Geraint Thomas and João Almeida rose to the top of the Giro d’Italia table on Tuesday’s first summit finish of the 106th Giro d’Italia’s difficult final week. Almeida is the third Portuguese rider to win a Giro stage. Thomas took the pink jersey for the second time in the race, this time from Frenchman Bruno Armirail. Primož Roglič couldn’t hang with the top two. The irrepressible, indefatigable Derek Gee was in the breakaway again.
Mountains were on order on Tuesday: one Cat. 3, two Cat. 2s and two Cat. 1s, including the summit finish of Monte Bondone, 22.7 km of 6.4 percent. There would be just over 5000 meters of climbing.
Huge day for the #Giro general classification!
Five classified climbs, 5000 vertical meters and a finish atop the legendary Monte Bondone. pic.twitter.com/7iGfuwQvvw
— Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (@soudalquickstep) May 23, 2023
If there was one guy who was going to make Tuesday’s immense breakaway, it was Derek Gee. He was part of a raft of 24 riders who shook free early. Stage winner Ben Healy was the first to peak Cat. 1 Passo di Santa Barbara and second over Cat. 3 Passo Bordala, jumping into the KOM lead.
At the first intermediate sprint of the day, Gee snagged six points, pulling him closer to Jonathan Milan in the points jersey competition.
With 88 km to ride Gee and Healy were a minute behind two Astana chaps, Vadim Pronskiy and Christian Scaroni, who had dashed away on Cat. 2 Matassone, and 3:30 ahead of the peloton. The rain started on Matassone’s descent.
With Pronskiy and Scaroni doing their thing up the road on the long penultimate climb of Serrada, the breakaway chase behind split, Gee and Healy part of Group 2. Minutes behind, Jumbo-Visma toiled to reduce the pink jersey group. The Astana boys were brought back. Gee struggled to hold on. Another Frenchman, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, became the virtual maglia rosa. There was a fine balance between break and pink bunch: 4:25 with 40 km and Monte Bondone to ride.
🏁 30 km to go
Derek and what’s left of the breakaway group has a gap of 4:30 minutes on the peloton. Soon, they will take on the feared Monte Bondone.
Here is what awaits them ⤵️
🇮🇹 #Giro pic.twitter.com/sg4RXG4Olf
— Israel – Premier Tech (@IsraelPremTech) May 23, 2023
The rain had eased off, but atop Bondone it was tipping down and peals of thunder cast a shadow over…
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