Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) were again distanced as the Giro d’Italia went uphill – with their more versatile, but slower, sprint rivals keen to remove them from the equation on Stage 10.
Alpecin-Fenix and Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux, riding for pre-stage favourites Mathieu van der Poel and Biniam Girmay respectively, wanted to ensure Cavendish and Ewan were distanced before the finish.
“This will give them motivation at the front,” said Dan Lloyd on Eurosport commentary as news filtered through that Cavendish was in trouble with 69km remaining, with Ewan already distanced.
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“It’s exactly what Intermache and Alpecin-Fenix are looking to achieve today, they don’t want these very fast riders still here at the finish.”
With a punchy Cat. 4 climb on the menu shortly before the finish in Jesi, it always seemed unlikely Cavendish, Ewan and the other out-and-out sprinters would make it to the finale in contention.
It left Robbie McEwen, a 12-time stage winner at the Giro, sympathising with the Manx Missile.
“Cav, if he could speak to them right now, he would yell at them: ‘You don’t have to get rid of me now! You can get rid of me anytime I’m not going to get over the last climb anyway. Can you take it a bit easy so I don’t have to ride on my own to the finish? You don’t have to go this hard!”

'Last person I would expect that from!' – Dumoulin pretends to chuck bottle at Lopez

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