Queen stages in Grand Tours guarantee spectacle. And suffering. And fighting. All of that was shown once again, in stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia.
The queen stage included four climbs, including the Cima Coppi: the mythical Passo dello Stelvio. The monster was covered in snow, good for amazing images, a shift in GC and plenty of riders fighting.
Winter jackets were essential today. On top of the Stelvio (more than 2700m above sea level), it was only two degrees Celsius. Going into a speedy downhill straight after the top leaves you with one mission in the final few hundred meters of the climb: getting that jacket on.
But that’s easier said than done sometimes, especially when you’re riding at your limit, when your hands are freezing, and the jacket is made to be as aerodynamic as possible.
Mountains and days like these are what our Spanish climber Dani Navarro actually loves. He therefore decided to give it a go in today’s breakaway of the day. “Today looked like a perfect day to attack”, Navarro said.
He was one of the most eager and aggressive riders today, riding solo in front of the pack for quite some time and was then joined by six other escapees. “I was one of the strongest ones in the leading group”, the Andorra-based climber agreed. “I had good legs.”
They never got a proper advantage though, as the GC-contenders had their eyes on today’s stage as well. Navarro was caught halfway up the Stelvio, unfortunately. “Yes, it was a pity that Sunweb pulled very hard for the general classification today. Otherwise I think our break could have made it to the finish line today”, Navarro said.
Israeli road race champion Guy Sagiv agreed on the fact it was a very hard stage. “I had more than 5600 meters of elevation on my device and almost seven hours on the bike. It was a long day.”