Bettiol was part of the decisive breakaway of the day, joined previous striker Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quickstep), then took the solo victory 17 seconds ahead of the following chase group. He also finished 23 minutes ahead of the main peloton which included the leader of General Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers). Bernal leads the general classification by 2:21 ahead of Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and 3:23 ahead of Simon Yates (BikeExchange).
Stage 18 was the longest stage of the Giro d’Italia – a 231 km race from Rovereto to Stradella. Bettiol was part of a 23-rider breakaway and with no pursuit from the main peloton behind, the large group gained more than 20 minutes in what was considered a transition stage. No one in the break seemed to admire the vineyards of Lombardy as they sped, with all efforts focused on the fast corners on four climbs in the final 40 kilometers.
It was during the first of these climbs that Bettiol and five others moved away from their breakaway companions to create a gap. When they were brought down to 26km from the finish, Cavagna launched an attack that seemed like a winning shot as he quickly took a 30-second advantage.
Bettiol and Roche pursued Cavagna in earnest with 14.8km to go on the penultimate climb, and with 7.8km to go for the last climb, Bettiol let down struggling Roche and locked Cavagna’s hold. The EF Education-Nippo rider then took the lead he held at the line.
Watch how step 18 went in the highlights video above.