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On a stage that was bookended by major incidents, it was all change at the Giro d’Italia atop Mount Etna with a change in race leadership and several contenders toppling out of overall contention.
Miguel Ángel López (Astana-Qazaqstan) was the first casualty of the day, dropping back almost as soon as the stage began. The Colombian who had designs on the podium never regained contact with the bunch after being dropped with his team later confirming that the rider had been suffering from an injury to his left hip.
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Worse was to follow for Astana when Vincenzo Nibali was dropped from the main group with just more than 5km remaining on the volcano. The veteran, and two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia, had been in decent form and posted a respectable time in the stage 2 time trial but there would be no fairytale homecoming as he rode on home roads. The Italian trailed home 4:52 down on stage winner Lennard Kämna, and lost over two minutes to the main group of overall contenders. Astana is now likely to turn its attention to stage wins.
Nibali certainly wasn’t the first overall contender to lose ground on the final climb. Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma), second in the time trial just a few days ago, slipped back on the lower slopes of the last ascent and was left to fend for himself as Ineos Grenadiers set a steady tempo on the climb.
The winner of the Giro d’Italia five years ago lost over nine minutes on the stage and tumbled from third overall to 49th. His overall ambitions are well and truly over, but his disappointment was shared collectively with his Jumbo-Visma crew.
Dumoulin’s teammate Tobias Foss, who finished inside the top ten last year, lost two minutes alongside Sam Oomen. The Dutch team came into the race with three cards to play in the GC and is now left with none after just one major climb. The team’s best-placed rider is now Gijs Leemreize, after the rider made it into the break. He currently sits at 4:06 behind new overall leader Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), who finished just behind Kämna on the stage.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) lost 19 seconds on the stage after slipping back in the closing kilometers, while Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) lost 1:31 and saw his chances of a top-five fade. Overnight leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) was dropped once the final climb began, after actively trying to move into the break in the first hour of racing.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) came home at the front of the GC group, and even tried to steal a march on rivals with a late sprint. Ineos Grenadiers set the pace for most of the climb and burned off a number of his rivals. However, the British team also used up Pavel Sivakov, with the Frenchman dropping well before the finish. Richie Porte took over, at the front of the group, but with a headwind on the climb, there was little chance of major assault.
Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) crashed earlier in the stage and needed treatment on his right knee but he had a relatively quiet day and remains at the top of the standings in terms of the true overall contenders. The British climber is now fourth overall, 1:42 down on López, and in an ideal position heading into the next phase of the race.
Wilco Kelderman (Bora–Hansgrohe), Pello Bilbao and Mikel Landa (both Bahrain-Victorious), Romain Bardet (Team DSM), , Porte, and Carapaz all remain within touching distance of the BikeExchange rider.