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Simon Yates keeps the Maglia Rosa as Rohan Dennis takes TT win in Giro Stage 16

Peter Stuart
22 May 2018

A fantastic effort from Simon Yates saw him fend off the big challenge of the Giro, as Dennis takes a strong overall win

Rohan Dennis of BMC Racing took a blistering victory at the 34.5km individual time trial into Roverto for Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia, with a time of 40.00 and an average speed of 51.3kmh, while a dramatic race for the Maglia Rosa ensued behind him where British race leader Simon Yates maintained his overall lead.

Yates went into the time trial with 2 minute 11 second advantage over Tom Dumoulin who sat in 2nd place overall. The virtual maths was in full force as commentators tried to work out whether he would keep his Maglia Rosa. 

A surprisingly strong performance by Simon Yates to come in with a time of 41.37, meant that despite Dumoulin's very strong podium performance Yates kept hold of his lead. Though  the margin narrowed substantially between Yates and Dumoulin down to 1 minute 18 seconds.

Dumoulin finished 3rd overall, 22 seconds off Rohan Dennis, and 13 seconds ahead of Chris Froome, who rose to 4th place in the GC standings but didn’t manage to dent the overall lead of Simon Yates.

How the time trial unfolded

Tony Martin put in a very impressive early time of 40 minutes 13 seconds, an average of 51.2kmh for the much anticipated 34.5km time trial at the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia from Trento to Roverto.

The time looked set to remain atop the rankings for the day, but with over an hour before the final riders would come into the finish there was every chance of changes to the conditions, as well as the passions of the high stakes General Classification contenders at the back of the field.

A surprise result came from Fabio Aru, who despite showing historically little time trial form, came in third place at the time of finishing with a time of 40.37, an average of 51kmh and only 23 seconds down on the five-time TT world Champion Tony Martin.

Froome came into the first time split at 12km a full 24 seconds down on Martin, giving an early indication that today was not to be his day for a stage win. 

Dennis shortly after set his blistering time of 40.00, which would prove to be too quick to be matched by the GC contenders. Following that, it was a race against the clock for the maglia rosa.

At the 12.7km time check, Dumoulin registered a time equal to Martin but 17 seconds behind Rohan Dennis, suggesting he’d be a podium for the day and that this was his big chance for the overall Giro win.

However,  Yates surprised everyone at the first split with a time of only 38 seconds off  Dennis, and only 21 off Dumoulin, keeping him in the virtual leaders jersey if he were to maintain his pace.

Thibault Pinault unfortunately lost substantial time through the course, and had lost over 2 minutes to Dennis by the second time check. He would eventually finish 3 minutes 19 seconds off the winner, a result that put him outside the podium for the General Classification.

Froome came in with a time of 40.35, with an average of 50.5kmh, suggesting a perfectly executed negative split over the last half of the race and keeping him well within reach of the overall podium.

Against the clock

Dumoulin hit the second intermediate time check with a time of 29.56 and an average of 51.3kmh, keeping him on track for a top three position overall.

Yates lost some considerable time on one of the course’s more technical corners, where he needed to brake heavily to avoid a fall. He passed the second time check at 30.44, 1.07 behind Rohan Dennis’ time, but just still within reach of the Maglia Rosa.

Dumoulin finished 3rd overall, 22 seconds off Rohan Dennis with an average speed of 51.3kmh, and Yates was set to chase him into the finish for the pink jersey.

Simon Yates had a fantastic and emotive run into the finish, surprising many commentators with a time of 41.37, well amongst the stronger time trialists of the event and maintaining his lead of the overall race by 1 minute and 18 seconds.

He said of the new margins at the top that, 'Unfortunately for the fans I'll be riding a lot more defensively,' after the race. With two big mountain stages left, his victory isn't sure but he will likely remain the favourite to top the general classification in Rome.