Dries De Bondt secured a surprise win on stage 18 of road cycling's 2022 Giro d'Italia on Thursday (26 May) as Olympic champion Richard Carapaz retained the leader's pink jersey.
The Belgian De Bondt from the Alpecin-Fenix team was part of an early four-man breakaway who avoided being caught by the peloton despite the final flat 45km.
De Bondt claimed his first stage in a Grand Tour after outsprinting Italy's Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) to the finish line in Treviso, with Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post) of Denmark completing the podium.
"It was a good collaboration until the last kilometre. Everyone predicted a bunch sprint, but we made a plan during the race, we sticked to the plan and we pulled it off," De Bondt said after the race.
"I can't believe it, it actually was just a dream, but since I started cycling I had dreams and some of them have become goals. I had big dreams and made goals out of my dreams. Last year I raced the Giro as a national champion and this year I had the goal of winning a stage. I pulled it off and it's just amazing," the 30-year-old added.
Joao Almeida, who was sitting fourth in the overall standings before the stage, had to abandon the race after testing positive for COVID.
Jai Hindley crossed the line a minute after the GC leader Carapaz, but since the Australian suffered a puncture within the last three kilometres he won't lose any time.
"Today was a really fast stage. We thought it was going to be tranquil and easy but it went quickly today," said Carapaz, who retains a three-second lead on Hindley.
"We got through today, that's the most important thing. We saved the day and we've got two very important days coming up."
Friday's stage 19 will see riders facing 177km from Marano Lagunare to Castelmonte Sancturary ending with a 9km ascent.
2022 Giro d'Italia: Stage 18 Results - Thursday 26 May
- Dries De Bondt (Belgium) Alpecin-Fenix 3:21:21
- Edoardo Affini (Italy) Jumbo-Visma
- Magnus Cort (Denmark) EF Education-EasyPost
- Davide Gabburo (Italy) Bardiani-CSF-Faizane
- Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) +0:14
Giro d'Italia 2022: General Classification standings after Stage 18
- Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) INEOS Grenadiers
- Jai Hindley (Australia) BORA-Hansgrohe +0:03
- Mikel Landa (Spain) Bahrain-Victorious +1:05
- Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Astana Kazakstan Team +5:48
- Pello Bilbao (Spain) Bahrain-Victorious +6:19
Giro d'Italia race schedule in 2022
The 2022 Giro began on Friday 6th May 2022, and will conclude on 29th May.
6 May: Stage 1 - Budapest-Visegrad (195 km) - Won by Mathieu van der Poel, who claims overall lead.
7 May: Stage 2 - Budapest-Budapest (Time trial, 9.2km) - Won by Simon Yates. Mathieu van der Poel remains overall leader.
8 May: Stage 3 - Kaposvar-Belatonfured (201 km) - Won by Mark Cavendish. Mathieu van der Poel remains overall leader.
9 May: Rest day
10 May: Stage 4 - Avola-Etna (166 km) - Won by Lennard Kamna, Juan Pedro Lopez claims overall lead.
11 May: Stage 5 - Catania-Messina (172 km) - Won by Arnaud Demare, Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
12 May: Stage 6 - Palmi-Scalea (192 km) - Won by Arnaud Demare, Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
13 May: Stage 7 - Diamante-Potenza (198 km) - Won by Koen Bouwman, Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
14 May: Stage 8 - Napoli-Napoli (149 km) - Won by Thomas de Gendt. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
15 May: Stage 9 - Isernia-Blockhaus (187 km) - Won by Jai Hindley. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
16 May: rest day
17 May: Stage 10 - Pescara-Jesi (194 km) - Won by Biniam Girmay. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
18 May: Stage 11 - Santarcangelo di Romagna-Reggio Emilia (201 km) - Won by Alberto Dainese. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
19 May: Stage 12 - Parma-Genova (186 km) - Won by Stefano Oldani. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
20 May: Stage 13 - Sanremo-Cuneo (157 km) - Won by Arnaud Demare. Juan Pedro Lopez remains overall leader.
21 May: Stage 14 - Santena-Torino (153 km) - Won by Simon Yates. Richard Carapaz claims overall lead.
22 May: Stage 15 - Rivarolo Canavese-Cogne - Won by Giulio Ciccone. Richard Carapaz remains overall leader.
23 May: rest day
24 May: Salo-Aprica (193 km) - Won by Jan Hirt. Richard Carapaz remains overall leader.
25 May: Ponte di Legno-Lavarone (165 km) - Won by Santiago Buitrago. Richard Carapaz remains overall leader.
26 May: Borgo Valsugana-Treviso (146 km) - Today's stage
27 May: Marano Lagunare-Santuario di Castelmonte (178 km)
28 May: Belluno-Marmolada (Passo Fedala)
29 May: Verona-Verona (Time trial, 17.1km)
How to watch Giro d'Italia 2022
Every stage of the race is filmed and made available for live TV coverage and streaming via local broadcast partners in different regions.
In Europe, this is via Eurosport and Discovery+, with RAI Sport in Italy showing the coverage for viewers in the host nation. GCN+ in USA/Canada, SBS TV in Australia, and BeIN Sports are other major broadcasters offering television and livestream coverage.
Full details of broadcasting and race updates are also on the official giroditalia.it website.