Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia saw action all over the place. Once again, the winner came from the breakaway, with Jan Tratnik of Bahrain-McLaren taking the win by blasting away from Ben O’Connor (NTT) in the final kilometre. The peloton, packed full of the GC riders, took things easy until the final ascent where Joao Almeida of Quickstep took a whole load of psychological advantage and even grabbed some seconds.
How it went down
The break of the day had 12 minutes on the peloton with 37 kms to go when Jan Tratnik went solo. Chased by a select group from the break, including Geoffrey Bouchard, Enrico Battaglin, Alessandro Tonelli, Ben O’Connor and Ben Swift. O’Connor was the only one who could bridge across, and the pair set off towards the finish line, with the chase group always about 50sec behind. Under the flamme rouge, the road ramped up and the Slovenian stepped on the pedals and moved easily clear. Tratnik notched up his first win at this level and another top tier win for his country. O’Connor followed him home for his best grand tour result so far.
Here’s his charming post-win interview. Highlights are him declaring it a home win … and the fact he had no idea it was O’Connor that he was riding with!
Go Go Joao
The peloton looked like they’d decided to have another rest day and save their energies for the bigger climbing tests to come. Joao “never say die” Almeida had other ideas. In the final moments, he sprang clear of his Quickstep minders and pushed on to gain some time on his GC rivals.
It was quite a sight seeming him come down the finish straight, resplendent in his maglia rosa while his rivals all surged in chase towards him. In the end, he gained a measly two seconds but, oh my, it was just another display of Almeida’s grinta. He may not have won a stage (yet!) but he can say he took on his main rivals and won. [It was so thrilling to watch – throwing down the gauntlet! – ed]
Here’s the look that says “mission accomplished”
You can never have too many animal pictures.
At least the dog made it to the finish. Fernando Gaviria of UAE has tested positive for Coronavirus (again!!) and has left the race.
Stage 16 results
1 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren) 6:04:36
2 Ben O’Connor (NTT-GCsOver) +0:07
3 Enrico Battaglin (Bahrain-OverForUsToo) +1:14
4 Kamil Malecki (CCC-WasNeverOnForUs) same time
5 Ben Swift (Ineos GrandOldDays) s/t
GC Top 10
1 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 65:45:08
2 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:17
3 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +2:58
4 Tao Geoghegan hart (Ineos Grenadiers) +2:59
5 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +3:12
6 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +3:20
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +3:31
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) +3:52
9 Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +4:11
10 Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +4:24
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
Header image: ©GETTY/Velo/ Stuart Franklin