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Giro d'Italia stage 16 – Live coverage

(Image credit: RCS Sport)

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Good morning and welcome to our live coverage from [checks notes] stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia.

We start with some breaking news that was released by RCS this morning. 

492 tests were carried out over Sunday and rest day. We've heard reports that the UAE Team Emirates rider is Fernando Gaviria, so that will mean he's out of the race. It's up to the team if they want to pull their entire roster like Jumbo Visma did last week. This is the second time this season that Gaviria has tested positive for the virus  after he caught it back at the UAE Tour in February. 

And it's confirmed. Gaviria has been pulled from the race by his team after testing positive for Coronavirus. Here's a statement from the team:

After undergoing a PCR test on yesterday’s Giro d’Italia rest day, UAE Team Emirates’ Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for COVID-19.

We will return with more on Gaviria soon but it's important to mention that stage 16 is also about to begin. It's a long one too, 229km from Udine to San Daniele del Friuli with several categorised climbs along the route. It looks like one for the breakaway

The escapees will look to extend their advantage on the 30 kilometres of flat roads before that sequence of third-category hills commences, the five of them standing out on the stage profile like waves lining up to crash on a beach. The first in the string is Monte Spig, the descent dropping into the first intermediate sprint at Cividale del Friuli and another 30km or so of valley riding. Next is the climb to Monteaperta, which is once more followed by 30 kilometres on flatter roads.

These roads lead into the finishing circuit, which is covered three times. There are two climbs on it, the first very short indeed up to the Castello di Susans, and the second much more testing as it climbs Monte di Ragogna, which averages 10.4 per cent over 2.8 kilometres and briefly touches 16 per cent.

You can find our breaking news on Gaviria, right here.

With a major climb coming so soon in the stage, riders have the perfect launchpad to attack. Peter Sagan will be interested in getting into the break today in order to snaffle more points up and worry Demare but it's such a tough stage, even for the three-time world champion. So far, no attacks.  

The road gently rises from the start of the stage, all the way to the foot of the second cat climb and we've seen a few riders inch forward and try and make a move but nothing has stuck so far.

Here's the top ten on GC coming into today's stage. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
General classification after stage 15
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 59:27:38
2Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:15
3Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:02:56
4Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:57
5Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:03:10
6Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:18
7Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:29
8Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:03:50
9Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:09
10Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:12

Gaviria was the only non starter today, so as we reported earlier the rest of the UAE squad have remained in the race and we have 137 athletes on the road right now. That second cat climb peaks out at the 31km mark so still plenty of time for the break to form and establish a pretty healthy lead over the bunch. This looks like a De Gendt day. 

Kelderman was  the big winner after stage 15, after the stage winner of course, and the Dutch rider is in the perfect position heading into the final week. With Almeida at 15 second Kelderman has the young maglia rosa wearer just where he wants him. He and Sunweb don't have to control the race and they can be patient and wait for the jersey to come to them in the mountains. 

The Vuelta starts today by the way. Of course it does. 

Situation, 14km into the race and no breaks or major attacks. Everyone seems to be waiting for the climb before things properly kick off.

We're at the base of the first climb of the day and still no action. It's only a matter of time though before the moves fly off the front of the peloton.

Already a stage winner in the race, Guerreiro from EF Pro Cycling has attacked. He's being chased down by a group of around 20 riders. That's a really big group, perhaps too big, but the climb is long enough to sort things out.

At my estimation we're about five fourteenths up the side of this climb. We've still got Guerreiro up the road and a rather large posse of riders hunting him down.

Visconti has joined Guerreiro at the front of the race with 28km covered and we have a huge group at 44 seconds which includes Warbasse, Guerreiro's best mate from earlier in the race, Swift, Puccio, Conti and about another 20 riders. 

The main peloton are already at 4'20 after 31km of racing and it looks like we're going to have a group of between 20-30 riders at the front after we make it over this descent. We're still waiting for the complete list of riders in the break but there's no De Gendt and no GC contenders. 

Julien Bernard is in the second group, along with most of AG2R (five riders to be exact). Ben O'Connor is also in the move.


The riders are on the flat road after the climb now. A chance for the chasers to close in on the leaders.

182km to go

The break: Ruben Guerreiro, James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling), Giovanni Visconti, Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM), Einer Rubio, Sergio Samitier (Movistar), Matteo Fabbro, Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Larry Warbasse, Francois Bidard, Geoffrey Bouchard, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R La Mondiale), Salvatore Puccio, Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), Manuele Boaro, Fabio Felline (Astana), Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Enrico Battaglin, Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Joey Rosskopf, Kamil Malecki (CCC Team), Filippo Zana, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Alessandro Bisolti, Jefferson Cepeda (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates).

3:30 between break and peloton at the moment as they approach the next climb of the day.

The Monte Spig is 4.7km long at an average of 8.2 per cent.

168km to go

Deceuninck-QuickStep control the peloton in service of race leader João Almeida.

A look at the peloton.

Giovanni Visconti has gone all-out for his first day as mountain classification leader.

5:45 for the break now. They're on the second climb of the day.

152km to go

A full-on sprint to the line and it looks like Visconti just about edged it at the top. Nine points for him versus four for Guerreiro and he extends his KOM lead.

Vini Zabu boss Luca Scinto has promised to dye his hair blue if Visconti wins the mountain classification this Giro, so an added incentive for the Italian.

146km to go

Vendrame leads the way through the intermediate sprint.

A longer ride in the valley before the next time, another third-cat test.

Max Richeze (UAE Team Emirates) has also abandoned the Giro d'Italia, joining his teammate and friend Fernando Gaviria, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Scinto's promise...

We've got QuickStep on the front of the peloton and the gap is at 7'20 with 130km to go as we see a few riders in the break scoff down some lunch. 

114km to go with the gap creeping up to 8'01.

We're climbing again and it's Manuele Boaro who leads and takes a long pull on the front of the race. We've been through both the feedzone for the break and the bunch as QuickStep continue to manage the pace for the peloton.

There are still a number of riders in the break but not cooperating but there are more than enough riders willing to keep the pace nice and high as the gap moves out to 8'08.

Almeida is riding well, just keeping in the wheels, after having his lunch. Just behind him he has a teammate and then all of Sunweb - who like QuickStep - don't have a rider in the break.

Ineos are sitting just behind Sunweb as they protect GC prospect Tao Geoghegan Hart, who is now up to fourth overall. We're already half-way through the stage (roughly) as the gap to the break holds at just over eight minutes.

We've still got four climbs to go and they're all third cat ascents as we see Ruben Guerreiro move up ahead of the current summit. Visconti in blue is following him.

Ruben Guerreiro has a problem with his gears. He can't change, it off the big ring and Visconti has created a small gap. Nine points available at the front and Ruben Guerreiro's teammate Whelan has to try and do something here.

Visconti is getting an armchair ride to the summit from his teammate and Visconti takes nine point and that  means he has a 35 point lead in the mountains competition. Nothing for Ruben Guerreiro.

104km to go and the gap is at 8:04 as we see Demare sitting at the back of the peloton. He looks okay though. 

Into the final 90km of the stage and the massive break of almost 30 riders are still clear, and their advantage has  even gone up to 8'40 so the winner will come from the front group today as the bunch continue to have a semi-rest day.

A reminder of the riders in the break:

Ruben Guerreiro, James Whelan (EF Pro Cycling), Giovanni Visconti, Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM), Einer Rubio, Sergio Samitier (Movistar), Matteo Fabbro, Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Larry Warbasse, Francois Bidard, Geoffrey Bouchard, Andrea Vendrame (AG2R La Mondiale), Salvatore Puccio, Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), Manuele Boaro, Fabio Felline (Astana), Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Enrico Battaglin, Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Joey Rosskopf, Kamil Malecki (CCC Team), Filippo Zana, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Alessandro Bisolti, Jefferson Cepeda (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) .

The leaders have lost about 25 seconds with the gap down to 8'26 as QuickStep continue to just tap out a steady pace on the front of the peloton. 86km to go.

One of the AG2R riders is forced to drop back and seek some mechanical assistance as up ahead the gap moves out to almost nine minutes again. We've still got three third cat climbs to come, so plenty of terrain to split this huge lead group up.

Slight incline for the break but we're not on the third cat climb just yet as the break moves out to 9'54.

Onto the finishing circuits now with 75km to go and the gap is at 10'16.

De Gendt, who I thought would be a in the break today, moves to the front to have a natter with the QuickStep train. It's pretty relaxed back in the bunch.

68km left and we really are climbing right now and we're on the ascent that we'll tackle three times before the finish. Remember it's not the best climber who always wins on circuits like this, remember Dowsett's win earlier in the race, for instance. 

And there's a move from Guerreiro who is going for the mountains points. The EF rider is playing a smart game if he wants points over the stage win but Visconti will just let this go and hope to wait for the final climb when he'll want to make the biggest difference.

Guerreiro looks good and he's clear and not having gear trouble. There's no response from the rest of the break as the winner of a previous stage opens up a decent little gap.

No time gap and Guerreiro keeps looking back but they're not going to catch him on this climb. He takes maximum points with 66km to go. 

Visconti takes second and that leaves Guerreiro with a 30 point lead over the EF Pro Cycling rider - who is pushing on and looking to take advantage of the situation that he has created for himself. 

Still no time gap for Guerreiro bu he's descending like a demon and taking a few risks. Good descender though as we see him take a perfect line through a couple of tricky corners.

Back with the bunch and QuickStep are all across the road and setting a very steady tempo. 

Onto flatter roads for Guerreiro and still no time gap but the EF Pro Cycling rider isn't relenting as he looks to press home his advantage. It's up to teams like AG2R to try and bring him back. Guerreiro was the first rider to attack this morning.

Guerreiro has 24 seconds now with 62km to go. The rest of the break will not panic just yet as we see Boaro attack from behind with one other rider. 

The bunch are at over 12 minutes, by the way as Boaro is joined by Tratnik now as they chase down Guerreiro with 61km to go.

Guerreiro only has 10 seconds on the two chasers. 

Full gas racing now from the rest of the break because even though we have 60km to go they don't want to go give Boaro any room. 

Guerreiro has been caught and now  it's just Boaro and Tratnik who lead with 52km to go.

The two leaders have 17 seconds as we start the second of three laps.

24 seconds now for the leaders and the group behind is splitting  up. The problem with such a big group is that the racing situation is so hard to control. So many riders are looking at each other but where are AG2R, who had four riders in the break?

27 seconds for Boaro and Tratnik as we start the second climb with 48km to go.

The main break keep attacking each other and splitting up as we see Swift, Tonelli, two more riders go clear and try and bridge up to Tratnik and Boaro. The  two leaders have 41 seconds though with 42km to go.

It's Swift, Bouchard, Tonelli and Conti  who are at 40 seconds. Ben O'Connor has just attacked from the main group too.

Conti has been dropped so that leaves three chasers as Swift sets the pace. Boaro and Tratnik still  have 30 seconds though on this 3km climb. 

Swift has dropped Bouchard now and Tonelli is hanging on as further up the climb Tratnik is putting Boaro under pressure.

O'Connor has made it to Swift and there are four chasers once more, with the NTT rider with Swift, Bouchard and Tonelli. 

1km from the summit and Tratnik, who looks really good has dropped his Astana companion. 40km to go.

As the gradient Tratnik finally stands on the pedals as we see O'Connor take control of the second group on the road.

Tratnik makes it over the top of the climb and Boaro should make it back to him on the descent. 

Tratnik on the technical as the O'Connor group swells to six with Battaglin making connection. He's a three time stage winner in the Giro so Bahrain are riding well at the moment.

Boaro is 11 seconds behind the lone leader with the next group 30 seconds back with 35km to go.

Tratnik  looks really good at the moment, super smooth in terms of his cadence as we see Boaro start to struggle at 17 seconds. Boaro might be caught by the O'Connor group, which is just 20 seconds behind him. He needs to wait.

Boaro loses a few more seconds as we can confirm that the sixth rider in the chase group is Kamil Malecki (CCC Team). Enrico Battaglin is getting  a totally free ride at the moment, so Bahrain hold all the best cards for now.

Tratnik looks almost robotic as we see that Boaro has  been caught with 27km to go. That gives us seven riders in the chase and they're at 40 seconds as Tratnik is about  to start the final lap.

So many riders and teams will see this as a huge chance missed today as Tratnik moves his advantage out to 47 seconds. Boaro and Enrico Battaglin are not working in the  group behind  with 24.5km to go.

45 seconds and  one climb left so the chase have to hold the gap and then try and make move on the final ascent. Tratnik looks unbeatable right now though.

Swift and his group are slowly coming back and the gap is now at 38 seconds as Traknik starts to climb. It's not done and dusted just yet. And the gap is down to 32 seconds now.

Tratnik finds a bit more speed and that  brings the gap out to 40 seconds. 21km to go.

42 seconds now for the Bahrain McLaren rider with 19km to go. He's heading for the biggest win of his career. The 30-year-old has never won a Grand Tour stage win.

Still 41 seconds for the lone leaded with 16km to go and one major climb.

And now we're onto the final climb and the chasers need to  make a move soon or the win is  gone. 

O'Connor accelerates and Enrico Battaglin shuts it down. 

And now a second move from O'Connor cracks Enrico Battaglin. So we're left with just O'Connor and Swift chasing.  Tratnik is at 26 seconds.

Swift isn't taking a turn, probably because he's on the limit, and the gaps comes down to 22 seconds. O'Connor looks good and Tratnik is starting to suffer.

14km to go and now Swift has cracked. O'Connor has cut the gap to Tratnik to just 14 seconds. 

O'Connor is flying and he can see Tratnik ahead of him. The gap is just 13 seconds.

We still have 1km to until the summit but Tratnik finds a few more seconds so the gap is out to 16 seconds.

But now the gap is down to just 9 seconds. 9 seconds! O'Connor is closing.

Seven seconds as Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry would say - or sing.

O'Connor makes contact at the summit and we've just 13km to go. 

They're going to ride together down the descent and share the efforts as Swift leads the next group on the road. 

O'Connor and Tratnik have 42 seconds according to race radio and with 10km to go thats' a huge amount. 

There is a rise before the finish so that will suit O'Connor but this has been such  a long stage it's hard to call. 

50 seconds for the two leaders with 8km to go, so the winner will come from this pair. 

Back in the peloton and Nibali is moving up and staring in Almeida's direction. Could we see some action from the bunch? Maybe.

6km to go and Tratnik and O'Connor are still working well together but the final 2km have a series of chances to attack. The  rider from NTT can't wait for the sprint.

4km to go and O'Connor looks the stronger of the two but Tratnik cannot be written off.

The road is about to climb in just a moment. 

Tratnik has stopped working.

2km to for the leading  pair and O'Connor still leads as we begin to climb.

Tratnik will not  come through, 1.2km to go.

1km to go. O'Conner leads.

Tratnik accelerates but Tratnik hangs on. And now...

Tratnik comes around the NTT rider. He has a gap as O'Connor crumbles. 

Tratnik is clear and O'Connor can't come back with 300m to go.

Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren) wins stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia.

O'Connor takes second and Battaglin might have got third on the line.

1 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 6:04:36
2 Ben O'Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling 0:0:07
3 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren 0:01:14
4 Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team
5 Ben Swift (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
6 Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale 0:01:21
7 Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
8 Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:25
9 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:33
10 Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:01:37

You can find our  short report, images and results, right here for stage 16. 

That was such a  good ride from Tratnik, who came back after it looked like O'Connor was the strongest. The  Australian rode really well too, but Tratnik remained  so cool in the finish and made a perfectly executed play.

The maglia rosa is still on the road but  the bunch are about to hit the final 2km and we could see attacks. 

Almeida has attacked and Kelderman is on his wheel right away. 

Kelderman has to let him go and the maglia rosa is going  to take time.

Two seconds on the line for Almeida with a neat little attack. The time difference was short but that was a real show of intent.

And here's the new GC:

Lets hear from the maglia rosa:

I was feeling good. Sometimes the best defense is attacking and that's what I did today. I tried, why not - when it's steep like this, everyone's spent energy so I think it was good.Mental game? It's been more and more mental and for sure you need to have the legs. As I said, sometimes the mind is more important.I cannot have any more confidence than this, it's been crazy for me - really good - and I'm realy thankful for my whole team. Let's see how far I can go. I'm confident but I'm ready for the worst. Anything can go wrong I think.

And our stage winner Tratnik:

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