Michele Scarponi wins the Giro’s stage 18; Garmin’s Pate is third.

Michele Scarponi wins the Giro’s stage 18; Garmin’s Pate is third.

Danny Pate (Garmin-Slipstream) and Jason McCartney (Saxo Bank) went on the hunt for stage victory in Thursday’s 182km hilly 18th stage from Sulmona to Benevento, in what turned out to be a breather for the GC favorites ahead of Friday’s showdown on Mont Vesuvius.

The U.S. pair worked into a huge, 24-rider breakaway across the hilly Campagna region that atrophied to a seven-man winning effort.

McCartney helped forge the decisive gaps late in the stage and settled for seventh, but Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni) ruined a possible victory by Pate to snatch his second victory of this Giro d’Italia.

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) finished safely in the pack to retain his 26-second lead to Danilo Di Luca (LPR) while Pate came close to another grand tour stage victory by crossing the line third
Up next:
Stage 19, from Avellino to Vesuvius, is another tough one. The 164km (101.9 mile) stage includes several significant ascents and finishes with a climb up Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that buried Pompeii under a river of lava in 79 A.D.
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