20/05/18 - 11:20
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Tolmezzo - Sappada
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Tolmezzo - Sappada
Giro d'Italia - 20 May 2018

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:20 on 20 May 2018. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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Simon Yates has 2'11" on Tom Dumoulin on GC. That's a massive cushion, even accounting for the Dutchman's TT skills.

 

It was Yates, Lopez, Dumoulin, Pozzovivo and Carapaz across the line in that order.

 

Chris Froome crosses the line alongside Wout Poels - they were 1'28" down

 

Lopez gets second place, with either Pozzovivo or Dumoulin taking third. They crossed about 45 seconds after Yates

 

Somehow, inexplicably, Tom Dumoulin has regained contact with the chasers!

 

A glorious solo win for Simon Yates, he's stormed this today and proven again that he is the strongest rider in the race.

1km

Yates hits the flamme rouge

 

Some cat and mouse between the chasing four now.. they must really want those six bonus seconds..

 

But they didn't work together, dear reader...

3km 

Yates lost 12 seconds of his lead to that Carapaz attack. He's 40 seconds clear still. No time check on Dumoulin yet.

 

Dumoulin was doing all the work there and as soon as he pulled over, Carapaz, Pinot, Pozzovivo and Lopez left him for dead.

 

And Dumoulin has cracked after that huge attack from Carapaz.

 

And amid all the squabbling and arm-flickery, Carapaz launches an attack!

 

Yates is 50" ahead, and the group of five behind are not really working. Pinot and Dumoulin are working a bit, but Pozzovivo, Lopez and Carapaz are doing diddly squat...

4km 

Unsurprisingly, with an ITT ahead, nobody wants to help World Time Trial Champion Tom Dumoulin, chase Simon Yates...

5km 

Very little cohesion among the chasers.

 

If it finishes like this Yates will have a time cushion that's actually bigger than the amount of time he's expected to lose in the TT on Tuesday.

 

Yates is absolutely flying here. 41" the gap.

7km 

Dumoulin's turn to demand that everyone else works now. This is the sort of climb on which the big Dutchman really excels. If anyone can slose the gap, he can.

 

Here are the details of this final climb... the gradient really eases off on the final 2.4km.

8.8km 

Yates is climbing again now. It's a tough grind all the way up to Sappada. He has half a minute of advantage, so the gap is actually opening again.

 

Yates is under the 10km to go kite.

 

Chris Froome is in a group behind, and is already 1'21" down on Yates.

12km 

Simon Yates is away solo, neatly navigating these tight corners on the way down the mountain. He has 28 seconds now on the chasing quintet of GC men, which is being led by Thibaut Pinot.

 

Pozzovivio, who hasn't attacked all race, is trying to get others in the this group of chasers to share the work...

15km 

Yates begins the descent to the start of the final climb to the finish. Pick the bones out of that one.

 

So it's Yates, then Pozzovivo, Pinot, Dumoulin, Carapaz and Lopez 17 seconds back.

 

Lopez looks the worst off of these five chasing Yates now. He keeps losing half a bike-length..

 

500m to the top for Yates. He has 13 secs on the Dumoulin group.

 

Here's that first Yates attack...

 

The Froome group is 22 seconds back.

 

The maglia rosa looks cool and calm as he works the gap.

 

Wow. Yates goes again and this time he gives it the full gas... He skips away from his rivals and opens a gap of 10 metres in a few seconds.

 

1.5km to the top of this climb, all the main men are here in this group of six...

 

Froome has lost Henao, meanwhile...

 

Migeul Angel Lopez is reeling in Yates, with Dumoulin, Pozzovivo, Pinot, Carapaz and Bennett a little way behind.

 

And Yates has attacked!

 

Henao is shepherding Froome up this climb for now, but the gap is growing.

 

George Bennett takes a dig out of that favourites group and immediately gets two bike lengths.

 

Yates, Dumoulin and Pinot are in a group about 10 metres ahead of a group with Froome in.

18km 

'Superman' Lopez is really turning the screw here on the other GC men.

20km

The Costalissoio is next. And by next, I mean now. There's no let-up at all in this final 20km..

 

#prayforFabio

 

In the maglia rosa group, Miguel Angel Lopez is putting the pressure on at the front of the bunch.

21km 

Denz the Descender has opened a wee gap on Ciccone as they bomb it down the other side of the Passo di Sant'Antonio

23km 

The peloton is on the descent and it's one of those snakey, swoopy, whooshy ones from the looks of things... All the big names are still there, with the exception of poor old Aru.

 

This would make complete sense, to be fair...

 

Things are getting active in the peloton, with Froome showing himself on the front, alongside Domenico Pozzovivo.

29km 

Ciccone and Denz crest the climb together. The Italian is looking markedly fresher than the German. Ciccone grabs the points and the cash. It seems very unlikley that they'll survive to the end now - their gap is just 32 seconds.

31km 

2.4km to the top of this mountain. Yates has gone from having six lieutenants to just one.

 

Incredible performance from Nico Denz today. He's been in the break since it went away this morning. He has just lost his buddy, Mikael Cherel, though, leaving him alone with Giulio Ciccone at the head of the race.

 

Sunweb have come to the front of the peloton and the increase in pace immediately spells the end for Vasil Kiryenka. Aru, meanwhile, is pedalling like a man one climb away from abandoning...

32km 

Fabio Aru comes almost to a standstill in a hairpin. Remember earlier when he led that breakaway attempt?

33km 

It does feel as though we're in a lull right now. The break are working well together, although Visconti has now gone the way of Dayer Quintana. Not much going on the peloton.

 

Ciccone is looking great, he absolutely loves a climb, does Giulio.

34km 

We're now onto the day's penultimate climb, the Passo di Sant'Antonio. The front group is five-strong, with Ciccone and Visconti joining Denz, Cherel and a rather second hand-looking Dayer Quintana.

35km 

Esteban Chaves has done his work for the day. A brief turn (at least compared to the impressive standards set by Sam Bewley) followed by a rapid sinking back through the peloton.

40km 

We're expecting Visconti and Ciccone to join up with the leading trio soon. Will they have enough manpower? The gap has grown back out to around 2'20"

 

We've just heard that Mauel Senni joins Igor Anton and Loic Vliegen in abandoning today's stage. Riders abandoning before a rest day is always a sign of a testing week.

44km 

It would appear Mike Woods and co. have abandoned their chase.

45km 

We've 45km left of this stage and it's all very finely balanced. The three leaders, two from AG2R plus Dayer Quintana, have got an advantage of about two minutes on the next real 'group' behind. They're so far down on GC as to be totally irrelevant, so should be allowed to go.

Michael Woods is battling behind to catch up with them, assisted, but not very much, by Enrico Barbin and Antonio Nibali. They aren't making much ground.

The peloton is at 2'40", with seven Mitchelton Scott riders on the front of the bunch setting a tempo.

 

Denz and Cherel having some food as they coast casually down this dolomite at upwards of 50kph. Oh to be young and fearless and a professional bike rider.

52km 

Denz and Cherel have clearly been taking descending classes from Romain Bardet. They've eked out a bit of a gap on Quintana and Ciccone now after absolutely belting that descent. Can they outrun the bunch with a 50km two-up TT?

 

The groups are, Cherel, Quintana and Ciccone up front; Masnada, De Marchi and Visconti 24" back; then Woods / Nibali a further 34 seconds down. The peloton are at 1'45".

 

Yates has a lot of deputies to keep him safe on the way down, nobody is taking any risks in the GC group.

61km 

Woods has joined forces with Nibali the Younger as they tackle this sketchy descent..

 

A rainy descent and news from our Eurosport colleague, Rob Hatch, that it is absolutely hooning* it down at the stage finish too. *Rob may not have said 'hooning'

65km 

Ciccone takes the KoM points as the front four riders crest the Tre Croci. They have 2'05" on the peloton, with Michael Woods, Fausto Masnada, Antonio Nibali and Alessandro De Marchi all scattered somewhere in between.

 

Mike Woods is looking solid as he rides up the upper slopes of the Tre Croci. He needs to put as much distance into the peloton as he can here if he's got any hope of a stage win.

 

De Marchi, who has been in all 17 of today's breakaways, is possibly regretting his early endeavours as he slips back from the front group of escapists.

 

The peloton is really thinning out now. Fabio Aru is struggling at the back, but when is he not these days?

 

Woods goes past Bewley, Ulissi and Ladagnous on his way up the climb.

 

Michael Woods has attacked off the front of the peloton. He burned absolutely all of his teammates to keep the tempo high, and now he begins to pick off the riders of the break.

68km 

Couple of kms from the top of the Tre Croci and in the peloton all is calm. Yates has Nieve and Haig with him, while behind him the gangling elbows of a certain Mr Froome can be seen.

 

AG2R are still looking strong with two guys out of the front five in the recently smithereened breakaway.

70km 

Modolo and Sbaragli are going backwards as the break disappears up the road. Modolo will soon be able to join the chase with his team mates in the peloton!

 

The increase in gradient has had an instant impact on the breakaway. Their advantage is down to 1'25" and the riders are spread all over the road. Ciccone is the one putting the hurt on.

 

It's raining heavily as the peloton hits the foot of the Tre Croci. Jackets are going on, for everyone except the EF lads flogging themselves on the front. To be fair, they must feel quite warm with all the work they've been doing...

 

Ballerini grabbed the sprint points at the second intermediate, followed by Modolo in second. They'll begin the climb now.

 

EF are still gunning it on the front, with some of their riders starting to feel the hurt, it's fair to say...

 

Where are we at? The gap is 2'09", we have gone just under 100km so far, and in about 12km we'll summit the Passo Tre Croci. Then there are two more cat 2 climbs before the finish. That, my friends, is where we are at.

81km 

Dayer Quintana is putting on a gilet. But what does it mean? What does the inscrutable Colombian know?

 

News that Nico Roche and Loic Vliegen have abandoned the race. Both ride for BMC.

 

So EF Education First are still on the front of the peloton, trying to bring back a break containing their rider, Sacha Modolo. Meanwhile Ciccone has attacked the break and has been followed by Stybar and Brambilla.

85km 

They will reach the summit of the Passo Tre Croci in 20km time. It's uphill all the way, but only the final 8km are categorised.

 

As ever, Mihai Cazacu sums things up perfectly. EF have not played this brilliantly...

90km 

EF Education First have Modolo in the break, but he's not what you'd call a mountain goat. They'll probably be hoping they can launch one of their punchy climbers when (if) the catch is made by the peloton. Could today be one for MIke 'Rusty' Woods?

 

The break has 3'02" on the peloton, which is a lot, but not enough if you ask me...

 

So, the 20ish-strong break now contains:

Masnada, Mori, Visconti, Denz, Nibali, De Marchi, Stybar, Modolo, Ullisi, Brambilla, Cherel, Jauregui, Ballerini, Lutsenko, Bonifazio, Ciccone, Barbin, Lammertink, Bouwman, Ladagnous, Van der Sande, Sbaragli aaaaaaaand Sam Bewley.

96km 

Sam Bewley is apparently in the break. He's been a strong support rider for Mitchelton Scott so far and they've done well to smuggle him in there as a potential foil later in the day.

 

It took 76km for that break to finally get away.

 

Diego Ulissi and Zdenek Stybar are the two biggest names to join this mega-beak of late. And it's new boy Stybar who takes the points for the first intermediate sprint.

102km 

It's a big, ill-tempered looking break, but the peloton are sitting up and letting it go. Finally!

 

This 'break' is verging on 'alternative peloton' proportions. Lots and lots of teams keen to be represented up there. David de la Cruz of Team Sky having a go at getting across to it now.

 

Here's our man Brian Smith on why it's looking like another humdinger of a stage.

Video - The Coach: Why it's another difficult day on Stage 15

02:02
 

Zdenek Stybar is leading the efforts of another quintet who are trying to bridge to the break.

106km 

The breakaway group has ballooned in size, growing from four to eight to something like 18 riders. It's all very chaotic right now, so we'll have to see how it settles.

 

Davide Ballerini is also there for Androni Sidermec.

 

It's a decent-sized group now, with Alexey Lutsenko, Niccolo Bonifazio, Gianluca Brambilla and Sacha Modolo all joining their labours with those of the original four riders.

112km 

Guess who just bridged over to the breakaway? That's right, De Marchi is there again.

 

Back in the peloton it's all pretty calm among the GC men. Yates and Froome are a few bikes apart, with Mitchelton leading their bossman down the descent. The gap is 22 seconds.

116km 

They're rattling down the other side of the Passo della Mauria, after which they have a few uncategorised bumps to manage before they begin the Passo Tre Croci. It's still Denz, Jauregui, Neilandts and Quintana up front with 30 seconds on the peloton.

 

But will it be a happy birthday for Chris Froome? He looked like being at something like his best yesterday, but is it too little too late? He's 3:10 down on the pink jersey right now.

120km 

We've crested the first categorised climb and the quartet up front have 45 seconds, but now a flurry of riders have launched off the peloton to try and bring them back. And so it continues.

 

Another break goes, this time with Krists Neilands, Dayer Quintana, Nico Denz and Quentin Jauregui. Those last two are teammates on AG2R La Mondiale, so they'll be pretty chuffed if this stays away.

 

We haven't spoken about our finish town yet today, and it's one that really does have a history behind it.

The Sappada Affair of 1987 was one of those tales of betrayal that cycling does so well. Defending champion Roberto Visentini was wearing pink on stage 15, and his teammate Stephen Roche defied team orders by going on the attack on a descent in an attempt to try and win the stage. At one point, Venturini and teammates were on the front of the peloton and trying to bring back their own man, but in the end Roche proved too strong. He didn’t win the stage, but he did take pink – finishing the race with it on his shoulders.

’87 ended up being the year of Roche’s legendary triple crown (Giro, Tour and Worlds), but it could all have been so different had he just done as he was bloody told.

130km 

Aru is quickly brought back into the fold, along with De Marchi, Hermans et al. Good to see the Italian champ full of garbanzos though at this early point in the stage.

 

Now this is interesting. Fabio Aru is having a good go at forging away with some other strong riders - he's surely still too high up on GC to be allowed away - and yet on he goes.

 

Based on De Marchi's enthusiasm to get in seemingly any move of more than one person, he must really think the escape has a shot today. You wouldn't bet against it given the rolling parcours and the generally knackered-looking peloton.

 

Now it's the turn of Ben Hermans to accompany De Marchi as they set off to try and form yet another escape..

135km 

The break is really struggling to find any purchase at all here. They are splayed across the road, just a few metres off the nose of the peloton.

 

The break has shuffled around, with the presence of those big name riders from Mitchelton and Sky proving unacceptable to the peloton. Right now, we have a trio of Italians (Visconti, Conti and De Marchi) being chased by Hubert Dupont, Luis Leon Sanchez and Mattia Cattaneo.

 

Go on then, let's hear your predictions...

 

Bernie Eisel says Sam Bennett should not be wasting his energy with frivolous fripperies like wheelieng up the Zoncolan. Personally, I reckon Sammy B can do whatever he likes in the mountains if he keeps winning the flat ones.

 

This is shaping up like one of those super-breaks we see so often toward the end of a Grand Tour. Lots of star power, valuable lieutenants from the GC teams. Tasty stuff.

 

Mikel Nieve, Valerio Conti and that man De Marchi are now looking to get in on the fun.

 

Another mini-break gives it a dig, this time with Laurens ten Dam, Giovanni Visconti and Ruben Plaza in the mix. Them's some strong lads. Can they make this stick?

 

That break we mentioned just now. You can forget about that. Everyone is back together for the time being. 21km ridden, a short levelling off to come soon, followed by - you guessed it - more climbing.

 

Oh, and just in case you were wondering... Irish national champ Ryan Mullen is very much still with us post-Zoncolan

 

It takes a special type of person to enjoy climbing the Zoncolan, but it turns out Mitchelton-Scott's Jack Haig is exactly that...

 

Looks like we might have the beginnings of a break forming, with Cattaneo, Alessandro De Marchi, Louis Meintjes, Gianluca Brambilla and Jarlinson Pantano all involved.

 

Simon Yates played down his chances, despite now sitting 1:24 ahead of Dumoulin, and 1:37 ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo of Bahrain Merida in third. The Englishman said after yesterday's stage that he does not believe the margin is enough to win him the Giro. Pundits have estimated Yates will give away between 90 seconds and two minutes to Big Tommy McWindmills in the time trial on Tuesday.

 

Tom Dumoulin admitted that, after losing another sizeable number of seconds to Simon Yates on the slopes of the Zoncolan, it's looking like a tougher and tougher task to win the Giro. Luckily for the Dutchman, today should suit him a bit better with its (slightly) more benign climbs.

 

The big story yesterday was Chris Froome's return to something like his best form with an imperious solo attack from 4.5 kilometres out, but there were a few other talking points that flew slightly lower on the radar, if not quite under them.

 

The riders rolled out of today's start town, Tolmezzo, at 11:24 today, with one rider from yesterday down as a DNS. How the peloton will cope without Alessandro Tonelli of Bardiani-CSF, we will just have to wait to find out...

 

It's 50/50 whether we'll see a rider from the break win today. On paper, with the Zoncolan in their legs the peloton should be absolutely knackered and more than willing to let a few brave souls go off and flagellate themselves up the road. However, the GC men may want to take those time bonuses themselves, especially going into the individual time trial on Tuesday when pretty much everyone is expected to lose huge chunks to Giro defending champ, Tom Dumoulin.

 

Today we have four categorised climbs on the menu, starting with the Passo Della Mauria which comes 48.4km into the stage. It's the easiest of the day's climbs and - if it hasn't gone already - should see the make-up of the day's breakaway decided.

 

Good morning everyone and welcome to stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia. Yesterday we saw some serious fireworks on the Zoncolan, the resurgence of a dormant cycling superpower and the finest wheelie of the 2018 WorldTour thus far... With another seriously lumpy stage ahead, we can expect lots more excitement today.

Here's the marvellous Cosmo Catalano on how yesterday's explosive finale went down.