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16 Jun 2024 23:32
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  •   Home > News > International

    Kaden Groves finishes third on Giro d'Italia stage 18

    Kaden Groves opened his sprint into Padua with 150 metres to go with a maiden win at this year's Giro in his sights, only for the two fastest men at this year's race to swamp him in the final.


    Australian Kaden Groves suffered another agonising near miss at this year's Giro d'Italia, finishing in third place on stage 18 into Pauda.

    Belgian rider Tim Merlier won the bunch sprint to claim his second victory of this year's race, overhauling first Groves and Italian star Jonathan Milan by half a wheel after 178 kilometres of racing.

    Tadej Pogacar maintained his considerable lead with three days remaining.

    Merlier timed his last effort precisely to beat Milan, despite both sprinters being a long way behind Alberto Dainese when he opened up his sprint in the final 150 metres.

    Groves looked to have overpowered Dainese in his burst for the line, but Merlier managed to find a gap on the right while Milan powered down the middle.

    "The team did a really good job, and I wanted to sprint from the front today," Groves, who has had two third-place finishes at this year's Giro, told Cycling Pro Net at the finish.

    However, Milan could only shake his head wryly as he looked to his right to see Merlier raise his arms in celebration.

    "In the end, I could actually do a good sprint but Tim and Jonathan [were] too strong.

    "Maybe it was a bit too early, possibly a bit of headwind but these guys are so fast.

    "No excuses."

    Instead, it was Merlier who picked up his second stage win of the race, having previously won the third leg this year to add to his stage victory in the 2021 Giro.

    "We were always in good position, not a perfect line but we managed to be in a good position," Merlier said.

    "I was a bit surprised, the last kilometre was really fast with the two corners, and I was surprised even the last 600 or 500 meters.

    "Then I found my moment. I started my sprint but I need to go a bit around. But in the end I make it."

    Milan remains on top in the race for the points jersey, the Maglia Ciclamino, with 327 points, ahead of Groves in second place (200).

    The wait for a stage win to add to Groves's solitary victory at the Italian grand tour in 2023 goes on.

    "I think I miss the perfect stages with quite a lot of climbing," Groves said.

    "I'm not a pure sprinter [and] it's showing, I don't quite have the speed.

    "My performances I've been happy with, just not happy with the result."

    Caleb Ewan's miserable Giro continued with an eighth-place finish, his second-best finishing position in a sprint for the entire race.

    In the overall general classification, Pogacar remains 7 minutes, 42 seconds ahead of Daniel Martínez with third-place Geraint Thomas 8:04 behind the Slovenian star.

    Friday's 19th stage is an undulating stage with three categorised climbs in the final 60 kilometres of the 157-kilometre route from Mortegliano to Sappada.

    The Giro ends in Rome on Sunday.

    AP/ABC


    ABC




    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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