There are now only three big mountain stages between Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and his first Grand Tour victory. He leads Tom Dumoulin by 56 seconds in the Giro, and hasn’t shown any sign of weakness to this point.
“There’s one guy who is outstanding. If you took him away, Tom would be in the lead, with less time trial kilometres than last year, and with more mountaintop finishes, tougher stages and more travelling,” Sunweb directeur sportif Marc Reef said. “I think that shows he’s in better shape than last year.”
“We just have to see how it goes in the race,” Dumoulin said before taking his leave on Wednesday evening. “The Giro only finishes in Rome, not before.”
Stage 18, a 196km route from Abbiategrasso to the summit of Prato Nevoso, will deliver a total elevation gain of 2,000 metres. The final 15km run entirely uphill.
“It looks like a good stage for me, because it’s a bit like Oropa last year. There’s a flat start and then one big effort on a climb that’s quite regular. I can go well in that kind of a stage,” Dumoulin said. “I’ve never done it, but I can see from the profile it suits me. We’ll see if I can do something good, but it all depends on the legs.”