Greipel Sprints to Stage 18 Win in Giro d’Italia

May 27, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the 18th stage in the 93rd Giro d'Itali. (Luk Beines/AFP/Getty Images)
Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the 18th stage in the 93rd Giro d'Itali. (Luk Beines/AFP/Getty Images)
After a long two-rider breakaway was ridden down three km form the end, Stage 18 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia came down to a sprint finish. Team Sky pulled hard to get their man Greg Henderson the win, but lurking on his wheel was HTC's Andre Greipel.

Greipel pulled out and powered to the finish, two or three bike-lengths ahead of Garmin-Transition's Julian Dean.

Tiziano dall'Antonoia of Liquigas snuck down the right side to take third, and the unlucky Hendereson was relegated to fourth.

The General Classification remained unchanged.

A Day of Relative Rest

Stage 18 was the shortest and easiest stage of the Giro, designed, no doubt, to let the climbers rest before the two grueling final stages. Stretching 1512 flat kilometers from Levico Terme to Brescia, the stage was perfectly poised between a breakaway win and a group sprint; either could have worked.

Two riders—Alan Marangoni of Colnago and Olivier Kaisen of Omega Pharma-Lotto—decided, around the 30 km mark, to turn the stage into a breakaway win, attacking and opening nearly a three-minute gap. The peloton rolled along at a leisurely 40 kph, not even bothering to hurry.

HTC-Columbia and Team Sky began to pick up the pace in the final 50 kilometers, and kept slowly accelerating until the final 20 km, when the peloton really turned on the speed.

12 km out the gap was down to a minute, and HTC-Columbia was driving the peloton hard. Rabobank and then Liquigas moved to the head of the peloton, sure they would get a chance for their sprinters.

The gap kept falling, and it seemed clear the break couldn’t stay away. With three km left, Olivier Kaisen surrendered and joined the peloton. A kilometer later, Alan Marangoni got caught up and the sprinters’ teams started their set-ups.

Columbia didn’t have its patented lead-out train; it had spent its energy in the chase. Team Sky took over, setting up Greg Henderson. Liquigas, on the right edge of the peloton, managed to line up for Tiziano dall'Antonia, while Andre Greipel rode fifth or sixth, looking to steal a lead-out.

Bradley Wiggins, lead out for teammate Greg Henderson, perhaps pulled off too soon. Henderson ended up leading Greipel to the win, losing third place by a few inches. Julian Dean just exploded through the center, but the energy he used to get clear failed him near the line. Liquigas delivered dall'Antonia late and he didn’t have the speed to catch the leaders, though he just managed to spoil Henderson’s podium hopes.

Worst is Yet to Come

Tomorrow’s Stage is the toughest of the race, featuring five mountain passes and a mountaintop finish. This will likely decide the race, unless David Arroyo is in rare form. Look for the true climbers in the GC contenders, maybe Ivan Basso or Carlos Sastre, to make big moves on one of these treacherous slopes.

The final stage is a short time trial, which might be irrelevant, or which could decide the Giro, if the GC leaders stay together through Friday’s stage.

Results Stage 18 2010 Giro d’Italia

#

Rider

Team

Time

1

Andre Greipe

HTC-Columbia

3:14:59

2

Julian Dean

Garmin- Transitions

 

3

Tiziano dall'Antonia

Liquigas

 

4

Gregory Henderson

Team Sky

 

5

Danilo Hondo

Lampre

 

6

Graeme Brown

Rabobank

 

7

Lucas Sebastian Haedo

Saxo Bank

 

8

Michiel Elijzen

Omega Pharma-Lotto

 

General Classification After Stage 18

#

Rider

Team

Time

1

David Arroyo

Caisse d'Epargne

76:25:37

2

Ivan Basso

Liquigas

0:02:27

3

Richie Porte

Saxo Bank

0:02:44

4

Cadel Evans

BMC

0:03:09

5

Carlos Sastre Candil

Cervélo

0:04:41

6

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas

0:04:53

7

Alexandre Vinokourov

Astana

0:05:12

8

Michele Scarponi

Androni

0:05:24