Geoghegan Hart up to third after queen stage

22 Oct 2020

Geoghegan Hart up to third after queen stage

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Giro d'Italia - Stage 18 » Pinzolo › Laghi di Cancano, 207km

Tao Geoghegan Hart powered his way into contention for overall victory at the Giro d’Italia with a rousing ride to second place on the queen stage.
 
The Brit paced the entire final climb up to Laghi di Cancano with rival Jai Hindley on his wheel, finishing second in the sprint to now sit just 15 seconds off the pink jersey.
 
The general classification battle turned on its head during a memorable day of racing, with an explosive ascent of the Passo Dello Stelvio setting the tone. Geoghegan Hart locked himself onto teammate Rohan Dennis as the Australian ripped up the famous climb, splintering the peloton and putting everyone behind into difficulties.
 
With overnight leader Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) already slipping back, only Sunweb duo Hindley and Wilco Kelderman remained, with the latter losing time in the final kilometres of the climb.
 
Dennis led the group of three over the Giro’s highest point – taking the Cima Coppi prize for his efforts – before supporting his teammate on the descent. With Kelderman chasing behind, Dennis helped drive a further minute into the group’s advantage before pulling off at the foot of the Torri di Fraele climb.
 
With Hindley’s teammate losing time but still set to go into the lead, the Australian was content to sit on as Geoghegan Hart paced the final climb. At the finish Kelderman dropped 2:18 but held on to a narrow lead with three stages remaining. 
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Reaction

- Tao Geoghegan Hart

"We didn't really have a specific gameplan going into the stage, other than to try and get one or even two guys up the road. It was a pretty tricky start but we achieved our first primary goal with Swifty and Filippo, first in the big move on the climb - and then when that came back together they managed to get away again - mainly because of Filippo really driving it and forcing the move. That was super impressive to see, no surprises there I have to say. We were happy to have them up there, knowing they would likely come back to us at some stage and be there if we needed them.

"Then it was just a case of seeing how it unfolded on the Stelvio, In the end I think Rohan basically rode 99% of the race off his wheel. It was super, super impressive.

"It was kind of tricky to know how the situation was behind and how everything would be after such a hard stage. Congrats to [Jai] for the win. He's a super nice guy and a friend of mine. 

"In hindsight it was a pretty crazy stage. We set out at the start of the day to take time and we did that. I can only really thank my teammates. I didn't really do much in the end! It was 90% them I'd say.

"It's really unexpected - especially if you look at how the first stage of the race was. I was pretty far behind after a few stages. We can almost smell Milan now so we'll stay focused and see what happens."
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- Rohan Dennis

“i was not expecting to get over the Stelvio on the front, the goal was to go hard, try and split the race up and launch Tao.

“In the end I was still feeling good and I kept going until I had nothing left. I’m glad Tao and Jai let me get to the top first - it’s nice to get the Cima Coppi"
Stage 18 result:

1. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) 6:03:03
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) s.t.
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +46"
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +1:25"
5. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +2:18"

Overall standings:

1. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) 77:46:56
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +12"
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +15"
4. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +1:19"
5. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +2:16"