Gilbert wins solo stage 18, Contador stretches Giro lead 28 May 2015 17:56 Philippe Gilbert led a solo break to win stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, as Alberto Contador increased his lead in the general classification on Friday. BMC Racing man Gilbert caught a group of four riders with approximately 20 kilometres remaining, before breaking free to have a clear run to the finish line.
It was the Belgian’s second victory at this year’s Giro after his triumph on stage 12. Such was the dominant manner of his victory, he was able to wave to his team car in celebration with just over a kilometre remaining. And there was more joy for pink jersey holder Contador as the Tinkoff-Saxo man broke clear of a group including nearest rival Mikel Landa (Astana) to extend his lead to five minutes and 15 seconds. It took 44km of the 170km journey from Melide to Verbania for a 14-man break to form and at one stage their lead over the peloton surpassed 13 minutes. An early crash had already seen Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) exit the race, before a bigger pile-up in the peloton saw several Team Sky riders and Landa held up. By the time of the day’s only climb there were just five breakaway leaders and that soon became a foursome of David De La Cruz (Etixx-Quick Step) , Amael Moinard (BMC), Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (Team Sky). That group soon became eight riders, including Gilbert. He kicked on and soon established a sizeable gap that the chasers simply could not reel in. Bongiorno broke late from the leaders to take second place, while Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) was third. Further back the field, Contador had opted to break from the bunch and Fabio Aru (Astana) – who had long been second in the general classification – was dropped, while Landa had to work his way through the pack to try and limit Contador’s gains. Contador had an advantage of 90 seconds over Landa at one point, but the latter pulled some of that gap back – but not enough to see his deficit stretch beyond the five minute mark. Elsewhere, a crash saw Movistar’s Juan Lobato pull out of the race with a suspected fractured collarbone. Posted from WordPress for Android