Biniam Girmay (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux) created history on stage ten of the Giro d'Italia, by becoming the first Eritrean and first black African rider to win a Grand Tour stage.
Coming into the final 500m, Girmay hit the front as he launched off of teammate Domenico Pozzovivo's rear wheel. The Eritrean superbly managed to fend off Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in the closing stages with his superior strength, as both riders absolutely pounded the pedals metres from the line.
Recognising he didn't have the legs to beat Girmay, Van der Poel gave his rival a thumbs up while crossing the finish line to offer some sort of congratulations in what proved a thrilling finale.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) also leads the Giro 2022 GC standings to retain the maglia rosa for yet another day too, the Spaniard keeping pace at the front of the peloton to ensure João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) stayed 12 seconds behind him in the GC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The peloton came into stage ten of the Giro d'Italia refreshed and revitalised, having enjoyed a rest day on Monday following a difficult final three stages of last week.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) lined up in Pescara still wearing the maglia rosa, though his GC lead was slashed to just 12 seconds by João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) after the finish up Blockhaus on Sunday. A further ten were within 90 seconds of the leader as well, meaning plenty of riders were in contention for overall victory heading into the full second week.
The race started with a host of attacks, but during the first 15km none of them were able to stick. It wasn't until Alessandro De Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech), Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Lawrence Naesen (AG2R Citroën) had managed to create a gap that the peloton settled down to allow these three riders to open up further distance.
During the first half of the race, taking place over pan-flat terrain, the breakaway group was allowed up to seven minutes on the peloton. Bais won the intermediate sprint to Civitanova Marche midway through the race, just before the punchy climbs began on the route into Jesi. At this point, the peloton started to work more efficiently than the leaders, managing to cut the time gap to under three minutes while still riding at a comfortable pace.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) crashed with 80km to go, but fortunately for the Ecuadorian he managed to get back on his bike unscathed. At the same point, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) dropped off the back of the peloton, with Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Wout Poels (Bahrain-Victorious) soon joining him.
Keen to win the second intermediate sprint to Filottrano, Bais put in another acceleration 43km from the end to add some further points to his and Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli's total. The trio up front were slowly being caught at this stage though, with their time gap reduced to 70 seconds with 35km left. Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux were working hard to close the distance, in an attempt to bring Biniam Girmay into play for the stage win.
With 30km to go, De Marchi launched a solo attack away from the chasing duo behind him, building up a 45 second buffer as Bais and Naesen were both caught. De Marchi's lead wouldn't last much longer though, with the peloton's pace considerably quicker going into the final 20km as the pack came together once again.
On the final, notable climb of the race to Monsano - a 4.2km long ascent at 4.2% - Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) attacked but could do little to steal a march on the Alpecin-Fenix riders drawing in the peloton. Both Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Girmay were ever-present at the front of the pack, the Eritrean aiming to become the first black African rider to win a Grand Tour stage. 25 riders-or-so were also involved, with the majority of the main GC contenders in play.
Attacks from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan), Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) came and went in the final 10km, but Van der Poel, without any other Alpecin-Fenix riders in the front group to help him, attacked with 4.5km left. His move didn't stick though, with the main bunch too strong to reel him back in.
Into the final kilometre, riders jostled for position as they attempted to launch their attack at the right time. The Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux team worked perfectly though, clearly throwing everything they had at this stage to try and secure Biniam Girmay the victory. The Eritrean launched from the lead out with less than 500m to go, but Van der Poel followed him.
The pair were neck and neck into the final 200m, both powering the pedals with as much strength as they could muster. Girmay just proved too strong for the Dutchman, though, who gave the Eritrean a thumbs up while crossing the line.
Girmay's victory is the first Grand Tour stage win for any rider from his country, and he also becomes the first black African to win a Grand Tour stage, too.
Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) came home in third to round out the podium, beating Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) over the line.
Elsewhere, the GC remains unchanged, with Juan Pedro López set to start the eleventh stage tomorrow once again wearing the pink jersey, as the Giro d'Italia 2022 route heads from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia.
GIRO D'ITALIA 2022, STAGE TEN: PESCARA TO JESI (196KM)
1. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, in 4-32-07
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix, at same time
3. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
6. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious
9. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10. Mauro Schmid (Sui) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE TEN
1. Juan Pedro López (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, in 42-24-08
2. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 12s
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 14s
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 15s
5. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 20s
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 28s
7. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 28s
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 54s
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-09
10. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 1-22
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