GERAINT THOMAS WILL put on the chief’s pink jersey into Saturday’s decisive mountain time trial on the Giro d’Italia after Primoz Roglic might take solely a handful of seconds out of the Welshman’s benefit on the Queen stage within the Dolomites.

Thomas and Roglic traded assaults within the remaining kilometre of this beastly stage however on the very prime of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo it was Roglic, who had modified bikes on the method to the final climb to get higher gearing, who was in a position to open up a three-second hole within the remaining few metres.

That cuts Thomas’ benefit to only 26 seconds going into Saturday’s race in opposition to the clock to the highest of the Monte Lussari.

Joao Almeida was distanced within the final couple of hundred metres to concede 20 seconds however the Portuguese comfortably retains his spot on the rostrum, 59 seconds down, after Eire’s Eddie Dunbar fell away late on to lose fourth place total to Damiano Caruso. Dunbar is now 4.53 behind Thomas.

Ben Healy sits third within the King of the Mountains classification, with French veteran Thibaut Pinot in pole place. At one level throughout at present’s stage, Healy appeared to conceded defeat to Pinot earlier than dropping one other assault simply moments later.

In the meantime race chief Thomas is anticipating an in depth race on Saturday following at present’s gruelling stage.

“It was OK,” Thomas stated. “After I went with 400 metres to go I realised after 100 that 400 is a great distance at this altitude. I simply tried to tempo it after which Roglic got here previous within the final 100 metres or so.

“I misplaced a few seconds on the road however it was good to achieve a while on Joao, will probably be tremendous shut tomorrow. I feel it’s going to be thrilling to look at, horrible to do.”

Santiago Buitrago took the win from what had been a 12-strong breakaway, once more denying Derek Gee, the Canadian who was in a seventh break of this Giro and who had fought till the ultimate 1500 metres earlier than watching the Colombian dance away.

Earlier than the stage started Thomas, who celebrated his thirty seventh birthday on Thursday, had joked he mustn’t nonetheless be doing this type of factor at his age and should be on a seaside someplace.

As a substitute, the Ineos Grenadiers rider was tackling a 183km stage via the Dolomites that included virtually 5 and a half thousand metres of climbing.

The final time the Giro visited this end 10 years in the past, Vincenzo Nibali emerged from a snowstorm on the summit to take a win which successfully sealed his total victory.

There could be nothing so decisive right here given what continues to be to come back on Saturday, however it might be one other main take a look at ticked off for Thomas as Roglic might solely put a minor dent in his lead.

The Slovenian actually tried to do extra. With 20km to go Roglic stopped to swap bikes, hopping on to a machine with a single ring on the entrance and a monster 44t sprocket on the again, an indication of his intentions for a finale the place gradients hit 16%.

As clear skies gave technique to heavy rain and hail, Thomas’s Ineos Grenadiers set their common sturdy tempo to whittle down the slim remnants of the peloton.

That did for Dunbar with a few kilometres to go. Almeida briefly moved up as riders fought for area on roads filled with excited followers.

Roglic wriggled via however Thomas reacted to remain on his wheel as they reached the sanctuary of the obstacles on the method to the road.

Thomas then made his personal transfer with 400 metres to go and appeared to be leaving Roglic behind, just for the Slovenian to discover a remaining kick on the finish and take again three seconds, narrowly failing to catch Magnus Cort who rode in third to take the final of the bonus seconds on the road.

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