A fast start was expected as the peloton rolled out of Terni on Saturday afternoon and that’s exactly what they got, with a fierce and ferocious fight to make the breakaway. Unfortunately, Florian Stork had to abandon the race in the opening 50 kilometres; having fallen sick last night, the opening for today’s stage proved too much for him. The rest of the team rolled with the attacks well, covering any dangerous moves and the pink jersey himself Andreas Leknessund sneaking into one of the groups that had a brief lead.
Eventually proceedings calmed down and a large 13 rider group went clear. With no immediate threat to the GC lead, the team took stock before Martijn Tusveld and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg began to set tempo in the valley roads so that the gap didn’t grow out too far as Barguil was roughly six minutes behind Leknessund at the start of the day. Looking to hold onto the jersey, the team also didn’t want the gap to get too close and entice a battle for the stage win as well amongst the peloton and give the GC riders the opportunity to go for bonus seconds.
Managing the gap perfectly, the breakaway held onto an advantage of five minutes going onto into the last 50 kilometres of the day where the climbing resumed. Niklas Märkl, Alberto Dainese, Marius Mayrhofer and Harm Vanhoucke kept the tempo high so that Leknessund was in a good position for when the action started. As the kilometres and climbs ticked by the GC group thinned down, while ahead Healy would go on to claim the spoils from the break.
On the last ascent there were attacks in the GC group with Roglic going on the charge. Riding brilliantly, Leknessund was one of the only few riders who could respond to his initial acceleration. The steep ramps continued and the race leader had to let go of the wheels, but Leknessund fought valiantly over the top and found himself in another group of riders. Going all-in to the line, it was enough for Leknessund and Team DSM to retain the race lead by eight seconds ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial.