Giro d’Italia 2019: Stage 15 – Cataldo takes an emotional victory while the Shark attacks

Stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia – the day after a heavy duty stage and the day before a rest day. What would it bring? Well, it brought mixed emotions in the peloton, who let the break duo of Dario Cataldo (Astana) and Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli) have over 16min before they went for a hard chase over the climbs in the last third of the race. In the end, it was Cataldo who won the two-up sprint, with a Shark-fuelled maglia rosa quartet bearing down on him and Cattaneo. It was the first solo stage win for the Astana rider at the Giro – a fine reward for all his domestique duties through the years. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) extended his lead over Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and stays pretty in pink.

Rider(s) of the race

So I have three riders of the race and a few honourable mentions. First up;

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After 200km out on their own, the breakaway duo of Dario Cataldo and Mattia Cattaneo were almost caught by a rampaging foursome of Simon Yates, Hugh Carthy, Richard Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali. A lot of us thought it was in the bag when the duo got to 16min ahead of the peloton earlier in the race, but it came down to 11sec. But while Cataldo said that he knew they were behind him, he didn’t look back, rode by instinct and put in a big dig to take his first individual Giro stage (he won the TTT with Team Sky in the 2013 Giro). There were tears at the finish line and as he said in the interview below, it was a dream he’d had all his life.

Next up:

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Regardless of the wisdom (or not) of letting a break get 16min ahead (!) and then deciding that they wanted to bring it back in hopes of a stage win, Mitchelton-Scott certainly made it possible for Simon. Philip. Yates to animate the race, after what looked like some lacklustre intent on the part of the other teams. The team were on the front, gobbling up the seconds as the race was headed for the Madonna del Ghisallo. While Yates gave us all a bit of excitement by trying to get out in front, his attacks didn’t really stick – but what they did do was whittle down the maglia rosa group, got everyone nervous and frisky and set up the charge of the day.

Yates then put in an attack on the whittled group on the final climb, got about 10sec or so, which set up the killer blow from …

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Vincenzo Nibali – what a race he had today. Whereas yesterday, he wasn’t putting in the attacks, he made up for it today, on the final climb after putting the Pain Train™ on the front of the maglia rosa group to make sure that an isolated Roglic would have to work extra hard to stay in the group. Yates went out first with no one following. Then, the Shark attack. Carapaz, who surely had His Nibs in his sights all day, followed him. Quickly getting a gap, the others behind never got near them again. The two bridged to Yates and then to Hugh Carthy and the four rode hard to get some real time in their rivals – most notably, Roglic. On the descent, Nibali was fluid and fast, holding back nothing. By the time they were under the flamme rouge, they had put a good 30sec into Roglic, ending the stage 40sec to the good.

Tomorrow, Nibblets has a rest day on a confidence-fuelled high; Roglic on the other hand … well, we’ll get to him …

How was your day?

It was a mare of a day for Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team. Once again, he was isolated in the climbs. In the past few days, the isolation didn’t bite him in the ass but today, it was a recipe for draining day for the Slovenian rider. Bewilderingly, when he did have Jumbo Bees around him, often they were quite far down in the group – not the place one of the main GC contenders should be or can afford to be.

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A crazy crash in the back on an innocuous part of the stage and next thing we know, Roglic has had to wait for a teammate to give him his bike. Not sure what happened there – there wasn’t any footage of how he came to need a new bike – but he then had to ride the rest of the stage, including a big climb and a tricky descent, on an unfamiliar bike. Where the team car was is still a bit of conjecture (see below) – but it seemed that Roglic had picked up some bottles and gels for himself not long before the crash.

All of this while the race was on meant no one waited – and no one waited on the descent when Roglic overcooked the corner right into the barrier. It is so lucky he didn’t go over and he was able to get back up on his bike. In the end, he lost 40sec to Carapaz and the Shark is now just one minute behind him and breathing heavily.

What’s next?

Rest day tomorrow, where riders can either bask in glory or put in some healing time, before they tackle Stage 16, which had to drop the Gavia due to avalanche risks, but the Mortirolo is still there.

The following two stages are not nearly as gruelling. Stage 17 is a three-star stage with only Cat 3 climbs, while Stage 18 is a downhill sprint (one-star). Stage 19 is another three-star stage with an uphill finish, but it’s not a stage that looks particularly gruelling, especially after a quiet day before. Stage 20 will then be their last chance. A five-star stage with some mighty ups and downs.

Whatever might have happened today to Roglic, he still has the comfort of knowing that the final stage is a time trial (although at 17km, it might not be enough to buy him back loads of time). However, it does mean that if Carapaz wants to be on that top podium on Sunday evening, he will have to put more time into Roglic before Sunday and Nibali has to jump over Roglic this week and then take more time as well. So it’s still all to play for!

Stage Results – Top 5

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1 Dario Cataldo (Astana) 5:48:15

2 Mattia Cattaneo (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) same time

3 Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott) +0.11

4 Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) same time

5 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) s/t

General Classification – Top 10

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1 Richard Carapaz (Movistar) 64:24:00

2 Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:47

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:47

4 Rafal Majka (BORA-hansgrohe)  +2:35

5 Mikel Landa (Movistar) +3:15

6 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 3:38

7 Jan Polanc (UAE) +4:12

8 Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 5:24

9 Pavel Sivakov (Team Ineos) +5:48

10 Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +5:55

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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