The only individual time trial of this year’s Giro d’Italia may have been in Prosecco country, but it was unfortunately more of a Grappa kind of day. The home of the famous dry wine was misleadingly wet, and pretty much the only sparkle in sight came courtesy of Tinkoff-Saxo’s resident twinkletoes Alberto Contador, who delivered a brilliant performance to take third on the day and reclaim the pink jersey. Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka picked up the stage win with an impressive early showing.
Rider of the day
That Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) hit the final straight with the stage win in sight was itself indicative of a mammoth performance. The conditions progressively worsened as the day went on, with Kiryienka’s stage-winning time set before the rain cascaded and wind howled as it did late on. Nevertheless, Contador was as slick on the bike as the road surface was against his rubber, and he completely crushed the rest of his rivals for the maglia rosa. It’s premature to suggest that the Giro d’Italia was decided today, but it’d take a pretty big catastrophe for El Pistolero to let this lead slip. Injury? What injury?
Three things we noticed
1. The GC has suddenly been blown apart. Today was a very bad day to be a general classification rider not called Alberto Contador. There were, however, varying shades of bad, ranging from Richie Porte‘s (Sky) it’s-just-as-well-you’re-sleeping-in-a-motorhome-because-you-daren’t-show-your-face-around-the-team-hotel-tonight shade of unspeakably terrible, to Fabio Aru‘s (Astana) mild misery at falling over two minutes behind Contador overall. There are suddenly big gaps between the top four, and it’s looking like the only GC battle worth watching is now the scrap for the podium.
2. A brilliant moment in Latin American cycling history. Part of the reason the podium fight is still alive is because Andrey Amador (Movistar) is still up in third, and is unlikely to stay there once we hit the big mountains. However, let’s hope he’s patting himself on the back and enjoying the intoxicating vertigo that comes with a grand tour podium place while it lasts, as today he’s made history in becoming the first Costa Rican to achieve such a feat. Latin American cycling has been dominated by Colombians, so it’s brilliant to see Amador offering inspiration for those elsewhere on the continent too.
3. “You think I’m going out in that? …”. Before we hit Milan, there’s pretty much nothing left in this race for the sprinters. That, combined with the prospect of a massively long, mildly hilly time trial in drizzle, meant that we saw plenty of the race’s fast men pack it in this morning. Andre Greipel and his leadout man Greg Henderson (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quick Step) will all play no further part in the race. Tomorrow’s grupetto is starting to sound like it could be a pretty lonely place.
Stage 14 result
1. Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) 1:17:52
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +0:12
3. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) +0:14
4. Patrick Gretsch (Ag2r La Mondale) +0:23
5. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:09
1. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) 55:39:00
2. Fabio Aru (Astana) +2:28
3. Andrey Amador (Movistar) +3:36
4. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) +4:14
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal) +4:17
6. Dario Cataldo (Astana) +4:50
7. Mikel Landa (Astana) +4:55
8. Damiano Caruso (BMC) +4:56
9. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) +4:57
10. Leopold Konig (Sky) +5:35
Points leader: Elia Viviani (Sky).
King of the Mountains leader: Benat Intxausti (Movistar).
Best young rider: Fabio Aru (Astana).
Team classification: Astana.
Link: Official race website