Derek Gee Giro 2023 stage runner-up for fourth time on a mountains day
Thomas leads Roglič by 26 seconds going into final GC dayPhoto by: Sirotti
On a brutal day in the Dolomites, in his seventh 2023 Giro d’Italia breakaway, Derek Gee came runner-up for the fourth time in the 106th edition. Santiago Buitrago caught a solo Gee with 1.6 km to climb on Tre Cime di Lavaredo to take the win, his second in two years. Race leader Geraint Thomas takes a 26-second lead over Primož Roglič with one GC day to go.
This was it: the final GC road stage, considered by many the queen stage. Four categorized climbs–Cat. 2, Cat. 1, Cat. 1, Cat. 2–led to the only HC-rated monster of the 106th edition. c was 7.1 km at 7.8 percent, but the final kilometer was 11.1 percent. Yowzah!
Passo Campolongo, Passo Valparola, Passo Giau, Passo Tre Croci and Tre Cime di Lavaredo today at the #Giro.
That’s it, that’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/yt35h5AidQ
— Soudal Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (@soudalquickstep) May 26, 2023
Derek Gee couldn’t help but to go out on his seventh breakaway of the 2023 Giro d’Italia. The indomitable Canadian shook loose with 14 other fellows and was third over the top of the first Cat. 1 climb, short but steep Passo Campolongo. Buitrago had the most to gain GC-wise, as he was +12:02 to Thomas.
Midway through the day, the wizards of Procyclingstats posted this:
Gee’s gang started up Cat. 1 Passo Valparola with a 6:20 gap. The peloton’s order was Ineos, UAE-Emirates, Jumbo-Visma. Gee took the maximum KOM points. He was hauling himself up the mountains classification order.
The gap was still a hefty 7:30 when the escapees started up the Cat. 1 Passo Giau, 9.8 km of 9.3 percent. Gee upped the tempo and the break started to fragment. Movistar’s Carlos Verona, hit by another team’s car on Valparola, soloed off the front, eventually drawing Gee, Buitrago, Magnus Cort and Michael Hepburn. Again, the Canadian was first over the top and rose to third place in the KOM. On the descent almost the entire breakaway re-formed.
Cat. 2 Passo Tre Croci led directly to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. By the start of Croci, it was likely that the day’s winner would be a fugitive. Gee couldn’t help himself gobbling up the three bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint before the road kicked up and the rain began.
🔥 Now! #Giro #GirodItalia pic.twitter.com/sWYgpH3ikb
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 26, 2023
Passo Tre Croci
Larry Warbasse scampered away from his breakaway comrades. Buitrago and Cort pursued and caught the American. Guess who joined the front? That man Gee.
Hepburn made the junction to make it a wet quartet. Back in the peloton João Almeida’s main lieutenant Jay Vine cracked. Gee’s 18 points at the top meant that he was now second in both the KOM and points classification. Once again the front numbers grew. Hepburn and Buitrago attacked and Gee bridged.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Gee attacked on the final mountain. Buitrago was his closest pursuer.
The Colombian found the Canadian with 1.5 km to climb and immediately dispatched him.
A kilometre behind, fourth-place Eddie Dunbar cracked. Almeida took over the front. Roglič attacked and Thomas grabbed his wheel. Almeida kept them in sight and then joined up. Thomas attacked but Roglič came back just before the line and yanked back two seconds.
Gee said after the stage that he was going after the points classification second place. Buitrago’s “acceleration was ridiculous”.
Saturday is the final GC battle, a mountain time trial up to Monte Lussari, the ascent starting with 4.7 km of 15 percent.
2023 Giro d’Italia Stage 19
1) Santiago Buitrago (Colombia/Bahrain-Victorious) 5:28:07
2) Derek Gee (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +0:51
3) Magnus Cort (Denmark/EF Education-Easypost) +1:46
2023 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) 81:55:47
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:26
3) João Almeida (Portugal/UAE-Emirates) +0:59
22) Derek Gee (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +37:04