Floors decided that persistence was futile, and so they sat up; leaving the chase entirely up to Mitchelton-Scott.  It proved the death of their chase effort as minutes were then haemorrhaged, with no one to assist.

For a time then the race was simply a race between two big groups, but eventually a breakaway once again established itself.  This time it was Marco Frapporti of Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia who launched a solo move and was unchallenged by the peloton.  With some 90km to go Bottecchia attacked and gradually established a lead that went out to over 2.30mins with 56km to go; finally topping out at 2.47mins.  All the while Chaves continued to lose time, and with 49km remaining he found himself almost 8 minutes behind teammate Yates and the peloton.

The climb of Annifo was the final big obstacle to climb, and it was on this gradual ramp that an attack from Maciej Mohoric of Bahrain-Merida and Davide Villella of Astana went clear.  With over 35km of racing still to go there was room for a few more stories to be written into the race, and they duly crossed the gap to Frapporti and then dropped him with just under 31km to race.

In the peloton an attack went clear courtesy of Sergio Henao of Team Sky, who triggered a move that drew out Alessandro De Marchi of BMC Racing and AG2R La Mondiale’s Nico Denz.  The peloton didn’t appear happy to let this move go, and they kept the chase group within reach; although Denz appeared most eager and able to bridge across, with the break’s lead just 20-30 seconds.

Up ahead on the descent Villella couldn’t handle the pace of Mohoric, and neither could Henao and De Marchi handle the pace of Denz.  The descent itself was slick and had plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong; but Mohoric and Denz were prepared to throw caution to the wind; and it looked like it might pay off for both of them.  Denz still had to catch Villella and Mohoric though, which he did with 18km left to race.

Briefly Villella was able to regain contact with Mohoric and Denz and the race had a trio of riders leading the way.  Behind them there was more drama in the peloton as Tom Dumoulin came to grief with a crash, and Richard Carapaz suffered a puncture; but both were able to remount and regain contact with the pack.

George Bennett moved up a place on GC to 6th overall, photo Sirotti

The gap from the break to the bunch was at around the minute mark, and with 10km to go Denz and Mohoric – who had dropped Villella – had 1.05mins in hand and 39 seconds in hand over the duo of Henao and De Marchi who were still in limbo between the two.  They were eventually brought back into the fold, but Denz and Mohoric pressed on and with 3km to go their lead was 49 seconds over the peloton.  Lotto Fix All and Katusha-Alpecin were leading the way in the pack, but they were running out of road to catch the leaders.

A late attack went up the road courtesy of Adam Hansen of Lotto Fix All, and he gained a few metres, but Denz and Mohoric were pressing on and the Australian’s move was just too little, too late.  The attack did close the gap, but Tony Martin led the chase to Hansen; never a good rider to have chase a one-man move.  With 1km to go Mohoric and Denz went through the final technical turns before the finishing sprint with Mohoric leading the way.

Denz was ideally positioned, but Mohoric gradually wound things up before hitting for home.  Denz dug deep and looked like he might do it; but Mohoric just had enough left in the tank to secure the win.  Back in the peloton BORA-Hansgrohe led out the sprint with Enrico Battaglin hitting for home only to be overtaken by Sam Bennett on the line.

George Bennett finished safely in the bunch, and moved up a place to 6th overall as Esteban Chaves dropped way out of GC contention; losing a total of 25 minutes that took him from 2nd overall to 37th overall.  Tom Scully of EF Education First-Drapac finished in the main peloton while Bewley crossed the line alongside Esteban Chaves.

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