The classification men had a short day today, in an already rained-out stage. Only 21 minutes after winner Nico Denz they crossed the finish line in Cassano Magnago at a leisurely pace. Geraint Thomas has therefore lost his pink jersey and hands it over to early breakaway Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ). He now has a lead of 1’41” on Geraint Thomas.
For the 29-year-old Frenchman, who finished 15th, it comes as a total surprise. He is also the first Frenchman since Laurent Jalabert in 1999 to win the Maglia Rosa.
“This was not the plan at all,” he reflected in the flash interview. “The aim was to be part of the breakaway and have a shot at the stage victory. I can’t believe I’m taking over the leader’s jersey now. I wasn’t really thinking about it during the stage. Only in the last five kilometers. Before that, the focus was on victory. It’s a dream come true!”
Armirail is anything but a winner. In his professional career, he has only recorded one victory so far, winning the French national time trial title last year. He then defeated time trial specialist Rémi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step).
He also appears to be the best in that discipline. After all, in the second Giro time trial he shot to a handsome fifth place. He was only eight seconds slower than Remco Evenepoel and even finished ahead of Primoz Roglic!