Stage 15 of the Giro was a summit finish – but it was slightly overshadowed by a riveting Ronde van Vlaanderen. That said, the stage had its own thrills and spills, and it had a nail-biting finish to see whose shoulders the maglia rosa would rest on during the peloton’s day off. The GC had its timbers shivered …
Ineos on the rise
Maybe the key for Ineos is to not have three leaders, not two leaders, not even one, and they will find success in the Giro! Today, it was the turn of first Rohan Dennis who was in the original 12-man break of the day, which was gradually whittled down until it was just Dennis on his own half way up the penultimate climb. He put his time trialling talent to work, until a Sunweb-led peloton caught him halfway up the final climb.
Sunweb throws down the gauntlet
Sunweb were playing a blinder today. During the past two weeks, it often seemed as if the GC riders were … just riding … but today Sunweb had a plan and it was a plan to win the maglia rosa and putting distance between Wilco Kelderman and the rest of the serious GC contenders. As they went through the 10km banner, they ratcheted up the pace and the pressure and riders were shelled out. Pello Bilbao, Jakob Fuglsang, Domenico Pozzovivo and Vincenzo Nibali cracked – as did the race leader Joao Almeida.
A trio to the line
Finally, it was Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman with Tao Geoghegan Hart in between – TGH racing for the stage win, the Sunwebbers looking to put as much time into Almeida as possible. The Portuguese rider held 56sec on Kelderman at the start of the race and with him cracking on the climb, it looked like the maglia rosa was on offer. It was TGH who had the kick to race to his first grand tour stage win and Ineos’s fifth stage in this Giro.
Almeida doesn’t lose heart
Joao Almeida might have been dropped, but he did not give up. His grit and tenacity of riding with everything he had – by himself – up the final climb, knowing that every second counted as Kelderman was up ahead, has brought the Portuguese rider many new fans today. This is what we want to see! It was drama at its best!
Those who rose …
Wilco Kelderman with bonuses took 41sec of the 56sec lead from Almeida. He sits in second with just 15sec to the top step. Sunweb teammate Jai Hindley leapt from 10th to 3rd. One second behind him, at 2:57, is TGH, who moved from 11th. Earlier in the stage, Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu) took the mountains jersey from Ruben Guerreiro (EF Ducks).
…those who tumbled
Pello Bilbao fell from 3rd to 5th. Vincenzo Nibali dropped from 5th to 7th, Rafa Majka rose from 7th to 6th and Domenico Pozzovivo stayed at 8th, but they all lost – 45sec, 59sec and 1.17 respectively.
The mountains will be telling in the final week.
The final word
Stage 15 results
1 Tao Geoghegegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) 4:58:52
2 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:02
3 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +0:04
4 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) +0:37
5 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) +1:22
GC Top 10
1 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 59:27:38
2 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:15
3 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +2:56
4 Tao Geoghegan hart (Ineos Grenadiers) +2:57
5 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +3:10
6 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +3:18
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +3:29
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) +3:50
9 Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +4:09
10 Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +4:12
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Points jersey Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
King of the Mountains Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu)
Best Young Rider Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
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Official race website: Giro d’Italia
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