I was screaming ‘swap bikes’ - Thymen Arensman survives late Giro d’Italia scare

Perfect teamwork from Connor Swift and Jhonatan Narváez save Dutch rider on stage 18

Clock16:21, Thursday 23rd May 2024
Thymen Arensman had a frantic chase back to the peloton after a late mechanical

© Getty Images

Thymen Arensman had a frantic chase back to the peloton after a late mechanical

Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) had a lucky escape on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia after he was forced to swap bikes with a teammate and endure a frantic chase back to the peloton due to a late mechanical inside the final 10km.

To make matters worse the Dutch rider, who is currently sitting sixth overall in the general classification at the Giro d’Italia, was almost taken out by a support vehicle during the chase. The Ineos Grenadiers rider eventually made it back to the peloton and finished safely in the pack with Tim Merlier (Soudal Quick-Step) taking the win.

Read more: Giro d'Italia stage 18 results: Tim Merlier wins sprint finish ahead of Jonathan Milan

“I think that I hit a glass or a stone or something. I had a puncture and at one point I was just riding on the rim but the team did a really good job,” a relieved Arensman told GCN at the finish.

Arensman’s chase became slightly easier after he was given a bike by Connor Swift almost immediately after the incident. As he rolled towards the Ineos Grenadiers team bus he shed light on what happened after he stopped by the side of the road.

“I’m riding on Connor’s bike right now because we almost have the same bike size, so we just swapped. Then Jonny Narváez did a super good job bringing me back. I was only a bit scared because I know that Connor is using different brakes, and they’re flipped, so I was a bit scared in the final but in the end, I managed to stay in the bunch so it was all good. I was screaming to him, ‘swap bikes’ because it was the fastest thing to do.”

During his chase, Arensman came within a whisker of almost coming down after a support vehicle came too close to the rider.

“I have no idea what the guy was doing, and he had no idea that I was there. If it was once centimetre and I was done,” he said.

Swift, meanwhile, had a less stressful afternoon. He was in the right place at the right time to help Arensman when the Dutch rider had his mechanical and quickly did the dutiful thing and gave up his bike.

“Thymen had a puncture with about 9km to go and he took my bike because it was the closest in size, compared to waiting for the car to come,” Swift told GCN as he came to the Ineos team bus a few minutes later.

“It was a bit of a stressful situation but it was okay in the end. Then I just waited for my bike from the second car and just dawdled in. That made my job a little bit easier. Today was just a case of bringing Geraint [Thomas] and Thymen into the final but if something happens you just have to adapt,” he added.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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