"I was screaming to him, ‘swap bikes’" - Thymen Arensman retains 6th on GC despite late mechanical on stage 18 at Giro d'Italia

Heading into the final weekend of the 2024 Giro d'Italia, Thymen Arensman remains 6th in the general classification despite a late scare as he suffered an ill-timed mechanical with just 8km to go on stage 18, with a frantic chase back on then ensuing.

“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,” the 24-year-old Dutchman reflected with relief in conversation with GCN at the finish line, in his post-stage interview.

Thankfully, Arensman was able to get back into the peloton safely, thanks in part to the quick help provided to him by INEOS Grenadiers teammate, Connor Swift. “I’m riding on Connor’s bike right now because we almost have the same bike size, so we just swapped. Then Jhonatan Narváez did a super good job bringing me back," Arensman recalls. "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.”

Even having successfully managed the swap and latched onto the back wheel of the Ecuadorian National Champion, Arensman also saw his GC dream come crashing down again as he was forced into evasive action to narrowly avoid being clipped on the back wheel by a neutral service vehicle. “I have no idea what the guy was doing, and he had no idea that I was there," Arensman says of the scare. "If it was once centimetre and I was done."

Going into the final three stages, Arensman's main target, aside from helping Geraint Thomas secure a podium, will be to overcome Antonio Tiberi in the race for the Best Young Riders jersey. The Dutchman currently trials the Italian by 41 seconds.

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