Giro d'Italia: Tao Geoghegan Hart wins stage 15 atop Piancavallo

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) took his maiden Grand Tour stage win on stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia on a dramatic day that saw João Almeida (opens in new tab) (Deceuninck-QuickStep (opens in new tab)) cling onto the maglia rosa by the skin of his teeth after Wilco Kelderman and his Sunweb team turned the race on its head at the Piancavallo summit finish.

The British rider kicked for the line to beat Kelderman to the line to take Ineos’ fifth stage win of the race. In the battle for the maglia rosa, Kelderman clawed back 41 seconds on Almeida, while the Dutchman’s teammate Jai Hindley finished third on the line. Almeida leads Kelderman by 15 seconds going into the second rest-day.

"This one was for Nico Portal, we lost him this spring and I think it’s been really difficult for the team," Geoghegan Hart said. "We’ve had some great highs this season but also some big lows in the Tour, for me personally and in this race. We just had to show the Grenadier spirit we try to foster in this team and try to bounce back as we know we can.

"It’s been such an up and down race for us. We had an incredible Filippo Ganna and equally incredible Rohan Dennis yesterday and Johnny (Narváez), who we were really sad to lose today, he also won a stage from a breakaway. Everyone in our team has been in a top-four minimum, so I’m really honoured to be part of this team and to be a Grenadier and to be in this Giro."

Despite seeing his lead cut to shreds, it was still an incredible performance from Almeida, who looked destined to relinquish his 56-second lead to Kelderman when he was dropped with 7.2km to go on the final climb. 

"For sure I'm really happy," Almeida said. "I have to be very grateful to the team for all their work. I felt good today but there were stronger riders out there and so congrats to them. In the first one or two kilometres I thought I could come back to them. Then I was just pushing my limits, it was a suffer-fest all the way to the finish. I took my radio out because I was so focused on doing the best I could. I was doing everything I could to keep the jersey."

Sunweb had decimated the field almost on the lower slopes, first catching breakaway survivor Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers) and then lifting the pace once more to crack a host of GC contenders.

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren), who started the stage in third overall, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) were all distanced thanks to a furious pace set down by Sam Oomen and Chris Hamilton (both Sunweb) with 9.5km to go. Not content with dropping most of their rivals, Sunweb kept the pace at an almost relentless speed and 8.9km from the summit Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) cracked.

When Hamilton swung over just under two kilometres later, and Hindley took over only a handful of riders remained in the front group but 7.2km from home Almeida, his last man Fausto Masnada, and Rafal Majka began to struggle to leave only Hindley, Geoghegan Hart, and Kelderman at the head of affairs. As the gradient rose to 14 per cent it looked as though the young maglia rosa would be able to hold the first group at around 10 seconds, but with each pacing kilometer, Hindley edged the leaders further away as back down the climb Nibali, Bilbao and Pozzovivo struggled to keep their GC hopes alive. 

With 6km to go Nibali’s group had already lost close to a minute but Almeida, earpiece out, and struggling with every pedal stroke began to slowly lose time as the gap to Kelderman opened up to 32 seconds two kilometers from the line. With Geoghegan Hart along for the ride, and the British rider knowing full well that he was under no obligation to work and that his top-ten chances would be greatly improved if he sat on, Hindley continued on the front for the leading trio.

When Hindley finally swung off with the line in sight, Kelderman finally made his move. He had neither the top-end speed nor the power to match Geoghegan Hart, with the British rider taking the win and moving up to fourth overall.

Kelderman’s second-placed finished and bonus seconds were enough to make serious inroads into Almeida’s lead and the Dutchman will head into the final week relishing his chances of taking his first Grand Tour. Hindley, too, will have reason to celebrate, with the Australian now into third at 2:56, and Geoghegan Hart a further second back.

As for the rest of the GC contenders, with Majka losing 1:20 to Kelderman, but Bilbao, Fuglsang, and Nibali all conceding 1:34. Pozzovivo faired even worse, losing close to two minutes and dropping to eight, while Brandon McNulty dropping seven places to 11th overall. There’s no shame in that for the young American, who in his first Grand Tour has shown flashes of genuine promise but for Nibali, now in seventh at 3:29, any hopes of a win are even further out of reach.

How it unfolded

The peloton raced 185km from the Base Aerea Rivolto to the mountaintop finish at Piancavallo in what was a decisive stage to the overall classification as Joåo Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) started the day in the maglia rosa by 56 seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and 2:11 ahead of Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren).

The peloton were treated to an aerial exhibition as pilots took flight and put on a show complete with tri-colour smoke across the skies at the Base Aerea Rivolto. It was a tough stage with four categorised climbs that included three category two ascents at Sella Chianzutan (65km), Forcella di Monte Rest (105km), Forcella di Pala Barzana (143km), and the category one finale at the 1,290-metre high Piancavallo, a 14km ascent with an average gradient of 8 per cent all the way to the finish line.

An early breakaway of 12 riders set off that included Andrea Vendrame (AG2R La Mondiale), Luca Chirico (Androni Giocattoli), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Mark Padun (Bahrain McLaren), Nathan Haas (Cofidis), Daniel Navarro (Israel Start-Up Nation), Thomas De Gendt and Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal), Davide Villella and Sergio Samitier (Movistar), Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers), Giovanni Visconti and Edoardo Zardini (Zini Zabu), and none were a threat to the overall classification.

The breakaway gained seven minutes on the main field as De Gendt set a quick pace over the Sella Chianzutan climb. His efforts distanced Zardini, Haas and Carboni, but Visconti was the first to summit and took full mountain points. Deceuninck-QuickStep led the chase, but with no threats to the overall classification in the move, they held the escapees at five minutes as they headed into the second climb of the day at the 7km-long Forcella di Monte Rest.

Visconti took full points from the breakaway over the top to build a significant lead of the mountain competition over runner-up Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling). The peloton ramped up the chase bringing the gap to the breakaway down to four minutes on the descent off the Forcella di Monte Rest, but Visconti, Dennis and De Gendt did not let up and pushed the breakaway on toward the final two ascents. 

De Gendt and Dennis dropped their companions part way up the Forcella di Pala Baarzana, a 13.3km with the final 4km at 7.3 per cent, but Visconti didn’t give up and bridged back up to the two leaders. Dennis put in one searing attack and crested the climb alone, and then time trialled through the valley roads toward the looming final ascent of the Piancavallo.

A chase group reformed behind Dennis that initially included Visconti, De Gendt, Vendarme, Samitier and Villella but they were a minute behind the lone Ineos Grenadiers rider and only a minute ahead of the chasing peloton led by Sunweb. The chasers began to split apart at the base of the final climb with De Gendt and Samitier the last two chasers behind Dennis to be caught. 

Dennis hung on for as long as possible, and although he was caught partway up the climb in the battle for the overall classification, his move ultimately helped set up teammate Geoghegan Hart for the stage win.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 4:58:52
2Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:02
3Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:04
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:37
5Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:22
6Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:29
7James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:36
8Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
9Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
11Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:38
12Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:01:54
13Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
14Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain McLaren
15Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:43
16Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:03:10
17Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling 0:05:07
18Victor De la Parte (Spa) CCC Team
19Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
20Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:05:17
21Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis 0:05:51
22Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team
23Lawrence Warbasse (USA) AG2R la Mondiale
24Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
25Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
26Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
27Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:06:03
28Martijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb
29Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:07:09
30Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team 0:07:50
31Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis 0:08:47
32Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 0:09:12
33Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
34Attila Valter (Hun) CCC Team 0:09:13
35Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:10:18
36Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:10:29
37Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
38Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
39Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
40Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
41Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) NTT Pro Cycling
42Antonio Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
43Louis Meintjes (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
44Einer Augusto Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team 0:12:10
45Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:12:33
46Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:14:10
47Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
48Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 0:14:43
49Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren 0:15:20
50Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
51Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
52Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
53Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Astana Pro Team
54Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation
55Joe Dombrowski (USA) UAE Team Emirates 0:18:05
56Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team 0:18:54
57Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
58Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:19:41
59François Bidard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
60Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
61Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
62Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:24:03
63Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:24:43
64Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:24:57
65Luca Chirico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
66Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep
67Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb 0:25:25
68Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:25:50
69Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain McLaren 0:26:07
70Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling
71James Whelan (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:32:02
72Eros Capecchi (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
73Danilo Wyss (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling
74Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
75Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team
76Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
77Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
78Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team
79Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
80Etienne Van Empel (Ned) Vini Zabu' KTM
81Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Pro Cycling
82Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
83Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren
84Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
85Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal
86Matteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:32:09
87Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:34:36
88Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
89Marco Mathis (Ger) Cofidis 0:40:45
90Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
91Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
92Matteo Spreafico (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
93Josip Rumac (Cro) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
94Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
95Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
96Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
97Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
98Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
99Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
100Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
101Mattia Bais (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
102Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
103Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
104Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
105Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
106Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
107Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
108Rodrigo Contreras Pinzon (Col) Astana Pro Team
109Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
110Marco Frapporti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
111Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
112Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
113Simone Bevilacqua (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM
114Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-Up Nation
115Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
116Guy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation
117Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) AG2R la Mondiale
118Dylan Sunderland (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling
119Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
120Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
121Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
122Fabio Mazzucco (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
123Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team
124Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
125Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation
126Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
127Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
128Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
129Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
130Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ
131Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal
132Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:40:52
133Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
134Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
135Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
136Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-Up Nation
137Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:40:55
138Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 1 - Villa Santina - km 81.3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 12
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 8
3Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 6
4Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team 5
5Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 4
6Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 3
7Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Israel Start-Up Nation 2
8Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Finish - Piancavallo - km 185
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 15
2Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 12
3Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 9
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 7
5Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 6
6Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 5
7James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 4
8Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 3
9Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 2
10Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 1 - Sella Chianzutan - km 65.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 18
2Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal 8
3Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 6
4Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 4
5Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 2
6Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 2 - Forcella Di Monte Rest - km 105.2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 18
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 8
3Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 6
4Matthew Holmes (GBr) Lotto Soudal 4
5Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 2
6Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountian 3 - Forcella Di Pala Barzana - km 143.4
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 18
2Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 8
3Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Vini Zabu' KTM 6
4Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team 4
5Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 2
6Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 4 - Piancavallo - km 185
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 40
2Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 18
3Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 12
4Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 9
5Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 6
6Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 4
7James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 2
8Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 1
Swipe to scroll horizontally