Mark Cavendish may have been left disappointed after the peloton failed to reel in the escapees on Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, but the "massive mistake" that allowed a four-man break to stay away was one of the factors that led to a hugely exciting stage, said Dan Lloyd on the post-race Breakaway.
Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) led home a four-man break to defy the peloton as the Belgian took a first Grand Tour stage win. He came in ahead of Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma), Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF).
The pulsating finish to the last flat stage of the race saw the sprinters' teams fail to reel the escapees in as Arnaud Demare and Mark Cavendish were left disappointed, but Lloyd, speaking on The Breakaway, was enthused by the stage.
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“It couldn't have been more exciting,” began Lloyd.
“There are so many different reasons, not least because the breakaway didn't get caught. I mean, obviously it looks like they've made a massive mistake. And I would say that they have done so - not necessarily by getting the chase at the end wrong because they [the four-man break] were going so fast out in front.
"But by letting a group of that quality go [and] at least three of those four we know have got huge horsepower, especially on the flatter road - Affini, Cort and De Bondt are quality riders.
“They were happy with those going up the road. But I just think if they'd chase those guys down and really bossed the peloton at the very beginning, it would have been a lot easier for them.
“They've paid the price for that.”
It was a sentiment that 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins agreed with when he gave his thoughts immediately after the race.
“Well, well, well, what a stage that turned out to be!” began Wiggins.
“Who would have expected the breakaway to stay away on a day like today with the teams that were behind chasing. Quick-Step, did they get it wrong? They did certainly because Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) won that stage.
“And I've just seen some of the faces of the people that have come in now, they're absolutely exhausted.
“But how wrong did the sprinters’ teams get it today?”

‘They certainly got it wrong!’ – Wiggins after the breakaway defies the peloton

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