On the penultimate climb, Vini Fantina rider Fabio Taborre broke clear of the break and continued alone while Manuele Boaro was chasing behind with his fellow escapees. On the final climb, Garmin-Sharp and Astana moved to the front of the field, picked up the pace and suddenly, all escapees were caught as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) went solo leaving Vincenzo Nibali on the chase with Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka on his tail.
On the top of the final ascent, there was a front group of about 30 riders while the leading rider, Salvatore Puccio (Sky) was dropped before the technical final descent where Ryder Hesjedal once again launched a determined attack.
Six kilometers to go, 20 riders were in the front of the course and not surprisingly, Luca Paolini (Katusha) opened the finale with a stinging attack while the GC riders played the waiting game looking at each other. A series of crashes marred the descent but Luca Paolini (Katusha) managed to stay on the bike, took the stage win and the leader’s jersey.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka finished 50 seconds behind the winning rider and is now 26th at 1:34.
”We had two major goals today. Keeping Rafa out of trouble on the tricky descent and flashing the jersey with Manuele. We succeeded. Even though he lost a bit more than half a minute to the top favorites, it’s not a disaster for us. His terrain will come in the final week of the Giro and we hope he’s peaking at that time so he’ll be able to take advantage of the high mountain terrain. I think it’s refreshing that Hesjedal is providing us with such fireworks when we don’t expect it. It certainly adds colors to the race. Tomorrow, there’s another demanding stage and our objective is putting Rafa in a good position at the foot of the uphill finish,” says Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.