Giro d’Italia #18: Break contest the win, O’Connor holds GC place

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The break today went all the way on today’s 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia with Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) taking the win. Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy) was second followed by Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).

Today’s stage was relatively flat for the majority of the day, with the race ending in a summit finish atop Prato Nevoso. The climb stretched for 13.9km at an average gradient of 6.9%,

A group of 12 riders managed to get away and extended their lead to 16 minutes at times during the course of the day. The break consisted of Michael Morkov, Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors), Davide Ballerini, Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy), Vyacheslav Kuznetsov (Katusha-Alpecin), Jos van Emden, Boy van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Marcato (UAE Emirates), Giuseppe Fonzi and Alex Turrin (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia). After the fast racing of the last few days, the peloton were happy to let this break go. As they hit the final climb of the day, the break splintered, with a small group of four staying together.

The remaining three riders from the break reached the summit first and the race was won by Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors) ahead of Ruben Plaza (Israel Cycling Academy) and Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec). Ben O’Connor stuck with the GC group going up the climb, even following an attack by Woet Poels on the climb. In the end, O’Connor crossed the line in 27th and remains 12th in the GC.

Ben O’Connor- Rider
In the today seemed to go ok. It was pretty straight forward with just the big climb at the finish. The boys were really good today in making sure I was at the front when the climb started. It was a climb where the run-in could have been very chaotic. It wasn’t as hectic, I think every one is very wary now. You could see it by the way us GC guys raced up the climb. I did have some issues today, but I managed to keep myself calm and hold on as best I could and keep my 12th spot. In the end, it was a successful day.