Portugal’s Joao Almeida retained the lead in the race.
Fresh in the tyre tracks of teammate Richard Carapaz and Jonathan Caicedo, the 23-year-old Jhonatan Narvaez became the third Ecuadorian to win a stage of La Corsa Rosa after an epic ride over the undulating training roads of the late Marco Pantani around Cesenatico.
Jhonatan Narvaez’s win was helped by an untimely mechanical problem sustained by his fellow escapee Mark Padun of Bahrain-McLaren. The Ukrainian requiring a bike change with 25km remaining of the 204km stage following a broken front wheel on the descent of the fifth and final categorised climb.
The determined Padun time-trialled himself to within nine seconds of the lone leader on the flat run back towards the Adriatic coast but once the elastic snapped, Jhonatan Narvaez was able to ride clear to win by a yawning gap of just over a minute.
Padun cut a lonely figure as he waved to the crowd to secure a second place, while third went to Australia’s Simon Clarke. He was almost seven minutes behind on a day his EF Pro Cycling team called for the Giro to be stopped early after 11 positive Covid-19 tests across five teams on the first rest day.
Victory for Jhonatan Narvaez was a third for Ineos Grenadiers following a brace by the Italian Filippo Ganna as the British team continued their positive response to the disappointment of losing team leader Geraint Thomas to injury in the opening week.
“I’m really happy. In the last days, I tried to get into the breakaway but it was too difficult and the peloton was too strong. Today it was again the same but I was able to get up the road and I’m so happy to win from the break,” said the Ecuadorian.
Thursday’s classic-style slugfest took place over a succession of spiky climbs in Emilia-Romagna with horrendous weather conditions putting a dampener on the battle for pink despite a promising showing from the NTT Pro Cycling team of Domenico Pozzovivo.
As the GC fight fizzled out in the rain, Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quick-Step) was able to keep out of trouble and finish safely in a small group of around 20 race favourites to retain his maglia rosa for a ninth day of a race that could be called off at any given moment.
Almeida and his rivals crossed the line almost eight and a half minutes down on the stage winner Jhonatan Narvaez, having swept up all but five of the escapees from an initial 14-man break which animated the stage.
The only change in the top 10 saw Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) return to tenth place at the expense of the Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-McLaren), who conceded three minutes after losing touch on the final climb.
However, it was a bad day for Russia’s IlnurZakarin of CCC, who finished 13 minutes behind the favourites to sink from 12th to 17th in the general classification.