Team Jumbo Visma leader Primoz Roglic bounced back from a lesser day on Tuesday in the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia. The Slovenian and his teammate, Durangoan Sepp Kuss, made a late breakaway during stage 18, featuring over 4,000 meters of climbing. The breakaway allowed them to gain time on some of their rivals.
Kuss took the initiative on the Coi, allowing Roglic to launch an attack. Joao Almeida of UAE Team Emirates struggled on the steep sections and had to let the others go. Roglic then took the lead, and only Geraint Thomas of INEOS Grenadiers could follow. At the finish line, the duo was 21 seconds ahead of Almeida, with the Team Jumbo-Visma leader in second place, 29 seconds behind Thomas.
“The climb of the Coi is just right for Primoz,” Kuss said. “We can be satisfied with the time he gained today. On days like today, you can only compete with the best if you are 100%. Luckily Primoz is in good shape. We look forward to tomorrow's queen stage, where we can try something as a team for the last time in this Giro. Saturday's time trial will be a man-to-man battle.”
Sports director Marc Reef was also pleased with the result of the first of two Dolomite stages. “Primoz reacted very well today to his lesser day on Tuesday,” Reef said. “Today Almeida had to give in to Primoz's attack. He seems to have had a bad day. Maybe Thomas, who could follow today, will have the same problem in the next two days. With the five riders his team has left in the race, they can control the race up to a certain point. When the real battle starts, they, too, will be struggling. Maybe we can take advantage of one of their weak moments.”
The Giro has three stages remaining for Roglic and Jumbo Visma to overtake Thomas. The queen stage on Friday will be 183 kilometers and feature 5,423 vertical meters.
Saturday’s individual time trial will be an 18.6 kilometer sprint. The race will then conclude Sunday with a 126-kilometer stage.
Kuss has also steadily moved up in the race’s general classification standings and was 16th after Stage 18, 11:30 back. Kuss has also scored six points and 10 king of the mountain points.