After yesterday’s bonkers day, the GC contenders took it easy on Stage 15 of the 2022 Giro d’Italia and let a big break go. In that break was Trek-Segafredo’s Giulio Ciccone, who had diamonds in his legs. Racing with head and heart, he attacked on the steepest part of the final climb to take an emotional solo victory. Second on the stage was Bahrain’s Santiago Buitrago and third was Antonio Pedrero (Movistar). Only the KOM jersey changes shoulders tonight, back to Jumbo’s Koen Bouwman and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) hustles his way back into the top ten.
All hail Ciccone
It took over 70km for the break to finally go, but once it did, with no one in to worry the GC contenders, the gap went out quite quickly. The break of 22, however, often felt as lethargic as the peloton itself, and it all felt meandering until Mathieu van der Poel put in an attack on the first climb that brought Koen Bouwman with him. Bouwman then struck out on his own to sweep up KOM points that would give him back the jersey and broke the breakaway up, with pockets of two and three riders taking off on their own.
Giulio Ciccone then started to put the fizz and fire into the stage, riding aggressively and getting away with Santiago Buitrago of Bahrain Victorious and Movistar’s Antonio Pedrero – only to be chased by EF’s Hugh Carthy, Martijn Tusveld (DSM) and Rui Costa (UAE). Much toing and froing, bridging and dropping occurred, with Ciccone continually driving the group on – regardless of how many people were actually in that group from one minute to the next. The Italian was looking strong but kept his cool until he got the right opportunity to put in the killer attack.
A scorching turn of speed at the base of the final climb shed all but Buitrago and Carthy. Buitrago couldn’t keep the Ciccone pace for long so it was only Carthy between Ciccone and glory. Hitting the afterburners, Ciccone took off alone with 18km to go (a loooong way on that climb) and quickly racked up the time gap until it was clear that, with 1.30 and the hardest part of the climb over, no one was going to bridge back to the Trek-Segafredo rider.
Ciccone had plenty of time to fire the crowd up as he rode down the finishing strait, even flinging his welding goggles into the crowd, before going over the line and letting all the pent-up emotion from a rough few years come out.
A class above the rest ⭐
— Eurosport (@eurosport) May 22, 2022
— Giro di Anna Mac (@AnnamacB) May 22, 2022
HE HAS THROWN HIS GLASSES! 🔥🔥🔥
HA LANCIATO GLI OCCHIALI! 🔥🔥🔥#Giro
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 22, 2022
And Cicco is overwhelmed, crying tears of joy while the crowd chants "Giulio, Giulio". Love to see it. #Giro
— Lukas Knöfler 💙💛 (@lukascph) May 22, 2022
Here are your highlights
'I think this is my most beautiful victory. It's been a really difficult period. When you try and try and nothing happens, it's so difficult. It tries your mental strength. I didn't feel like myself for awhile. But now I've found it." Ciccone post-stage interview #Giro2022 pic.twitter.com/otLmj99OyA
— VeloVoices (@VeloVoices) May 22, 2022
2016, 2019, 2022! Giulio Ciccone took his 3rd stage victory at the @giroditalia with a 19 km solo attack from the breakaway to Cogne! 👏 After Simon Yates yesterday, another rider who lost all GC hopes had his redemption day today. Giulio was on fire, flying uphill. #Giro pic.twitter.com/uCdfrjkx4t
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 22, 2022
Nasal Strips of POWER™
Tadej Pogacar might have his Tufts of Power™ but the Italians – at least Giulio Ciccone and Davide Formolo – have their Nasal Strips of Power™. And boy, did Formolo need them! Looking after his UAE teammate and second placed Joao Almeida, in the GC bunch, he was up against a team that really didn’t want any bother from anyone. The screenshots below say it all. He’s got the pain, he’s got the heart, and the relentless
Skybots Ineos riders go past him – looking like secret service agents with those emotionless faces and eyes hidden behind sunglasses. (Maybe the key is that Castroveijo’s nasal strip is bigger than Formolo’s) It’s like a flipbook of agony!
Nonchalant riding by Ineos
They weren’t looking for any trouble, they just wanted to make sure they stayed with their pink-and-gold leader Richard Carapaz (unlike yesterday when he was on his own) and keep the pace to enough of a roar that no one tried anything. No one did, really, but then, no one was dropped from the group either.
The only change in the top ten was Guillaume Martin of the Mighty ‘Dis made it back up to the 10th spot, after he went off by himself on the last climb and took 2 minutes on the maglia rosa. He was 11 minutes down so I don’t think their eyes even flickered behind those sunglasses.
Rest day tomorrow, then the second of the three five-star stages in this Giro on Tuesday, with the Mortirolo on the menu. With the GC sooooo close in the top five positions, they surely need some audacious attacks. Right?
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 22, 2022
All smiles from @jcastroviejo 😃
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) May 22, 2022
All the results
1 Guilio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 4:37:41
2 Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) +1:31
3 Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) +2:19
4 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) +3:09
5 Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM) +4:36
GC Top 10
1 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) 63:06:57
2 Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) +0.07
3 Joao Almeida (UEA Team Emirates) +0.30
4 Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) +0.59
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) +1:01
6 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +1:52
7 Emanual Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +1:58
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) +2:58
9 Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) +4:04
10 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +8:02
All the jerseys
💗🏆 Richard Carapaz 🇪🇨
💜💨 Arnaud Démare 🇫🇷
💙⛰️ Koen Bouwman 🇳🇱
🤍👶 João Almeida 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/Ia79j0zYTq
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) May 22, 2022
Leader’s jersey : Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers)
Points jersey : Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
King of the Mountains: Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma)
Best young rider: Joao Almeida (UAE)
Team : Bora-hansgrohe
For full race results, go to CyclingNews
Official Giro d’Italia website is here