Giro stage 14: Santambrogio wins as Nibali tightens grip on Giro

Stage 14: Cervere to Bardonecchia, 180km

With TV images restricted to the final 400 metres of the concluding Jafferau climb, it was perhaps appropriate that the first figure to emerge from the mist was the flourescent hi-vis glow of the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia strip of Mauro Santambrogio, who led the equally bright maglia rosa of Vincenzo Nibali to the finish. Nibali did not challenge for the stage victory, settling instead for second place, but he was the day’s big winner as he put time into all his key rivals. Ag2r La Mondiale’s Carlos Betancur was nine seconds behind in third, his third top-three finish in the last six stages.

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The Musette: Hazelnut torte

It’s the end of week two and the Giro’s in Piedmont. This is a wonderfully easy cake to make, redolent with the flavours and scents for which Piedmont is famous – think Nutella! Hazelnuts are called tonda gentile delle Langhe – the ‘sweet round nut of the Langhe’ – and with a bit of chocolate, you have the match made famous in Turin – gianduja. This torte is a classically moist, rich dessert. The darker the chocolate you use, the more intense the flavour. I prefer snappy dark 70% chocolate, though you could use less or even more. The hazelnuts give the cake a wonderfully toasty flavour, while the vanilla and hint of coffee balances all those dark chocolate chunks. Continue reading

Giro stage 14 preview

Stage 14: Cervere to Bardonecchia, 168km, high mountains

It’s the first of the Giro’s Alpine stages. We have the cat 2 Sestriere about 125km into the stage before a descent and summit finish on cat 1 Jafferau. Sestriere is quite a long climb – ‘pedalable’ as the road book says – so we probably won’t see any spectacular fails from the GC contenders at this stage. After a fast descent, the final climb to the finish at Jafferau is a stinger. The final 7km has gradients of 10% with a maximum of 14%, but the narrow road at Maillaures is gravel so that might just throw a spanner into someone’s works. If any of the GC boys looks less than focused and feisty, the others might sense a chance to break him. Continue reading