2018 Giro d'Italia review: The great collapse of the favourites
May 29 2018 12:24 am CET

2018 Giro d'Italia review: The great collapse of the favourites
2018 Giro d'Italia review: The great collapse of the favourites
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The 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia started with some clear favourites, but as the weeks passed, different factors diminished that group.

Esteban Chaves, Chris Froome, Fabio Aru, Tom Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot and Simon Yates arrived in the Corsa Rosa as the favourites to take the title, but only a few would survive a race that showed to be extremely hard and surprising.

Even though the mountains did their job by making a selection of the riders that had real chances to take the endless trophy home, the second time trial also helped to break some barriers of exhaustion. If to that, sickness gets added, the race became a bit too long for some of the strongest riders.

Let's take a look at the moments that marked the collapse in the race of the riders that were competing for the overall classification.

Esteban Chaves

It was already in the first mountain stage, finishing on the mythical Mount Etna, that Esteban Chaves showed his cards by being part of a breakaway of which he was the only survivor. Though he was joined in the last kilometres by his teammate Simon Yates, the Colombian took the stage win.

Chaves reached the second rest day being second in the General Classification behind Yates in what seemed to be a dream scenario for Mitchelton-Scott. The efforts of the last week and the one day of quietness didn't seem to do any good to the rider who lost 25 minutes and 25 seconds at the 10th stage, falling to the 39th place in the overall classification.

Even though the next two days the Colombian could control the losses to five minutes per day, on the 13th stage he arrived in the last position at more than 15 minutes from Elia Viviani, who won the final sprint. In the 14th, he got to the top of the Monte Zoncolan 26 minutes later than Chris Froome, and in the 15th at 29 minutes from Yates.

Last week wasn't any easier for the rider, who even at the last stage was overlapped and arrived last at the Roman finish line. He finished in the 72nd position on the overall classification, at three hours, 21 minutes and 31 seconds from Chris Froome.

Fabio Aru

The Italian champion arrived to the competition as one of the favourites and with the clear conviction of finally stepping on the highest spot of the race podium, after being third in 2014 and second in 2015. The race started on a good foot in the opening time trial, where he only lost 50 seconds, and continued well at the Etna stage, where he arrived with the favourites' group at 26 seconds from Chaves and Yates, as well as the 8th day, in which he crossed the finish line at seven seconds from Richard Carapaz.

Certain weakness in the shape of the Italian started to be evident at the mid-mountain ninth stage, in which he crossed the finish line at one minute and 14 seconds from winner Yates, and occupied the 15th GC position at two minutes and 36 seconds from the Pink Jersey. The day of the Zoncolan, the Italian lost more than two minutes, and the next day turned out to be a very bad moment for him in which he lost more than 19 minutes and dropped to the 25th position, already losing all the chances to win the race.

The luck of the rider seemed to change on the second ITT when he finished at only 37 seconds from winner Rohan Dennis but he was later fined for drafting, having 20 seconds added to his result. The next two stages for the Italian wouldn't get any better as he finished at more than six minutes in the 17th and at more than 26 minutes in the 18th.

The disappointed rider decided to step into the team car during the 19th stage of the race when he was in the 27th spot of the GC at 45 minutes from Yates.

Simon Yates

This race seemed to be the dreamed moment for the Briton in which he was going to take his first victory in a grand tour after topping the Young rider classification at the Tour de France of 2017. Things seemed to be under control in the first stages and a surprise move on the 6th stage gave him the Pink Jersey.

Yates wore the Pink Jersey for 13 days in which he took three stage victories and took any opportunity to increase his advantage on Tom Dumoulin, who on paper was going to take at least two minutes during the second time trial. During that time trial, the Briton confessed to have gone to the limit, making an effort that would eventually diminish his chances of keeping the leader's jersey.

In the mountain stage of the 18th stage, the rider and Mitchelton-Scott could control the losses by arriving with the favourites group, but the next day the story was going to be very different. The 19th stage was not only the day that a strong strategic attack gave Chris Froome the victory that would also give him the GC lead, but also the day Yates' body couldn't hold it anymore and he lost more than 38 minutes to the leader.

The next day was not any better, and the Briton lost 45 minutes to stage winner and teammate Mikel Nieve. Yates finished the race in the 21st position in the overall classification, at one hour, 15 minutes and 11 seconds from Froome.

Thibaut Pinot

The Frenchman came to the race as one of the favourites after finishing third in the 2014 Tour de France, wearing the White Jersey as well. In the first week of racing, things went well for the rider as he finished only 26 seconds away from Chaves and Yates on the Etna, at seven seconds from Carapaz in the 8th stage and at the same time as the Mitchelton-Scott duo.

The first set-back for the rider happened in the second ITT, where he lost three minutes and 19 seconds to the day's winner Dennis. That day the Frenchman dropped one GC spot to the fifth position at four minutes and 19 seconds from Yates.

In the 18th stage, Pinot lost a few more seconds but managed to remain in the top five of the overall classification. A day later he arrived in the third position to the finish line just behind Froome and Carapaz. But the worst moment for the rider came in the 20th stage when he got dropped by the pack early on the day and finished 45 minutes behind Nieve.

After the finish, the cameras showed dramatic scenes of the rider vomiting and later on, he was taken to the hospital where he arrived with a fever and was diagnosed with pneumonia. The rider didn't get to see the stage of Rome and at the moment of his withdrawal, he was 16th in the General Classification, at 43 minutes and 46 seconds from Froome.

By Mary Cárdenas
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