Here's how Jan Tratnik won the stage

The 30-year-old Bahrain-McLaren rider proving there's more to Slovenia than Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar...
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10/11/2021 AT 21:10

Almeida steals a couple more seconds

The Portuguese debutant crosses the line a couple of seconds clear of his rivals to add a small bit to his lead and ensure a 14th day in pink.

Attack from Almeida!

The pink jersey dances out of the saddle and he's immediately snared by Wilco Kelderman and the others... until a gap emerges going over the top of the ramp, and he could take a few seconds here...

Meanwhile, the peloton still rides...

The remnants of the breakaway arrived in dribs and drabs but now the focus shifts to the battle for pink as the peloton approaches that steep ramp towards the line with the big race favourites all jostling for position. There are no bonus seconds left but any gaps could spark a little change in the standings.

Today's top three

The biggest win in Jan Tratnik's career...

Battaglin takes third

O'Connor was seven seconds down there for second place while Tratnik's teammate Enrico Battaglin pipped Poland's Kamil Malecki of CCC for third ahead of Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) as the chasers came home 1'14" down.
There's a little wave to the crowd from local rider Matteo Fabbro after he comes over the line for eighth place, the Bora-Hansgrohe rider's chances never really materialising despite the predictions by many.

Jan Tratnik wins Stage 16

O'Connor takes it up but it's Tratnik who powers past near the top of the ramp before extending his lead on the approach to the line. Victory goes to the man from Slovenia - and O'Connor is left to bang his handlebars in frustration behind.
Good timing for his final attack, too...

Final kilometre

The game of cat-and-mouse starts before the banner and that ramped finish as Tratnik drops onto O'Connor's back wheel and lets the Australian to lead it out onto the climb. And now they go uphill... O'Connor is the best climber, but how much energy did he lose on that previous climb when he closed the gap?

5km to go: Bouchard bouncing back

The Frenchman has almost joined Swift, Battaglin and Malecki. But the chase group is a minute down and so it will be a sprint for third place.
Neither Tratnik nor O'Connor has ever won a stage on a Grand Tour before. O'Connor only has three pro wins to his name, the 24-year-old having burst onto the scene in 2018 in the Giro, when he was in 12th place when he crashed out with just a few days remaining.

8km to go: Two-horse race

The leading duo's gap is up to 50 seconds now so it looks like one of Tratnik or O'Connor will win today.
Meanwhile, 15 minutes behind, the peloton has just started the final climb. There's a bit of a battle to get on it but Joao Almeida is still there with teammate Peter Serry in support.

13km to go: O'Connor catches Tratnik

The 24-year-old Australian just makes the connection as Tratnik goes over the summit. Behind, around 20 seconds down, Swift is now riding with Malecki and Battaglin in pursuit of the two leaders. This could all work out marvellously for Bahrain-McLaren with a victory for either Tratnik or Battaglin. But it could still go south.

14km to go: O'Connor closes in

The man from Western Australia drops Swift and goes clear in pursuit of Tratnik, who he has in his sights with 1km to go till the summit. The Slovenian is looking like he's on the verge of blowing up as the gap comes down to single figures... O'Connor is out of contract next season and his NTT team is under pressure to find a new sponsor - a win here could help his plight, and the team's.

15km to go: Monte de Ragogna

We're onto the third and final ascent of this climb, which is 2.8km long at 10.4%. O'Connor and Swift have ridden clear from the chasers - and they have Battaglin covering their move. Until the Italian hits the wall, that is... And the gap is down to 25 seconds.

17km to go: Jan the impaler

This is a superb ride from the 30-year-old Slovenian on the front of the race. He still has 40 seconds but there is that climb to come - and the ramped finale. His previous best placed finish in a Grand Tour stage was in last year's Tour where he came third in Stage 9 - 10 second behind Daryl Impey and Tiesj Benoot. His last win was in the prologue of the Tour of Romandie last year.

22km to go: Tratnik tiring?

The leader is onto the steep ramp to Castello di Susans, where we had the intermediate sprint on the last lap. His gap comes down to 32 seconds after a big pull from Ben Swift in the chase group. It's a helpless task for the Ineos rider because no one else seems to be helping him: Boaro is spent while Battaglin has a man up the road.
Back in the second chase group there is even less cohesion. Samitier, the Spaniard, will rise a fair few places on GC today. He was 20 minutes down this morning but the gap back to the peloton is 15 minutes now.

27km to go: The bell rings

Tratnik has negotiated those steep ramps up to the finish and is rewarded not only with the sound of the bell but also the news that the chase group - which included Boaro now, plus Tratnik's teammate Battaglin - is 40 seconds down. Can he hold on? The other escapees, including Movistar's duo and the blue jersey Visconti, are 1'35" down.

30km to go: Battaglin or Swift?

You'd think the favourites were one of those two riders, given their speed and capacity to deal with the ramped finish. But Tratnik is still out with 30 seconds on Boaro and 40 seconds on the other six chasers. We don't know the gap back to the other riders from the break, but the peloton is now 14 minutes down.

35km to go: Battaglin joins chasers

This is interesting: Enrico Battaglin, the Bahrain-McLaren teammate of lone leader Jan Tratnik, is now in that Swift chase group. The six riders are still 42 seconds down on the Slovenian, with Boaro 15 seconds down. Battaglin hasn't been his best for a few years but, on his day, he's well suited to the uphill ramps of today's 'sprint' finish.

40km to go: Tratnik clear over the top

Jan Tratnik crests the summit with a small gap of 10 seconds on Boaro. Behind a quintet has formed with Swift, O'Connor, Tonelli and Bouchard caght by Kamil Malecki. They go over 30 seconds down. The rest of the break are a bit further back and the peloton 12'35" down.

42km to go: Monte di Ragogna

It's Swift who leads the chase on the second ascent. The Brit from Ineos Grenadiers was with Bouchard and Tonelli on the front of a splinter group ahead of the break. Swift had opened up a gap but is still 30 seconds behind the two leaders. Ben O'Connor, meanwhile, has darted clear of the chasers in pursuit of Swift. He's caught Bouchard and Conti, with the Italian fading a little.

45km to go: Stormy skies overhead

The weather could play a factor in today's finish because it looks like there's a good chance of an almighty downpour some time soon. The peloton are coming through the finish zone with an 11'30" deficit on the two leaders, who have 35 seconds on the chasers.

49km to go: Gap grows for duo

Boaro and Tratnik extend their lead to 25 seconds over the chasers as they approach the second intermediate sprint at Castello di Susans. It's the second Vini Zabu-KTM rider, Lorenzo Rota, who is pushing clear on the front of the strung-out chase group.

55km to go: Conti leads chase

The break is starting to fragment after Valerio Conti ups the tempo on the initial 20% ramp towards the finish line after this first circuit. He's joined by Swift and a handful of others as Boaro and Tratnik go through the finish with a small gap on their pursuers.

62km to go: Two clear

Guerreiro's blue cameo comes to an end before Manuele Boaro and Jan Tratnik zip clear to open up a gap over the break. These guys ooze class and so there's an element of concern behind as Ben Swift works hard to close the gap.

67km to go: Guerreiro takes 9pts

The Portuguese rider goes over the summit about 20 seconds clear of Visconti, with the chase group just a few seconds further back. So, Guerreiro reduces the lead of his blue jersey rival to 30 points - which is one point fewer than how things were this morning.
It will be interesting to see if the EF Pro Cycling rider pushes on now in search of a second stage win, or if he waits and bides his time for the second of these three ascents.

70km to go: Monte di Ragogna

Here it is, the Cat.3 Ragogna which is 3km at 8.9%. It's a nice climb through dense trees whose leaves are tinted by autumn colours. And Ruben Guerreiro has taken it up early, the Portuguese darting clear half way up in a bid to recoup some of those points he lost on the third climb.

71km to go: Approaching the finish climb

While the main pack is grinding up the ramp to the finish line, the break is 11 minutes further up the road and about to embark on the first of three ascents of the climb which should thin things out a little on these three laps.

75km to go: Through the finish

We've had the first of three dress rehearsals of the finish - an uphill ramp which peaks at 20%. The next time will be for the second intermediate sprint, then for the bell marking the final lap of this circuit, then it will be the finish itself. The gap has ballooned to almost 11 minutes now.

80km to go: Nine minutes

With the peloton mincing around a bit after passing through the feedzone and individually stopping for a collective call of nature, the gap stretches above the nine-minute mark for the leaders. So, we're going to get two races today - one on the front for the stage, and the other for the pink jersey behind. The third race - that for the blue jersey points - is pretty much over: Visconti cannot be caught now today, although Guerreiro will no doubt try and reduce his arrears on the next three climbs after his gearing issue on the last one.

90km to go: Ag2R power in numbers

It will be interesting to see how Ag2R-La Mondiale play this. They have four riders in the break so will presumably put in some attacks at some point in a bid to help Warbasse or Vendrame for the win. Fabbro remains the dangerman, although Swift is a good option too. Battaglin, Conti and Felline have some traction, too.
The gap is still 8'45" for this 28-man move as they complete the long descent off the back of that third climb. They will start the finishing circuit soon, which they tackle three times ahead of the finish.

99km to go: Over the top goes the peloton

They're trailing the 28 leaders by 8'40". Actually, make that 27 leaders because Guerreiro is still off the back and chasing on following his mechanical that saw him miss out on any points over the top. Remember, we're onto stage 16 but only six teams have picked up a result here in the Giro - largely thanks to the voracity of Ineos (five wins) and Groupama (four wins).
Of course, Deceuninck Quick-Step and Sunweb are without a stage win between them, but they do occupy the top three spots on the GC between them, too. That's been the trade off.

105km to go: Visconti extends lead

The man in blue extends his lead after winning the KOM uncontested there. It was a comedy of errors for Guerreiro, his rival, there after the Portuguese got stuck in the big ring near the summit just as the gradient ramped up. The EF rider ground to a stand-still and had to get off his bike to sort out the issue and he was unable to return to the fold before the summit. His teammate James Whelan didn't manage to upset Visconti at all so the Italian picks up 9pts to extend his lead to 35pts in the maglia azzurra standings.

108km to go: Cat.3 Monteaperta

The break is onto the third climb of the day. It's 3.3km at 7.6% and there are another 9pts up for grabs over the summit. The gap is 8'10".

118km to go: 1,000km left in the Giro

The 103rd edition is entering its final 1,000km. And about half of those are uphill. Joao Almeida currently has six of his seven Quick-Step teammates in front of him on the nose of the peloton. The break are approaching the official start of the third climb with a gap of eight minutes.

La Vuelta is under way!

Meanwhile, over in the Basque Country, the first stage of the Vuelta a Espana has just got under way. It's the first time since 1986 that these two Grand Tours have overlapped... My colleague Tom Owen is doing the live commentary for Stage 1 of the Vuelta - here's the link...

120km to go: Fabbro the favourite?

Even before today's stage, many people's tip for the day was Matteo Fabbro. Now that the Bora-Hansgrohe rider is in the break, he's in with an even better chance. The Italian 25-year-old is one of the local riders today - he hails from the start town of Udine - so he'll hope to join teammate Peter Sagan on the scoresheet today.

125km to go: Eight minutes

The gap continues to grow as the break tackle some rolling terrain ahead of the third categorised climb. Quick-Step are keeping a lid on things back with the main pack. Joao Almeida will suit today's finish with that repeated climb of Monte di Ragogna. The Portuguese should retain his pink jersey but you never know in the third week of a Grand Tour...

132km to go: Seven minutes

The gap is up to seven minutes now for this 28-man break - but that could come tumbling down once the main GC contenders start to race behind on the tough closing circuit. Of the leaders, Visconti has the most pro wins to his name: 34. Second in this classification are Felline and Swift, both on 14, then Tratnik on eight and Conti on four.
It will be interesting to see how Ineos Grenadiers play this. They have both Puccio and Swift in the break - the latter clearly with a good chance of taking the win. But will they keep them to act as a bridge over for Tao Geoghegan Hart, who is now just one second away from a place on the podium?

142km to go: Vendrame wins sprint

The intermediate sprint at Cividale del Friuli doesn't spark much interest from anyone outside the Ag2R-La Mondiale contingent, for whom Andrea Vendrama darts out of the wheel of a teammate, Larry Warbasse I think, to take the spoils that sees him up to... sixth place in the two-horse maglia ciclamino race.

148km to go: Peloton go over Monte Spig

It's the Deceuninck Quick-Step team of Joao Almeida who lead the pack over the top of the climb, 6'20" down on the 28 leaders.

150km to go: Visconti took the 9pts

We have confirmation now that it was Visconti who took the maximum nine points there over Guerreiro, who had to settle for 4pts. That puts the scores on 17-22 for the day in favour of the EF Pro Cycling rider, who trails Visconti by 26 points now, having reduced his arrears to 21pts on the last climb.

153km to go: Big battle for blue

Visconti opens up the sprint early for the 9pts over the summit - he looks to have the better of Guerreiro, but then the Portuguese rider tries to come round the Italian by the barriers, Visconti slightly closes the door, then they draw level over the line. They'll need a photo finish to work out that one - but I think it was Visconti, just. Let's await the confirmation there, though.

155km to go: Over six minutes

They're on that climb now, around two kilometres away from the summit. The gap is up to 6'15" for the 28 leaders and the sun is shining in this north-eastern part of Italy.

New entry in pink!

It looks like Joao Almeida's time in the maglia rosa has come to an unexpected end...

160km to go: Monte Spig

The break is approaching the second climb, the Cat.3 Monte Spig (4.7km at 8.3%). Race updates are rather sporadic but we're about to get some live TV images, which will help...

170km to go: Richeze abandons

Not a huge surprise given the terrain and the earlier withdrawal of the man he leads out in the sprints, Fernando Gaviria. Max Richeze's departure puts UAE-Team Emirates down to six riders.

180km to go: 2000th Giro stage

The gap is 3'45" back to the peloton after the first 50km of today's stage. We're onto the flat segment between the first two climbs - calm before the storm, so to speak, in what is the 2,000th stage in the Giro's history.

185km to go: Leading duo caught

Guerreiro is with his teammate Whelan and Visconti with his teammate Rota now after the leaders are caught on the descent by the chasing group, which is now up to 28 riders.

195km to go: The 26 chasers

Bear with me while I reel off their names... In this large chase group we have Francois Bidard, Geoffrey Bouchard, Andrea Vendrame and Larry Warbasse (all Ag2R-La Mondiale), Alessandro Bisolti and Jefferson Cepada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Manuele Boaro and Fabio Felline (Astana), Enrico Battaglin and Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren), Alessandro Tonelli and Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF), Matteo Fabbro and Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Kamil Malecki and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team), James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), Einer Rubio and Sergio Samitier (Movistar), Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE-Team Emirates and Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-KTM).
Phew, got there in the end. And without copying or pasting, too.

198km to go: Guerreiro takes 18pts

It's Ruben Guerreiro who pips Gio Visconti to the summit and that means the Portuguese pockets 18pts and the Italian just the 8pts. So, that slashes Visconti's lead at the top of the maglia azzurra standings to 21 points. The chasers go over 1'15" down on the two leaders with the peloton now over five minutes in arrears.

202km to go: Visconti catches Guerreiro

The Italian bridges over and so it's the two main contenders for the maglia azzurra on the front of the race. They have 45 seconds on that large chase group and over four minutes now on the peloton. The best placed rider in the chase group is Spain's Sergio Samitier of Movistar, who is 20'43" down on GC. The Italian Matteo Fabbro, who is 31'56" down, is there too. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider is many people's favourite today.
Vini Zabu-KTM's Visconti, we should add, has gone all-in for his blue get-up today...

205km to go: Guerreiro attacks!

The Portuguese rider from EF Pro Cycling, who snared the blue jersey when he won the stage to Roccaraso the day before the last rest day, zips clear. He had his blue jersey rival Gio Visconti, the current incumbent, in pursuit. There's a group of around 26 riders that have edged clear of the pack, too.

209km to go: Madonnina del Domm

We're onto the first of those six categorised climbs, the Cat.2 Madonnina del Domm (10.1km at 7.4%). Up for grabs over the summit is 18 KOM points on a day which had a maximum of 63 points available. Expect some action from the likes of Visconti and Guerreiro in their battle for blue.

215km to go: No attacks

The peloton is still riding as one as the riders make their way to the foot of the first of those six climbs.
In this slight lull, perhaps it's worth reminding you that the Vuelta a Espana gets under way today too - just as you'd expect for a Tuesday in mid-October, a few days after the Tour of Flanders and while the Giro is still going on, eh? Here's a quick preview:

229km to go: They're off!

The flag is waved and this sixteenth stage is under way. Strange to see no sudden attack from Marco Frapporti, Simon Pellaud or Mattia Bais. Just you wait...

137 riders in the neutral zone

The remaining riders have edged out of the start town of Udine ahead of the official start of the final phase of this Giro - a race many thought wouldn't get this far. Let's hope for an uneventful week in terms of the virus, but a barnstorming battle on all fronts when it comes to pink, blue, white and ciclamino...
A quick reminder who's in what jersey...
Pink: Joao Almeida's lead over Wilco Kelderman is down to 15 seconds, with a second Sunweb rider, Jai Hindley in third at 2'56" and one second ahead of Sunday's winner Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos.
White: It's the Portuguese from Deceuninck Quick-Step who also leads this ahead of the Australian Hindley (who wears white) and Geoghegan Hart.
Blue: Italian veteran Gio Visconti took over the lead in the KOM standings on Sunday with 118pts to Ruben Guerreiro's 87pts.
Ciclamino: Frenchman Arnaud Demare has 221pts and Peter Sagan has 184pts here so it's the four-time stage winner who is still in purple ahead of the Slovakian showman.

Gaviria out after second positive COVID-19 test

The big news this morning is that the Colombian Fernando Gaviria has been withdrawn by his UAE-Team Emirates team because of a positive test for COVID-19. If you look back to the early days of this pesky virus you may remember that Gaviria was the first rider to test positive for coronavirus back in February at the UAE Tour. Apparently this time round he's asymptomatic - but it just goes to show that there's a lot we still have to learn about COVID-19. The notion that you're immune once you've had it is clearly erroneous...
Gaviria is the only rider to test positive although we're hearing that Ag2R-La Mondiale have had a staff member forced to leave the race after the team's second positive test of the race. The first came on the last rest day.

Ciao ragazzi!

Good morning cycling fans and well done for getting through the second rest day. If Jonathan Vaughters had his way, Joao Almeida would have already been crowned the Giro champion and these next six stages would not be happening...
Looking at the itinerary, we're pleased they are. All but one of the next five stages is over 200km long and there's an average vertical gain of 4,400m. Today it's just 4,000m of climbing across six categorised climbs - the last three of which are ascents of Monte di Ragogna on a closing loop near the finish at San Daniele del Friuli.
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TAO IN WITH A SHOUT OF TITLE GLORY?

After Geraint Thomas crashed on Stage 2 and Simon Yates tested positive for coronavirus, this was supposed to be a Giro to forget for Great Britain but in Tao Geoghegan Hart they now have an outside GC hope after his stunning victory on Stage 15 on Sunday.
The Londoner lies fourth on GC, 2:57 off pink jersey Joao Almeida,and with a brutal final week in the offing, who knows what could happen. After claiming five stage wins, could Ineos Grenadiers spent the final stint targeting GC?
As Brian Smith said on The Breakaway on Sunday: "I think he can be on the podium, I think he can challenge for the whole thing. Ineos will have to look into looking after him. They’ve had the opportunities to win stages, they’ve won five now, but now they have to think about GC. Today it was just about the win.
"I believe if Tao had attacked in the final kilometre he’d have taken another 20 or 30 seconds out of GC, but he was thinking just purely stage win. How’s he going to look at it now?”

HOW TO WATCH THE GIRO D'ITALIA LIVE – TV & LIVE STREAMING

The 103rd edition of the Giro d'Italia is live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport App.
You can watch the entire race on digital platforms for £6.99 (monthly subscription), while an annual pass is £39.99.
Each day Eurosport.co.uk will stream uninterrupted coverage of each stage. We will also have rolling coverage online on the website and our social channels.
And don't forget, we are bringing you daily podcasts from the Bradley Wiggins Show - check in with your podcast platform of choice each evening.
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