Dainese claims maiden Giro stage win as Lopez retains lead
Alberto Dainese became the first Italian winner in this year's Giro d'Italia on Wednesday when he clinched victory with a perfectly timed sprint in stage 11, a 203-kilometre (126.14 miles) ride from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia.
The 24-year-old surged past the favoured trio of French sprint leader Arnaud Demare, Briton Mark Cavendish and Australian Caleb Ewan, before sprinting off his compatriot Simone Consonni to secure his maiden stage win. Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) finished second and Consonni (Cofidis) came in third. Dainese was led out by DSM team mate Romain Bardet, who started the race third in the general classification, but later dropped to fourth. "To win so close to home at the Giro d'Italia is unbelievable," Dainese told reporters. "This morning our plan was to sprint with Cees Bol. It didn't work that way. It's insane that Bardet, who is third on GC, led me out. It's a fantastic feeling to win a stage of the Giro d'Italia." Italian riders Luca Rastelli and Filippo Tagliani were the early pace-setters, leading the flat stage 11 for the first half of the race, before being caught up by the main group with 91 km to go. Dutchman Dries De Bondt of Alpecin-Fenix powered ahead with 50km left, remaining in the lead until he was chased down just over one km from the finish. Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez retained his 12-second lead to hold on to the overall leader's pink jersey. Ecuador's Richard Carapaz leapfrogged Portugal's Joao Almeida into second place in the overall standings courtesy of three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint, but the two riders are level on time. "I've seen Richard Carapaz going for time bonus in an intermediate sprint but I'm not as fast as he is," Lopez said. "There was nothing I could do. Anyway I'm very happy to keep the Maglia Rosa for at least one more day." Thursday's stage 12 is a challenging 204km ride from Parma to Genoa, which features numerous climbs and a long and technical descent.
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