Britain’s Geraint Thomas extended his overall race lead as Italy’s Filippo Zana won stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia.
Team Jayco AIula rider Zana edged Frenchman Thibaut Pinot in a sprint finish, with his compatriot Warren Barguil crossing the line in third.
Ineos Grenadiers’ Thomas held off attacks from Primoz Roglic to defend the pink jersey and extend his race lead to 29 seconds.
Slovenian Roglic moved ahead of Joao Almeida into second place.
Portugal’s Almedia, of UAE Team Emirates, began the day 18 seconds behind Welshman Thomas, but is now 39 seconds back.
Thomas spent his 37th birthday riding from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo in the first of two challenging days in the mountains preceding Saturday’s individual time trial.
“To gain time on Almeida and not get dropped by Primoz means it was a good day, a solid day for sure. I felt pretty good, pretty in control,” he said.
“Primoz likes to go hard, then take it easy, then go hard. I gave him a few turns, then I wasn’t sure how he was feeling. In the last two kilometres he really squeezed on it again, he was super strong, but I was pretty happy with how it was.
“Obviously it’s nice [to gain time] but Primoz had a bad day the other day and Almeida did today. I’ve just got to keep being consistent day by day, climb by climb.”
Zana claimed his first Giro stage victory and denied Pinot the chance to regain the blue jersey for best climber in a dramatic sprint in the home straight.
Stage 19 on Friday is a gruelling 183km climb from Longarone to Tre Cime Di Lavaredo and includes 5,500m of elevation.
Stage 18 results
- Filippo Zana (Ita/Team Jayco AIula) 4hrs 25mins 12 secs
- Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) same time
- Warren Barguil (Fra/Arkéa-Samsic) +50secs
- Derek Gee (Can/Israel Premier Tech) +1min 03secs
- Aurelien Paret-Peintre (Fra/AG2R Citroen Team) +1min 24secs
- Marco Frigo (Ita/Israel Premier Tech) same time
- Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +1min 56secs
- Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) same time
- Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +2min 17secs
- Eddie Dunbar (Ire/Team Jayco AIula) +2mins 32secs
- Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) 76hrs 25mins 51sec
- Primoz Roglic (Slo/Jumbo-Visma) +29secs
- Joao Almeida (Por/UAE Team Emirates) +39secs
- Eddie Dunbar (Ire/Team Jayco AIula) +3mins 39secs
- Damiano Caruso (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +3mins 51secs
- Lennard Kamna (Ger/Bora-Hansgrohe) +4mins 27secs
- Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +4mins 43secs
- Andreas Leknessund (Nor/Team DSM) +4mins 47secs
- Thymen Arensman (Ned/Ineos Grenadiers) +4mins 53secs
- Laurens De Plus (Bel/Ineos Grenadiers) +5mins 52secs