The 18th stage of the Giro d’Italia may not have been long at just 131km, but it was certainly tough, with five categorised including a summit finish in Ortisei, and some pretty amazing stats on Strava for us to ogle over.
As was expected for such a short stage, the racing was fast from the start as a large number of riders attempted to make it into the break.
That number included a number of surges as Villela accelerated to close gaps and make attacks, including hitting 926 watts just 50 seconds after the flag dropped as part of a fast first four kilometres of racing where he averaged 378 watts.
Villela successfully made it in to the final break, only being caught in the final kilometre, and looking at his power numbers you can see him fatiguing throughout the day.
One the first climb of the Passo Pordoi he averaged 381 watts for 29-55, on the second, the Passo Valparola, 352 watts for 29-24, and by the final climb he was down to 346 watts for 27-53.
Villela was caught on the final climb by the GC contenders who didn’t look to be going full gas until the final few kilometres.
Watch: Giro d’Italia stage 18 highlights
For much of the climb the pace was set by Nairo Quintana‘s team-mate Winner Anacona, with the Movistar rider averaging 346 watts for 25-03. For comparison Anacona averaged 394 for 19-41 on the first half of the Blockhaus climb on stage nine as he set Quintana up for his attack.
Despite being the time where he was most prominent to TV viewers, this final effort was far from Anacona’s biggest of the race.
Movistar’s tactics were to put the Colombian in the breakaway so that he could be up the road to help Quintana when he launched his ultimately unsuccessful attack midway through the stage.
To make it into the break, Anacona had to put in a huge effort of 1,123 watts just two minutes into the stage, then average 367 watts for the first climb up the Pordoi.
Dumoulin’s most worrying moment of the stage came when Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali attacked with more than 50km to go on the Passo Gardena. In response, the Dutchman has to average 460 watts for just over two minutes as he manages to chase on before the summit.
The final four kilometres Dumoulin faced another dig from Quintana, then decided going on the attack himself before sitting up as Quintana and Nibali sat on his wheel as other GC riders went up the road.
Despite this lull, Dumoulin still averaged 342 watts for the final 7-35 of racing, while the lighter Quintana put out much less power with 272 watts.
The Frenchman was much faster, averaging 36.2kmh as he pursued Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) and Mikel Landa (Team Sky), even hitting 63kmh in his final sprint for the line.