Matteo Trentin (Ettix-QuickStep) came from the clouds at the finish of Stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia to steal the win off Moreno Moser (Cannondale) and team-mate Gianluca Brambilla. The pair had gone away on the ascent of the Pramartino and looked set to fight it out at the finish, but Moser was caught unawares by the charging Trentin and Brambilla looked happily surprised to see his team-mate sneak the win.

The longest stage of the race at 240 kilometres, the early move was a big one, composed of 24 riders with most of the teams represented. With the points at the intermediate sprints only of interest to a few with ambitions still for the red jersey, with Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) taking the most points on the road.

After cooperating well to push the advantage of the move above 13 minutes at its biggest margin, the attacks began to come from the move with 40km to go. The initial skirmishes were just a prelude for the Pramartino climb where the pair of Brambilla and Moser looked a lot stronger than the rest as they powered clear on the lower slopes. 

Behind them a chase group of four formed, with Trentin the only one able to sit on as he has his team-mate Brambilla up the road. On the final steep, cobbled climb of the stage, whilst Moser and Brambilla traded punches up front, Trentin was able to drop his companions and began his solo bridge to the front pair.

In the final kilometre, Moser and Brambilla began to slow in preparation for the sprint and Trentin popped into sight behind the pair. Moser explained after the stage that he had lost his radio, but he wasn't keeping an eye out behind either. Trentin caught him completely by surprise as he swept by with far too much momentum for Moser to catch his slipstream, winning with a good margin at the finish.  

After the finish, Trentin was understandably elated with his performance and another win for Etixx-Quickstep in what has turned out to be a superb Giro for the squad.

"It was beautiful, I came into the Giro with the objective to win at least a stage because I knew my condition was really good from the classics," Trentin said. "I was sure that sooner or later, a stage for me would come."

"I knew that I had to go with my tempo, keep the best as I can. A little bit under the limit to not explode and keep the guys there. Then I just managed to go on the last climb, all the power I could put on the pedals and it was just perfect."

Behind the battle between the general classification contenders never really got going as Enrico Battaglin (Lotto NL-Jumbo) did a superb job for team-mate and race leader Kruijswijk in neutralising the main climb of the day. There was some testing of legs up the final cobbled ascent but nothing too serious as most of the favourites rolled over the finish together, with only 11th placed Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) losing time to drop below Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale) into 12th overall. 

Friday 27 May 2016