By David Williams
Geraint Thomas insists he is biding his time and that winning the Giro d’Italia is still firmly in his grasp and that of his team, Ineao Grenadiers.
The Welsh rider remains in second place in the overall classification after Sunday’s Stage 15, following his loss of the pink jersey the day before.
France’s Bruno Amirail of Groupama-FDJ remains in the leader’s overall pink jersey – with an advantage of one minute and eight seconds – despite losing time to the main contenders late on.
Thomas, lost the lead to Armirail on stage 14, but his team are far more concerned wit attacks from those behind him in the standings than the threat from Amirail, which is not expected to be sustained.
As the riders face a week in the mountains, Thomas’s strategy is to make sure he is in the lead come next weekend.
“This race is going to explode at one point, I hope I’m at the right end of it,” Thomas said in Bergamo after stage 15.
“It’s a waiting game at the moment but with three mountain finishes in the final week, including the final TT, a hell of a lot can happen.”
“I’m content to wait for now. Hopefully, we can do something.
“To be honest, I came into the Giro hoping to limit my losses in the first two weeks, hoping to have good, good legs at the end. To be in front of the main rivals is certainly a nice bonus.”
“There’s also team dynamics and how people are feeling. Yesterday I didn’t want to burn all the team to keep the jersey.
“It’s not just about me, we need the team to set me up, so we’ve all got to get into the last week as best as possible.”
Nico Denz sprinted to victory on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia as Ineos Grenadiers were content to allow the Pink Jersey to slip from Geraint Thomas’s grasp https://t.co/VkR2fSznUW
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) May 21, 2023
Brandon McNulty won stage 15 while Armirail retained the Maglia Rosa.
The UAE Team Emirates rider won in thrilling circumstances to secure his first victory at the Giro following a three-man sprint in the final kilometre of the race.
The climax of the the 195-kilometre long Seregno-Bergamo meant McNulty edged out Ben Healy and Marco Frigo, who finished second and third respectively.
McNulty said afterwards: “I’m stoked. This was my goal coming here. I wanted a stage win but I got sick in the time trial.
“I wanted to finish solo but luckily I managed to win, even in a sprint.
“I knew the third guy was coming across. Let’s hope this win adds to the team’s motivation on GC with Joao Almeida.”
Armirail said: “It’s been difficult to retain the Maglia Rosa.
“It was a hard stage with a lot of climbing and there was Einer Rubio at the front. He was likely to take the jersey so my team-mates had to pace all along.
“Yesterday I didn’t realise what it was to take the Maglia Rosa but today with the incredible support of the crowd I’ve found out what it’s like.
“It’s huge and I’m delighted to stay in the lead on the rest day.”