One week after Bora-Hansgrohe failed to bring back the breakaway when Taco van der Hoorn took his unexpected win, the same team ensured that the same man had no joy from the day’s break before leading their man Peter Sagan to glory in Foligno.
Sagan took the maglia ciclamino from Tim Merlier’s slumped shoulders after Bora distanced the Belgian sprinter on the day’s only categorised climb before the Slovakian showman repaid their faith in him with a solid victory to deny Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
Italy’s Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) took a distant third place ahead of compatriot Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal) and Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) in a reduced sprint following the earlier fireworks.
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Colombia’s Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) retained the pink jersey but saw Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck Quick-Step) creep one second closer in the standings after the Belgian tyro put on a show at the second intermediate sprint inside the final 20km of the 139km stage through Lazio and into Umbria.
Van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) was part of a five-man break alongside the ever-present Swiss schemer Simon Pellaud (Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec), Italian duo Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF) and Samuele Rivi (EOLO-Kometa) and Belgium's Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal).
'Strange one' – Train forces breakaway to stop, peloton don’t give time back
Perhaps wary of the rangy Dutchman’s staying power one week after Van der Hoorn caused an upset with his Stage 3 victory in Canale, the teams of the sprinters refused to give the move much leeway. Indeed, the gap never grew above 2’45” and then was considerably slashed when a passing train forced the riders to stop. shortly after Rivi won the intermediate sprint at Santa Rufina.
The break nevertheless held a gap of two minutes when the race entered some rolling terrain and Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team amassed on the front to put their plan in motion inside the final 60km.
Dutch sprinters Dylan Groenewegen and David Dekker (both Jumbo-Visma) were the first big-name riders to drop back from the peloton on a hill ahead of the day’s only categorised climb, the Cat.4 Valico della Somma. Here, the likes of Alpecin-Fenix’s Merlier and Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) were also distanced as the break was swept up.
Nizzolo - twice a runner-up in Foligno, and indeed 11 times runner-up in his Giro career - went over the summit 30 seconds off the pace before joining forces with teammate Victor Campenaerts in a wretched bid to rejoin the peloton on the descent.
Sensing blood - and a maiden win for Cimolai - Israel Start-Up Nation joined Bora on the front to ensure there could be no comeback for Nizzolo, who called it a day with 25km remaining.
'I did not make any effort, so why not?' - Bernal on surprise intermediate sprint
The second intermediate sprint at Campello sul Clitunno then sparked up an impromptu mini-GC battle when Ineos Grenadiers pre-empted a move by Deceuninck Quick-Step in the hunt for bonus seconds.
Filippo Ganna led out Bernal with an early push, only for Evenepoel to showcase his kick with a surge towards what looked certain to be three bonus seconds.
But the Belgian had not banked on the kick of Jhonatan Narvaez, the Ecuadorian doing his teammate Bernal a favour by blasting past to win the sprint. With Bernal holding on for third, Evenepoel's return for all his effort was a solitary second.
Every little helps - and this became evident at the finish in Foligno when a split in the peloton brought about by a crash in the final kilometre initially elevated Russia's Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) above Evenepoel to second place in the standings - just one second off Bernal's race lead.
The jury, however, adjusted the result according to the incident and the Belgian remains in second place ahead of Vlasov in third. Evenepoel enters the first rest day 14 seconds down on Bernal with Vlasov at 22 seconds.
Sagan's victory, meanwhile, saw the 31-year-old take back the maglia ciclamino he nearly won last year. He now has 108 points with both Gaviria and Cimolai tied on 91 points.
The second Giro stage win of his career came after Gaviria's teammate Juan Sebastian Molano led out the final sprint in Foligno only for Sagan - well placed through the final series of turns by his Bora teammates - to power past. Italy's Elia Viviani (Cofidis) lost his lead-out man Simone Consonni and could only take ninth place after battling to stay in contention on the climb which shed the rest of the sprint field.
The race resumes on Wednesday with the 162km Stage 11 from Perugia to Montalcino which features a finale over the famous Tuscan dirt roads used in the annual Strade Bianche race.
Stage 10 results
- 1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 3:10:56
- 2. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
- 3. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
- 4. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
- 5. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
- 6. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
- 7. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team
- 8. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
- 9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
- 10. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
- 1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 38:30:17
- 2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep +14
- 3. Alexandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech +22
- 4. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo +37
- 5. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ +44
- 6. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo +45
- 7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious +46
- 8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation +52
- 9. Simon Yates (GB) Team BikeExchange +56
- 10. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates +1:02
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