Giro d’Italia: A brutal day in Piedmont
The first capital of Italy, between 1861 and 1865, and an important business and cultural center lying just 40 kilometers from the Sacra di San Michele, the monumental abbey that inspired Umberto Eco to write his cult novel “Il nome della rosa”, Torino returned at the race for the first time since 2016 with a short stage that everyone feared, held over a 147km route punctuated by many brutal hills that didn’t give a moment of respite to the peloton.
It was full-gas action from the start, with half of the bunch trying to get into the breakaway. Among the many riders who went all-out on the undulating roads taking to the first classified climb of the day were also Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Mauri Vansevenant and James Knox. The latter, after more than 48 kilometers covered at a frantic pace in the first hour of Saturday’s scorching hot stage, booked his place in the breakaway.
On paper, this day should have belonged to the escapees, but the peloton had other plans and flipped the script, putting down the hammer with more than 80 kilometers to go. Many of the GC favourites were caught out when the pace went up, while the leaders were rapidly caught by the small bunch. From there, four riders went clear and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) took the victory, while James Knox concluded the stage as the best-placed Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl rider.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images