The Grande Montagna (Mortirolo and Valico di Santa Cristina) finally gives birth to a mouse. A nice little mouse, but really small. Suffice it to say that the group of big names, who arrive almost a minute and a half after the stage winner (the Czech Joan Hirt), in order not to give up anything, absolutely nothing, at the finish line of the Aprica fight for third place as if it were the prize of life.
A surreal sprint for the Gotha of the standings because there are only four seconds of bonus up for grabs. A piece of stuff, usually. But in this open and unpredictable Giro, even the grains of sand make the difference.
Carapaz always in pink
In the end, in the sprint of the capataz, the English Jai Hindley comes out ahead of Richard Carapaz, who keeps the pink jersey for three seconds. The Ecuadorian made it, but what an effort! At the finish he has a dark face. Very dark. He knows he has risked a lot. “Yes it was very hard. The important thing, however, was to keep the pink jersey. We are all on the edge. Anyway, anything can still happen ».
In fact, everything is still possible. Already from the next stage (this Wednesday) that from Ponte di Legno goes to Lavarone with the grand finale of the Menador (8 km at 10%). In a one minute handkerchief there are all the favorites. Behind Carapaz is Hindley, three seconds behind. Then the Portuguese Almeida, who despite not being a climber, it is not known how he, in the end, always manages to resist. Now he is at 44 seconds, but this little ant has a non-trivial advantage: the final time trial in Verona. Almeida is indeed a specialist. And even on a course of only 17 kilometers like that of the last stage he can give the winning paw.
The fourth, no less dangerous, is Mikel Landa, 32, the Basque from Bahrain who attacked throughout the stage. Landa, in addition to having a well-equipped team, is also an old fox. It’s a life that runs. He knows that this time he can do it. The Giro has always been his dream. And he will do everything to not let it slip away.
Nibali and Pozzovivo just behind the big names
This is the big group. Immediately behind – even they do not give up – there are our old men: Vincenzo Nibali and Domenico Pozzovivo. Nibali is now fifth with a gap of almost three and a half minutes. In the final he gave up a bit, but now he is fifth. In short, he is among the best. But he is not happy: «I struggled in the last climb, afterwards I tried to manage the situation». As for Pozzovivo, 40 years old in November, unfortunately he was the victim of a new fall. But the great little Lucanian man did not bat an eye. He got up and, creaking, resumed his march. A march, we recall, of 202 kilometers with an altitude difference of 5250 meters.