With almost twenty minutes of advantage after already eighteen days of competition, the riders in the Giro d’Italia reached the finish of San Pellegrino Terme, the end of the Italian grandtour’s 18th stage after 151km where the fight to make the escape of the day was harder than ever.
No less than 53.5 kilometers were covered by the riders in the first hour of racing, involved in a non-stop fight where Movistar Team were represented in evey single of the moves that opened the way, before the final group of 15 riders that contested the victory took form in the 90th kilometer. Spaniard Luis Pasamontes was part of it: “It was amazing. We had reached the feed zone as we could not have got our breakfast digested. There was a terrific fight and, in our case, a big war against Astana for the team ranking. They were marking us a lot and that conditioned the forming of breakways a lot. There was some cobbled section through Bergamo and there we got Arroyo and myself into a split that formed the final break.”
The escape broke into pieces through the Passo di Ganda (Cat. 2), just over 30k from the finish line, where day’s winner Capecchi (LIQ), Pinotti (THR) and Seeldraeyers (QST) went ahead. “I was into the right place where I had to be, I couldn’t go better than that,” recognised Pasamontes. “They went off the group at the start of the climb by their own forces. Behind we didn’t got into an agreement and there was no option. It’s a pity, because since I made the cut, I was only thinking of dedicating the win to Xavi Tondo. It was a very huge blow, but since we decided to stay into the Giro, it gave me a big boost to suffer a little more. I know he’ll be really porud of us to be here, because he was a passionate follower of cycling. There are only two road stages left, but we’re going to fight until the very end to bring him some victory. Personally, I feel content. I came here to accomplished a mission and I think I’m doing it. Apart from looking for a stage win, I helped Ventoso in the first half of the Giro, and then took Arroyo as much protected as possible.”