Side stitch hits Arensman in final phase of Giro mountain stage: Dutchman drops from 9th to 11th in GC Cycling

Side stitch hits Arensman in final phase of Giro mountain stage: Dutchman drops from 9th to 11th in GC

Side stitch hits Arensman in final phase of Giro mountain stage: Dutchman drops from 9th to 11th in GC

Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) was the only one among the GC contenders who had his team working to limit Roman Bardet's (dsm-firmenich PostNL) lead on Tuesday. The Italian saw white jersey rival Cian Uijtdebroeks (Visma | Lease a Bike) encounter difficulties in the final phase and in turn received compliments from pink jersey wearer Tadej Pogacar. At INEOS Grenadiers, Geraint Thomas spoke out after the stage, while Thymen Arensman explained his slight time loss.

Pogacar praised the racing style of Tiberi, who put his team to work towards the final climb and also made an attacking move, similar to what he tried in the stage towards Prati di Tivo. "He has the guts to do that and that makes him my biggest competitor," said Pogacar, who was visibly disappointed that he couldn't contend for the stage win himself.

"It was a very tough day, right from the start," Tiberi told Eurosport. "The battle for the day's breakaway was fierce, and eventually Damiano Caruso was in it for us, which was perfect, of course. In the finale, we decided to set the pace for Bardet, which the guys did very well. Damiano then waited to support me, after which he rode hard at the front for two or three kilometers."

"My legs felt good, so I decided to attack to gauge the competition," he said. "I'm now sixth, and I wouldn't want Bardet to be ahead of me. I've had my share of bad luck on Oropa, and I want to use my good legs now to gain time, especially with the time trial in mind. I feel strong, which is a very positive thing after the rest day."


Thomas and INEOS chose conservative tactics

Uijtdebroeks eventually lost nine seconds to Tiberi, while Arensman lost 22 seconds at the finish. Just like his INEOS team leader Thomas, the Dutchman is not known for his strength in these kinds of stages, prompting INEOS to opt for a conservative tactic.

"We knew that a group of good climbers would likely stay away and that UAE-Team Emirates would set the pace. With the headwind towards the finish, it wouldn't be too crazy of a finale, so I think we can say it was a good stage. It was one of the easiest uphill finishes, although Bahrain Victorious eventually set a strong pace," Thomas told Cycling Pro Net.

"Still, Tiberi didn't really go anywhere with his attack, knowing it was into a headwind. This wasn't a day to make a difference, so we chose to ride with the other teams. Three tricky days are coming up, and then we can prepare for a tough weekend. I felt good, so that was nice. And the same goes for the team."

Arensman spoke out on Instagram after the stage. "Always nice to start the second week with a side stitch during the last two kilometers," the Dutchman said with a hint of cynicism. "So, it wasn't the best start to this second week, but the legs weren't even that bad. There are still some beautiful stages ahead," he says, eager for the upcoming stages. Arensman dropped from ninth to eleventh in the GC as escapees Romain Bardet and Filippo Zana passed him.

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