JThe whole peloton is on high alert, with teams and riders watching every move. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) cut, but the German was run over by the race leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) who is clearly in no mood to give up his maglia rosa without a fight. Richard Carapaz and his teammate Ineos Grenadiers Jhonatan Narvaez went ahead on a descent to create panic in the peloton, but again the South Americans quickly found the reduced peloton. The first 75 kilometers of the stage were run at a very high pace, which made the grupetto firm up earlier than expected. If they keep going at this speed, some riders may drop out of the race this afternoon if they fail to finish in the allotted time.
Speaking of runners who won’t be on the starting line on Saturday, Michael Morkov (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) was a non-starter, Mark Cavendish’s leading man suffered from a fever overnight. Owain Doull (EF Education-EasyPost), Sergio Samitier (Movistar) and Samuel Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), meanwhile, abandoned during the first hours of the stage.
Back on the road, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Woet Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Davide Villella (Cofidis) linked to Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) in the lead, while Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) set off in pursuit of the leading quartet before the Dutchman was joined by his compatriot Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Diego Camargo (EF Education-EasyPost). This trio of pursuers finally closed in, to swell the leading group to seven with 122.5 km of this barn-stormer with a stage to go.