Giro d’Italia leader Simon Yates’ loss of 28 seconds to defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) on the road to Prato Nervoso on Thursday now leaves the Mitchelton-Scott leader just 28 seconds ahead of the Dutchman overall, with three stages of the race remaining.
While Yates battles to net Mitchelton-Scott the Giro win in Italy – which would be the first Grand Tour victory for an Australian team – directeur sportif Matt White has made moves to reassure both fans and indeed the squad that it should be a case of business as usual in the mountains on Friday and Saturday before the race ends with a stage for the sprinters in Rome on Sunday.
“Simon’s a pure climber, and that was pretty flat and fast today in the final, so it’s not ideal,” said White at the finish. “But these next two days are real Alpine climbs and they fall more into Simon’s category.”
Yates has been helped considerably during the Giro by teammate, and roommate during this race, Jack Haig. The 24-year-old from Bendigo has been a key domestique for the Briton in the mountains, and is expected to again play a major role for Yates on the climbs on Friday and Saturday, having been given permission to take things a little easier during Thursday’s stage in readiness for what is still to come.
Over at Dimension Data, meanwhile, 22-year-old Ben O’Connor, who hails from Perth, is sitting pretty in 12th place overall, with designs on a top 10 finish in Rome on Sunday.
O’Connor has ridden beyond his years at this year’s Giro, eclipsing team leader Louis Meintjes early in the race. And while the South African would subsequently quit the race after Tuesday’s time trial, suffering from flu-like symptoms, O’Connor has enjoyed the support of his teammates and continues to look for a good GC finish.
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