April 19, 2018
Bennett victorious at Imola
Stage 14: San Vito al Tagliamento to Monte Zoncolan, 186km
Froome Astounds On Zoncolan as Brits go 1-2
Chris Froome (Team Sky) took his first-ever Giro d'Italia stage victory at the dream location of the Monte Zoncolan as he fended off race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who rode superbly behind him and extended his advantage over the other favourites. The two British stars scored an historic 1-2 on the royal wedding day. Both will be remembered for a long time.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain - Merida) finished third, while Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) were fourth and fifth. While Yates was disappointed to have ben outpaced by Froome, with the spectre of of the Individual Time Trial looking he was relieved to have gained a precious 31 seconds over ace time-triallist Dumoulin.
The win on arguably the harest climb in Europe is the first Giro d’Italia victory for Chris Froome. It means he has now won at least one stage in every Grand Tour (1 at the Giro, 7 at the Tour, 5 at La Vuelta). It’s also Froome’s first win in 2018.
The stage winner, Chris Froome, said: “I’m really happy with the victory today. It’s a big boost in morale after what’s been a tough start to the Giro for the team and me but, being realistic, I’m still three minutes down. There are really strong riders here. Simon [Yates] has done a really amazing ride. In the last kilometre, I thought he was going to catch me – he’s got more of a kick than me – so having resisted [him] makes it a special victory.
"I want to thank everyone who supported us through this hard part of the race and kept the morale high. It never crossed my mind to retire from the race. It’ll remain as a memorable victory atop Zoncolan, which is one of the most iconic climbs here in Italy. Knowing the climb helped me. The fans have been fantastic. Grazie mille to all the tifosi, they make the race what it is.”
The Maglia Rosa, Simon Yates, said: “I’m happy and not happy. I really tried for the stage win. I just couldn‘t get Chris in the final, but any time I could get on the other rivals is good for me. As expected, the gaps aren’t massive. I’m still happy with the gap to Tom [Dumoulin] and the rest of the guys behind. I wasn’t more nervous than the other days, as much as I am sure that Tom is confident ahead of time trials. I couldn’t follow Froome – he went at a really good moment. He put in a really strong acceleration. It was still a long way to go. I rode my own tempo at that moment – he didn’t get a huge gap. I tried to bridge but that’s ok. I did the best I could.”
Chris Froome's victory came from an attack just before the 4km to go mark. The GC group had already been whittled down to around 11 riders. Froome had Wout Poels doing big pull on the front to stretch out with Fabio Aru suffering. Even Dumoulin was clinging to the back.
With the attacks expected to be launched around the 2km to go mark, Froome's seemed premature and surely doomed, but twirling a 34x32 'granny' set-up he soon gained a solid 11 second lead
Was Yates' leaving him out there as a distraction? It seemed so, and when Yates attacked at 3km it wasn't simply to bridge the gap, but to bring heartbreak to Froome
This was the point when it is important to remind oneself Froome is not a multi-Grand Tour winner for 'nowt' as Yates would say. Sure the maglia rosa gained ground but Froome's motivation was eqaul to the task. Climbing between walls of screaming tifosi Froome kept his lead. Yates dug deep but Froome was already digging deeper and the elastic began to stretch. As the line loomed Froome was grimacing with supreme effort and Yate's dominance in this realm was thwarted for this day at least
Race Results - Stage 14 and GC