Richard Carapaz survived another early-stage crash on the road to Cogne to retain the Giro d’Italia maglia rosa and so takes race leadership into Monday’s third rest day.
Carapaz took a tumble on stage 10 to Jesi at the start of week two and was caught in another possibly consequential crash after just six kilometres of stage 15.
A touch of wheel in the peloton saw a number riders go into the grass on the side of the road. Carapaz went down on his left shoulder but rolled over and was soon back up and on his bike. He was left with a bloody left knee but apparently little else.
Later, after a hectic fight to form the break of the day, the Ineos Grenadiers formed their dominant mountain train and controlled their overall rivals for the rest of the stage. Only UAE Team Emirates briefly tried to up the pace on the steepest part of the penultimate Verrogne climb for João Almeida but they eased up when they realised they lacked the riders to blow up the GC group.
“It was quite a crazy stage at the start, as it was very fast up to the first climb. After that, we went to the front and we looked to control the gap to the break,” Carapaz explained, calm and collected as ever.
“Yesterday was a complicated stage so it wasn’t unexpected. There was a lot of fatigue from yesterday’s stage, and a lot of teams got riders in the break too. It was a bit calmer today and the team did great work.”
Carapaz took the maglia rosa on stage 14 just as he did in 2019 when he won the race while with Movistar. He won the stage to Courmayeur in 2019 to open a lead he would defend all the way to the final time trial in Verona. This year’s race also finishes with a time trial in Verona.
Carapaz has grabbed a few bonus seconds during the early stages of the Giro and has the tactical ability to go on the attack as well as ride defensively with his teammates.
He leads Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) by just seven seconds, with Almeida third at 30 seconds and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) fourth at 59 seconds. Other riders are within two minutes but this year’s Giro d’Italia seems like a battle between these four and their strong teams.
“Yesterday, the chance to take the jersey was a motivation for us. It’s better to have to defend the jersey than to have to attack to get it,” Carapaz explained with disarming logic.
“We have some quite hard stages to come and I know some of them. It’s my terrain and I can defend myself. But if I can gain time, it’s better for us, of course.
“The last week will be very decisive because there are some tough stages and you have the accumulation of fatigue too. We will try to defend the jersey and having a strong team like we do is very important.”
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.