Zakarin survived the day’s early break to win the stage solo and propel himself to third overall behind race leader Jan Polanc (UAE-Emirates). Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) also survived the break to finish second, while Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) moved closer to the pink jersey but lost time to other rivals.
In a complex shuffle of the overall standings, big loser on the climb to the 2247m high summit at Lago Serrù was Simon Yates. The Mitchelton-Scott rider was dropped by all the key favorites when Landa made a powerful attack on the lower slopes. Miguel Angel Lopez also lost time after suffering a mechanical during the aftermath of the same move. The pair are now over five minutes down on Roglic.
On a day which finished in thin air and high above the snowline, riders came across the line in ones and twos. Behind Landa in third place, Richard Carapaz compounded Movistar’s good show with fourth.
Roglic and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) paid close attention to only one another and finished together over a minute and a half behind Landa.
The break had numbered as many as 14 riders after the two earlier climbs on the 196km stage. But it was whittled down to just six, including EF’s Joe Dombrowski, on the steep lower ramps of the two-part finishing ascent.
Eventually left with just Nieve and Mollema for company, Zakarin made his move with 5km to go. Although Nieve did gradually pull him back and briefly stay with him, the Russian dropped the Basque definitively in the last two kilometres.
“The attack wasn’t planned. I just happened to be in the front when people started to move,” he said. “I didn’t feel very good in the middle of the stage but I started to find a rhythm and gave everything in the end.”
But it was behind that the real drama unfolded with Landa attacking with 15km remaining and bridging up to pre-placed team mates Hector Carretero and Andrey Armador. With help from them, and then alone, he one-by-one clawed through the remnants of the break. After early loses in the Giro, Landa now sits eighth overall and within three minutes of Roglic.
Although Landa’s move was not especially explosive, it quickly broke down the main group on the steep slopes, with Yates and Polanc immediately falling behind a core group of chasers. This comprised Dominico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Nibali, Lopez, Rafel Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Roglic, Carapaz and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos).
After Lopez pulled over with a mechanical, he was initially presented with a wheel by a Shimano neutral service vehicle. But then his team car -having been held up behind Yates- arrived on the scene and gave him a new bike. Having lost half a minute in this clunky exchange, he did come close to regaining Nibali and Roglic. However, the effort of his chase cost him heavily on the top slopes.
After a long stint by team mate Pozzovivo, Nibali was the first of the chasers to put in a dig with 4km to go. But when Majka and Carapaz countered, Roglic and Nibali took to only matching each other, while rivals pressed on with whatever they could muster.