Italy’s Alberto Dainese sprinted to victory on stage 17 on the Giro d’Italia as Britain’s Geraint Thomas retained the general race lead.
Crew DSM rider Dainese edged compatriot Jonathan Milan and Australian Michael Matthews in a photograph end in Caorle.
Ineos Grenadiers’ Thomas completed safely within the peloton to defend the pink jersey he reclaimed on Tuesday.
He stays 18 seconds forward of stage 16 winner Joao Almeida and 29 seconds away from Jumbo Visma’s Primoz Roglic.
The overall classification battle takes centre stage as soon as once more from Thursday, when Thomas will flip 37, with two difficult days within the mountains previous Saturday’s particular person time trial on the penultimate stage.
The 161km 18th stage from Oderzo to Val Di Zoldo consists of 3,700m of elevation, with the 2 categorised climbs inside the ultimate 15km that includes a steepest gradient of practically 20% – earlier than eight consecutive switchbacks lead into the house straight.
The general race contenders had been capable of preserve power in Wednesday’s flat 195km route from Pergine Valsugana, which noticed Dainese time his last push to perfection – though he had a tense look ahead to his marginal victory to confirmed.
The Italian was the final rider to complete stage 15 as he struggled with sickness final week – with 48 riders abandoning the race following two weeks marred by appalling climate.
“At this time we rode an insane last,” Dainese mentioned. “The final metres I used to be digging so deep, I used to be actually on the restrict and I noticed Jonathan Milan coming.”
He added: “I’ve been fairly sick with abdomen points and my respiratory the previous few days. At this time was the primary day I used to be feeling OK, so to win like this after such a wrestle is insane and I’m tremendous glad.”
Race chief Thomas mentioned: “The day was nothing like what we had skilled earlier than. It was good and heat on the finish, which is nice. It was excellent to maintain our energy up earlier than the three days forward of us.”
1. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) 71hrs 58mins 43sec
2. Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Crew Emirates) +18secs
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +29secs
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +2mins 50secs
5. Eddie Dunbar (Ire/Crew Jayco AIula) +3mins 03secs
6. Lennard Kamna (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3mins 20secs
7. Bruno Armirail (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +3mins 22secs
8. Andreas Leknessund (Nor/Crew DSM) +3mins 30secs
9. Thymen Arensman (Ned/Ineos Grenadiers) +4mins 09secs
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel/Ineos Grenadiers) +4mins 32secs