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Giro d'Italia 2019: Peloton leaves it too late as Cima wins in nailbiting sprint on Stage 18

Joe Robinson
30 May 2019

Peloton miss out on catching break by 50m as young Italian takes big win

Nippo-Vini Fantini Fanzine's Damiano Cima took an unlikely win on Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia as the breakaway held off the chasing peloton in a nailbiting finale.

The Italian launched his sprint in the final 200m, not only beating his two break compatriots but also holding off a fast-finishing Pascal Ackermann who finished in second and Simone Consonni (UAE-Team Emirates) who came third.

The peloton will be left kicking themselves as it failed to catch the three-man break, also containing Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale) and Marco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF).

Despite many teams committing heavily to the chase in the final 20km, the trio up front proved too strong with Cima taking a memorable victory and the first Giro stage win for his Nippo-Vini team.

The final flat day

Stage 18 was a much-deserved break from the mountains for the Giro d'Italia and the final day in which the sprinters could take glory.

It was a long day at 222km but mostly downhill as the peloton headed south from Valdaora through the Veneto region to Santa Maria di Sala.

With the GC guys just hoping to make it through safely, the day's big story would be between the only two major sprinters left in the race, Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Demare was the current occupier of the Maglia Cicclamino, the best sprinter jersey, holding a 13 point lead over Ackermann. Both had also won two stages a piece proving there was little to separate the big men.

With that in mind, both teams were obliged to control proceedings which was why only a small break of three was allowed to escape. Included were Nico Denz (AG2R La Mondiale), Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) and Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Fanzine).

It was never going to last, the ever-hovering gap of 4 minutes proved that, but it was important for Cima.

The day was pretty subdued as the peloton bided its time. The only action of note in the first 150km being the race for intermediate sprint points. While the break snapped up the first three places, Demare rolled Ackermann at the line to increase his Cicclamino lead by one point.

The break did well to hold off the chase, keeping the gap to around three minutes with 22km to go. The peloton was riding hard to chase by the break seemed to have them matched, relaying well between the three of them.

With every metre it was looking like the catch was becoming increasingly unlikely. The peloton was throwing all its weight behind the chase but it was not chipping away quickly enough. 

With 5km left, it was still in the balance with the gap remaining around the 50-second mark.

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