Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia stayed tight for the leaders who leaving the breakaway to take the spoils and Etixx-QuickStep to retain control of the maglia rosa.

After some early drama involving one of the race favourites, the stage came down to the final 30km as it hit the final two climbs of the day.

The winner was 21-year-old neo-pro Giulio Ciccone of (Bardiani-CSF) who rode out of his skin to launch his career off to glittering heights and perhaps mark himself as a Grand Tour rider to watch.

"Today I'm living the most beautiful day of my life. It doesn't feel real. It's like being in a bubble," Ciccone said. 

"Finally I've taken my first pro win. It highlights how much our team is like an enormous family. I thank them all, especially Nicola Boem who sacrificed himself for me. I hope I have paid him back for the faith he put in me by pulling our group. What a wonderful day."

Chasing Ciccone at the end of the 219km stage from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola were Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff) and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) who finished second and third.

Gianluca Brambilla handed the race lead to Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Bob Jungels after selflessly riding up the final climb in support of the man with whom he shares a room on the road.

"It doesn't often happen in cycling that the first rider in the classification pulls for the second one, so what (Gianluca) Brambilla did today is incredible," Jungels said.

"He was dropped, then he came back and pulled again. I can't believe it. This is one of the greatest days in my life. We're a group of friends. We've had three riders in the maglia rosa, starting with Marcel Kittel. We've achieved more than we expected - at least, I have."

Movistar were aggressive on the stage, sending Andrey Amador up the road on the descent into the final climb and at points during the race it looked like he would take the race lead. But despite Movistar's breakaway rider Giovanni Visconti dropping back to help pace the Costa Rican his time gap was largely hauled back in the final kilometre and he sits in second overall along with team leader Alejandro Valverde  who is in third.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Team Sky's Mikel Landa arrived at Stage 10 of the Giro in eighth overall position after posting a strong time trial compared to his normal output, but the Spaniard left the race early after he was dropped before the key climbs could be reached.

A prolific climber, Landa was third overall last year and had come into the race as one of the big favourites after winning the Giro del Trentino in the lead up.

The team reported that illness was responsible for the Spaniard losing a massive amount of time early and forcing him out of the race. 

“Mikel was ill overnight but we spoke this morning and he started today's stage with the hope of being able to pull through,” Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said.

"It was pretty clear that the illness had badly affected him and that he wasn't going to be able to continue.

"We are really disappointed for Mikel, who was riding well and looking forward to attacking in the mountains and animating the race.

"However, we came here as a team and we'll continue as a team. There is a long way still to go, and although our focus was on Mikel, there's plenty of time for us to still make an impact at this Giro."