Giro d’Italia 2019: Stage 14 – Carapaz takes the stage and the pink jersey too

Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia simmered for a while but came to a spectacular crescendo. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) rode a spectacular solo attack all the way to victory in Courmayeur and surprised many (including possibly Primoz Roglic) by bagging himself the race leader’s pink jersey. It’s a tight GC battle now, folks!

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The shortest stage of the Giro (131km) looked like a roller coaster with its five categorised climbs, but with the  GC favourites all closely marking each other, it only took one small, unanswered move from Movistar’s Richard Carapaz to turn the Giro on its head.

The Ecuadorian jumped off the leader’s group ahead of the summit of the day’s category 1 penultimate climb, the Colle San Carlo,  and no one followed. By the time, Carapaz hit the top he had 35 seconds on the rest. On the final climb, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) were so busy watching each other, they seemed not to notice nor care that the Movistar man was ahead of them! Carapaz pretty much ignored them as well as he powered on to the finish line, winning the stage by 1min32. The Movistar rider takes his second stage at this Giro and is now leading the race by a slim 7sec.

Rider of the race

So many contenders for today’s accolade but Richard Carapaz has to get it. Astute observers (ie not me) noticed he was the fastest climber yesterday and he kept that form going today. His race craft was exemplary, his power phenomenal and the pure desire he showed to earn that maglia rosa was a joy to see.

The contenders

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Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Merida): He attacked on the first climb of the day then provided support to Vincenzo Nibali, driving the pace for uphill kilometre after kilometre, trying to force a crack in Nibali’s rivals. Such a strong performance only slightly marred by the fact that, in the end, it changed nothing whatsoever.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): When Yates started going backwards on today’s fourth climb, it looked like we were seeing another stage where Simon started hemorrhaging time. He had other ideas, however, and caught back on after a ferocious descent of the Colle San Carlo. Yates was another beneficiary of the cagey leaders and broke free to bag himself second place on the stage.

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Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo): Yet another stage where watching the blue-jerseyed Italian was sheer joy. Ciccone nailed the KOM points on the first three climbs and is truly one of the stars of this Giro.

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Joe Dombrowski (EF-all the words): Or as they’re now calling him Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski … Either way, where did he come from? After getting dropped, he made his way back up to the GC group with Yates and kept pace in some rarified company on this stage. He couldn’t follow Yates’s attack but eventually finished as part of the Roglic/Nibali group, where he looked very much like he belonged.

Not a great day for:

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Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma): It looked like it was going so well for him. Nothing Nibali did could shake him. However, he’ll go to bed tonight knowing if he’d done a little more he could have been looking out the pink handlebar tape tomorrow.

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida): It’s too early to write Nibali off but he didn’t look better than any other rider today. In fact, he couldn’t even gain any time on the last descent of the day. One suspects that he would have preferred Roglic in pink tonight so that Jumbo would have to defend all the attacks tomorrow and Tuesday. Instead he gets the much stronger Movistar team, who have a lot more cards to play than Jumbo when it comes to keeping that maglia rosa safe from shark attacks. 

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Mikel Landa (Movistar): His team have played a tactical blinder so far but, with his teammate now leading the race, Landa might find his wings clipped.

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Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) : Third on GC this morning, 11th tonight after losing over seven minutes. The effort that he made yesterday was monumental so it’s not surprising his legs weren’t the freshest today.

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UAE Emirates: After a week holding the pink jersey, first with Valerio Conti and then with Jan Polanc, they’ve had to hand it over. It was good while it lasted though and helped make it a great Giro for the team, especially considering Fernando Gaviria had to abandon in the first week.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): He might not be riding the Giro, but I bet he’s paying attention to what’s happening, as today’s stage has made his contract negotiations a whole lot trickier. News/rumours today said that he is in negotiations with Arkea-Samsic, the pro-conti team that welcomed Andre Greipel this season, which means he’d be top dog for GC (and the team would get all the GT wild cards).

The secret to his success?

Atop the Colle San Carlo, Richard Carapaz grabbed a newspaper from a helper at the side of the road and stuffed it down his jersey. Something that brought much joy to fans of a certain vintage…

Maybe tomorrow?

Tomorrow the race closely follows the route of Il Lombardia. Now, if only there was a GC contender who has won two of the last four editions of that race….

Stage Results – Top 5

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1 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) 4:02:23

2 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:32

3 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +1:54

4 Rafal Majka (Bora) same time

5 Mikel Landa (Movistar) s/t

General Classification – Top 10

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1 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) 58:35:34

2 Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:07

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:47

4 Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe)  +2:10

5 Mikel Landa (Movistar) +2:50

6 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 2:58

7 Jan Polanc (UAE) +3:29

8 Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) +4:55

9 Simon Philip Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +5:28

10 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +5:30

All the jerseys

Maglia rosa – Richard Carapaz (Movistar)

Maglia blanca – Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos)

Maglia azzurra – Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo)

Maglia ciclamino – Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)

For full stage review and race results, go to cyclingnews

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