After escapes, chases and gregarious work, the Italian champion celebrates under Monte Pelmo. For Thibaut Pinot the Calimero syndrome continues. Roglic attacks, Thomas responds, Almeida breaks away
It's a good place to win the Val Zoldana. Because when you win you look beyond your own wheel, you raise your eyes to the sky and under the sky of the Val Zoldana there is Monte Pelmo, which is a great view. It's a nice place especially if you're wearing the Italian champion's shirt, because the shade of green of the tricolor is perhaps the only one missing from all the green around it, completes the chromatic spectrum. Philip Zana in addition to fixing the color spectrum, he also fixed his own Tour of Italy which, to be honest, was already quite positive. That he had achieved some breakaways, that he also had excellent placements (third in the eighth stage, that of Fossombrone), that he had covered kilometers at the head of the group to facilitate the victories of others (such as in Melfi for Michael Matthews), that help he had given (as to Eddy Dunbar towards Monte Bondone). Winning a stage was something more, that he wasn't asked of him, but that if it had arrived it would have been better. He has arrived at the end of the eighteenth fraction, the Oderzo-Val di Zoldo, 161 kilometres.
Filippo Zana is a tough rider, because to stay on the heels of Thibaut Pinot, one must not be one. Even today the Frenchman did his utmost to guide the escape from the group. Even today he succeeded, he got ahead of everyone with others and then ahead of everyone alone. Not enough though, definitely less than he would have liked. Only a few hundred metres, then the Italian champion was right behind him, he tried several times to detach him first on the uphill road that led to Coi, then on the one that led to the Palafavara refuge. However, Filippo Zana never got off his back. He tried it last time, even just over a kilometer from the finish. There he shook his head, he had begun to understand that there was nothing to be done. The usual discouragement grew in him, the Calimero syndrome exploded again. Once again he had to settle for a second place. Like in Crans Montana, like many other times in my career. Often we love the latter more than the former, we often identify ourselves more with them than with the winners. Maybe it happened this time too. But it is little consolation for those who work as a professional cyclist, especially for those who know that the last group ride is almost there and that they would like a victory more than anything else. He has one chance left at this Giro d'Italia. Tomorrow.
Instead, Primoz Roglic has one more chance to overturn a Giro that Geraint Thomas is sewing on with patience and legs. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo are about sixty kilometers away from the Palafavera refuge, but the stage races never go very direct, they almost always wind up the winds that can be curled up, widen the distances, even going back if necessary. Tomorrow, towards the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Primoz Roglic will try to complete what he started today with a successful coup de théâtre. At the start of the stage he had shown that we were in those dark days where you get lost in the back of the group. It wasn't like that or at least that's not how it happened. Towards Coi the Slovenian first made Sepp Kuss work hard, then did it himself. Behind him many people have disappeared, all of them. Except for the pink shirt. Geraint Thomas didn't lose a foot, he hopped en danseuse with absolute impassive calm. He was happy though. Because João Almeida wasn't with them, he was behind. Because he knew it would take more to unplug it and that Roglic had no more to give.
It went well for both of them. The Slovenian returned to second place in the standings and confirmed that it had just been a bad day on Bondone. The Welshman has a few more seconds to manage. Still a few, but Thomas is not a man who is frightened by this. He knows how to manage the present and not get overwhelmed by anxiety about the future. Tomorrow the Tre Cime di Lavaredo will appear in their eyes and they both know that that too is a good place to win. He knows it too João Almeida, who calmly said that things had gone better on Bondone, but who knows tomorrow, we can't tell how the legs are. The of her, of the others, of everyone.