Briton Simon Yates dug deep to retain his Giro d’Italia lead on Tuesday, fending off a challenge from Tom Dumoulin in the Dutchman’s specialty, the time trial. Dumoulin only yanked back 1:15 and now sits 56-seconds behind Yates with five stages to go. Early pink jersey holder Rohan Dennis took the day’s victory with a time of 40:00 over 34.2-km.

The Course

The 34.2-km course from Trento to Rovereto was pretty flat, with only a few pimples. The intermediate times were taken at the 12.7-km mark and at kilometre 25.6. There was a tailwind along much of the route.

The Stakes

Kicking off the final week of the Giro, the chrono was key; in fact, it was the most talked-about stage of the 101st edition, even more so than Zoncolan. At 43.9-km worth of races against the clock, the first Grand Tour of 2018 had the fewest Giro time trial kilometres since the 1974 edition.

Reigning champ Dumoulin had 2:11 to make up on Yates and would want to establish some kind of buffer before the final mountain stages. Behind the two top men, Domenico Pozzovivo and Thibaut Pinot had nine-seconds separating them in the race for the final podium spot. In 5th and 6th positions, 20-seconds were between South Americans Angel Lopez and Richard Carapaz in the young rider competition.

How high could Chris Froome climb from his 7th spot, or Dennis from his 11th? Could Michael Woods maintain his 17th?

Early Results

Resplendent in his national champion’s kit, Svein Tuft was the third rider to leave the start house and the Canadian hard man posted 44:24 in his final Giro chrono.

Among the early leaders were Trek’s Dane Mads Peterson (41:04) and Katusha’s Brit Alex Dowsett (40:40), LottoNL-Jumbo’s Jos van Emden (40:27) and Dowsett’s German teammate Tony Martin (40:14).

The Top-20 Rolls Out

The riders of the top-20 headed out with gaps of three-minutes between them.

Dennis cracked Martin’s time by stopping the clock at 40:00. He would bounce up the GC to sixth place.

Dumoulin had the fourth fastest time at the first check, while Froome was seventh fastest. Yates had lost only 21-seconds to Dumoulin at Check One.

Pinot wasn’t having a successful race against the clock, sixteen seconds in arrears of Pozzovivo at Time Check One and 46-seconds back after Time Check Two. Carapaz and Lopez were deadlocked after 12.7-km and Lopez muscled out three-seconds before Time Check Two.

Froome finished just outside the day’s top four with 40:35 and jumped over Pinot into fourth, 49-seconds behind Pozzovivo. Lopez now leads Carapaz by 30-seconds in the scrap for the white jersey.

Woods’ 43:30 was the best Canadian result of the day and EF-Drapac’s protected rider only dropped one spot to 18th in what is certainly not his forte.

Besides the Yates vs Dumoulin struggle in the final week, the Pozzovivo vs Froome skirmishing will be interesting. Can Pinot climb his way back into podium contention? Will Woods move up in the top-20? Lopez will be looking to usurp Dennis’s 6th place.

Wednesday will be one of the final chances for the sprinters. Elia Viviani is one victory up on Sam Bennett and leads the points competition by a gap of 40.

2018 Giro d’Italia Stage 16
1) Rohan Dennis (Australia/BMC) 40:00
2) Tony Martin (Germany/Katusha) +0:14
3) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:22
72) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) +3:30

2018 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) 66:39:14
2) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:56
3) Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/Bahrain-Merida) +3:11
4) Chris Froome (Great Britain/Sky) +3:50
5) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) +4:19
6) Rohan Dennis (Australia/BMC) +5:04
7) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +5:37
8) Pello Bilbao (Spain/Astana) +6:02
9) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) +6:07
10) George Bennett (New Zealand/LottoNL-Jumbo) +7:01
18) Michael Woods (Canada/EF-Drapac) +11:42

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