After his courageous effort on stage 17, Santiago Buitrago went in the breakaway again and this time tasted his first Grand Tour victory over the Monterovere, crossing the line in Lavarone solo.
Buitrago joined an early breakaway of about 20 riders over Passo del Tonale. However, on the descent down, Buitrago was involved in a crash but fortunately had a quick change of bike and was able to stay with the group.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) eventually split the break and jumper clear with 30km to go and gapping the group of Buitrago by over a minute
On the Monterovere, the two riders further up the road began to slow as Buitrago attacked and started to bridge the gap. Van der Poel was the first to be caught, while just at the top of the summit, Buitrago pushed the pace to then distance Leemreize.

An emotional Buitrago crossed the line 35″ ahead of Leemreize and felt a sense of redemption after missing out on stage 12: “I’m so happy to have one my first WorldTour stage at a Grand Tour. It was tricky, especially crashing early on in the breakaway. I was dreaming about this, especially after the stage in Cogne when I finished second.
I’d like to thank the support I got from the team, my family and the supporters because today I’ve realised a dream.”

Meanwhile, in the battle for GC, Mikel Landa moved up to third overall. With the support of his teammates, Landa was able to distance AlmeidaLanda now sits just 1:05 behind the Maglia Rosa: it was another hard mountain stage. We took control on the second last climb and pushed the pace to start making the stage harder.
In the end, we tried to drop some contenders, but we have seen really strong legs from Hindley (Bora) and Carapaz (Ineos), but we’ve gained some seconds on Almeida. It’s a good sign, and I’m happy.
I’m also happy with the team performance and obviously super happy about Santi’s win. He has tried a couple of times, but today we saw his class. Overall a very good day for us.”
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