Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia. No Passo Gavia because of the threat of an avalanche, but there was an uphill start, the Mortirolo (dedicated to Marco Pantani), and over 5,000m of climbing. This should have all the elements for a lively queen stage, particularly right after the rest day. Shouldn’t it? It should and it did! A very cold and wet KOM Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) was one of two men left from an early 21-strong break, and through chattering teeth and possible hypothermia, he gathered everything left to outsprint Astana’s Jan Hirt for an emotional stage win. We expected Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) to attack and we weren’t disappointed as his offensive shook up the GC and allowed him to leap over Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) but the Shark of Messina couldn’t dent his 1:47 deficit to maglia rosa wearer Richard Carapaz (Movistar).
It’s the Tour de Suisse and, as usual, we’ve enjoyed beautiful scenery, a variety of stage winners and leader’s jersey wearers, riders scrapping to secure their Tour de France slots, yet more Peter Sagan stage wins and, more importantly, a hard-fought nip-and-tuck battle for the overall win (for the second time) by Simon Spilak. After steadily gaining ground in the days leading up to Friday’s queen stage, he struck out solo with 8km remaining to take both stage victory and the leader’s jersey with nearly a minute’s advantage, which he held over the next two stages. Damiano Caruso, who wore the leader’s jersey for two days, and Steven Kruijswijk rounded out the final podium.
The World Champion gets his annual Tour de Suisse victory and celebrates in style.