Merlier Sprints to Victory in Stage 18 of Giro d’Italia

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05/23/2024| 0 comments
Tim Merlier sprints to victory in stage 18 of Giro d'Italia 2024
Tim Merlier sprints to victory for Soudal-QuickStep in stage 18 of Giro d'Italia 2024 RCS Sport - LaPresse

Merlier Sprints to Victory in Stage 18 of Giro d’Italia

Tim Merlier (Soudal-QuickStep) has won stage 18 of Giro d’Italia 2024; Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) leads General Classification ahead of Daniel Martinez (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers)

Stage 18 of Giro d’Italia 2024 brought the riders in the Giro peloton down from the mountains of Northern Italy. The stage took the riders from Fiera di Primiero to Padova on a 178-kilometer route that featured the Category Four Lamon climb shortly after the start, before the riders descended into flatland territory.

The weather conditions were rainy at the start of the stage. Perhaps many young riders in the Giro peloton were again encouraging race organizer RCS Sport to shorten the stage as there appears to be a continuous lack of acceptance of adverse weather conditions in the modern peloton, despite the discipline being road cycling and not track cycling?

Multiple attacks were launched early in the stage. A four-man breakaway group managed to escape from the peloton before multiple sprinter teams, including Team Lidl-Trek, formed a broad front to prevent further riders from accellerating. 

The front group featured Mikkel Frølich Honore (EF Education-EasyPost), Mirco Maestri (Team Polti Kometa), Andrea Pietrobon (Team Polti Kometa), and Filippo Fiorelli (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizane). The group fought its way to a lead of more than 02:30 minutes.

The roads were drying up and the weather conditions were improving. As 95 kilometers remained, the main peloton was spearheaded by riders from Tudor Pro Cycling Team, Soudal-QuickStep, and Lidl-Trek. The hard work in the peloton had reduced the advantage of the front group to 01:30 minutes.

With sixty kilometers left of the stage the advantage of the front quartet had been reduced to twenty seconds and additional attacks were being launched from the main peloton. Edoardo Affini attacked for Team Visma Lease a Bike. He delivered a powerful move.

With 55.5 kilometers left Affini had bridged the gap to the front group, which now became a quintet. Affini had a powerful engine that could prove problematic for the sprinter teams in the main peloton.

But it would prove to be a stage for the remaining sprinters in the Giro d’Italia peloton. The sprinter teams sent additional forces to the front of the peloton, the speed was increased, and the breakaway riders reeled in.

Alpecin-Deceunink, Lidl-Trek, Tudor Pro Cycling, Ineos-Grenadiers, and Bora-Hansgrohe sent riders to the front and the speed was intense with three kilometers left.

Groupama-FDJ accelerated as did Soudal-QuickStep.

Tudor and Soudal dominated with one kilometer left. Lidl-Trek riders joined the fun.

Hugo Hofstetter (Team PremierTech), Alberto Dainese (Tudor Pro Cycling Team), and Jonathan Milan (Lidl-Trek)  launched their sprints. But it was Tim Merlier who was first to cross the finish line in Padova. The Belgian rider showed great strength again following the mountainous struggles of recent days. It was Merlier’s second stage victory in this year’s Giro.

Milan finished second, while Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) completed the stage podium.

Tadej Pogacar remains general classification leader ahead of Daniel Martinez and Geraint Thomas.

The riders in the Giro peloton will return to mountainous territory in tomorrow’s stage 19 of Giro d’Italia 2024. Race organizer RCS Sport has designed a short 157-kilometer route from Mortegliano to Sappada. The route includes two Category Two climbs and one Category Three climb.

Stay tuned to for complete race coverage from Giro d’Italia 2024.

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