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Giro d'Italia stage 15 – Live coverage


Hello and welcome to our live race coverage from stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia. 

This is down as one of those 'intermediate' stages but honestly it could go in so many different directions. The smart money is on another breakaway and a relatively easy day for the GC riders given what happened yesterday and what's to come in the mountains tomorrow. But this is the Giro, and anything can happen. We're about 30 mins from the start of today's stage. 

Here's how the overall standings look heading into today's action.

Here's what journalist Peter Cossins had to say about today's stage:

This intriguing-looking stage is squeezed in between two days in the high mountains, which should mean a breakaway will go the distance, although it’s not as clear cut as that. It takes place in the Collio region between Friuli and Slovenia. Apart from one small hill, the opening 60 kilometres are pan flat, but as the race approaches Slovenia it enters a 31km circuit covered twice that will suit punchy climbers, but doesn’t completely count out the chances of sprinters like Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who can easily cope with short ascents like these.

The circuit begins with a fourth-category climb to Gornje Cerovo (2.5km long and averaging 7 per cent), the road continuing to roll beyond it for another 15km, when the riders will return to Italian soil for a dozen or so kilometres that are flat. These lead into the second ascent into Gornje Cerovo and another full lap of the circuit.

Following the third passage up to Gornje Cerovo, the route turns eastwards, briefly entering the finish town on Gorizia, which sits right on the border between the two nations, then jumps across to Slovenia one last time for the second intermediate sprint at Novi Gorica. There’s a final climb, short but steep, which tops out about 3km from the finish line, which is sure to be used by punchy riders who are in the break or, if it’s all come back together, the bunch as a springboard for an attack.

Peter is right, this does look perfect for Sagan. And one of his main rivals has gone home this morning with Nizzolo leaving the race. Today looked perfect for him but perhaps he's cooked. Here's the news on the Italian road champion - who also won a stage earlier in the race.

VERONA ITALY MAY 21 Giacomo Nizzolo of Italy and Team Qhubeka Assos celebrates at arrival during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 13 a 198km stage from Ravenna to Verona girodiitalia Giro UCIworldtour on May 21 2021 in Verona Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

It's a short stage, especially by Giro standards - just 147km between Grado and Gorizia but it's going to be frantic. There have been some days when it's taken around 100km for a break to form. My guess is that Bora want a break to go early but they want it to be small and they want to keep them at 2-3 minutes for most of the stage. Not every team is going to want to play by Bora's rules, however. Should be fascinating opening hour or action. 

We saw some significant gaps on the Zoncolan yesterday, especially after Yates and then Bernal attacked. For a GC analysis piece, click here.

MONTE ZONCOLAN ITALY MAY 22 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers Pink Leader Jersey Simon Yates of United Kingdom and Team BikeExchange at Monte Zoncolan 1730m during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 14 a 205km stage from Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan 1730m Snow UCIworldtour girodiitalia Giro on May 22 2021 in Monte Zoncolan Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

While over at Procycling magazine, dep ed Sophie Hurcom has written this excellent piece on the strength in depth at Ineos Grenadiers. 

Ineos Grenadiers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We're about 15 minutes from the official roll out.

This might be the coolest thing that happened yesterday. Having 'favourites' in pro cycling, when you're a journalist is a very dangerous game but this sort of behaviour is admirable through and through. 

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Away from the Giro, this was the best bit of action in the sport yesterday:

Uttrup Ludwig: 'Finally!' secures first WorldTour victory at Vuelta a Burgos

OJO GUAREA SPAIN MAY 22 Cecilie Uttrup of Ludwig Denmark and Team FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope celebrates at podium during the 6th Vuelta A Burgos Feminas 2021 Stage 3 a 1154km stage from Medina de Pomar to Complejo Krstico de Ojo Guarea 768m VueltaBurgos BurgosFem UCIWWT on May 22 2021 in Ojo Guarea Spain Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here's what yesterday's surprise stage winner Lorenzo Fortunato had to say after his victory.

"Ivan took me to one side this morning in the team bus, told me to go in the break, get onto the Zoncolan and win, and that's what I did," Fortunato said. "I think he believed in me more than I did.

"I watched Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) the closest in the break, but then after Tratnik went for it, I tried to bridge across."

"After I dropped him, though, it was so hard it felt like the finish line was never going to appear."

The full story is here.

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Attacks right away and it's Qhubeka Assos who are attacking from the gun. 

145km to go and there's a huge group up the road but there's a huge crash. 

A massive pile up in the middle of the field.

They're neutralizing the race!

They're telling the riders in the break to sit up, and they're not happy. 

There are maybe 4-5 riders still on the deck but this is chaotic scenes. 

There were over a dozen riders up the road but they're being ordered to wait. 

Buchmann is down. 

He's on his feet and he's being checked over by the medical team but this isn't great news at all for the German or his team. 

Emanuel Buchmann was 6th overall at 2'36 but his race is in the balance after that fall. 

It looked lie the crash was right near the front of the peloton when it happened.  Jos van Emden were among those that also fell. The peloton have been told to stop now. The race has stopped. 

The break and the peloton are back together but still stood by the side of the road as several riders receive medical treatment. 

Just on the conditions, there's a lot of wind around and that crash took place on a tight stretch of road. Right now the bunch are stood on the road and waiting. 

Still no confirmation or news on Buchmann. 

It looks like we're rolling again, albeit slowly. 

No, no. Riders are just making way for medical cars to leave the scene.

There was clearly concerns from RCS over safety so this was the right call. We're seeing more and more riders with torn jerseys and medical teams on the scene. Riders in the break will not have seen the fall but they can't be blamed for their frustration either. 

Gallopin has blood all over his left leg and now a stretcher has been wheeled out for another rider.

Ruben Guerreiro is standing. They've brought the stretcher for him it seems but now he's getting back on his bike. 

Confirmed that Buchmann has abandoned the Giro d'Italia. That's brutal news for him and his team. He was sitting 6th overall coming into the stage and looked like a really good shout for the podium in Milan. 

Here's our developing story on the crash and this morning's neutralization of the stage.

Lots of bike changes right now and still riders being checked out by medical staff. 

Van Emden and Berhane have also abandoned the race. 

The race has been stopped for about 15-20 minutes but we are finally rolling again. Slowly of course. 

Totally the right call for the organisers to stop the stage. The location of the fall, and the numbers involved meant that they had little choice. Still, the right call was made. 

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Sagan near the front right now and taking to several of his colleagues. The stretch of road where the fall took place was similar to the Passage du Gois fall from the 99 Tour. 

And we're racing and Peter Sagan is one of the riders who tries to sprint clear.

Racing has been restarted.

We have 138km to go on stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia.

A lot of riders in the bunch want to sit up almost immediately but we have two groups clear for now.

15, maybe 20 riders up the road now but there are few more trying to bridge across. 

Catald, Mollema and Campenaerts are among the riders up the road with 131km to go.

More action from the bunch so this isn't the break of the day. Not yet anyway. 

131km to go

1'15 for the Mollema group with a few chasers at 43 seconds with 131km to go.

The gap is holding at 1'26 but the peloton haven't sat up yet.

Ruben Guerreiro who fell earlier is off the back of the peloton.

Ineos Grenadiers move to the front of the main field as they look to keep Bernal well placed. There are enough committed riders in the break to make this work but the gap is still 1'29.

There are cross-winds now. The peloton could splinter very soon.

Sebastien Reichenbach is back with the medical car for some treatment as the break move out to 1'45 ahead.

We have 14 riders in the break and then a group of four chasing. 

122km to go

Dries De Bondt, Oscar Riesebeek, Simone Consonni, Lars Van den Berg, Quinten Hermans, Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke, Dario Cataldo, Albert Torres, Nikias Arndt, Victor Campenaerts, Maximilian Walscheid, Lukasz Wisniowski, Bauke Mollema, Juan Sebastian Molano, Alexis Gougeard, Filippo Tagliani, Andrea Pasqualon and Matteo Jorgenson are the riders up the road. They have 3'09 over the peloton with 122km to go.

Ruben Guerreiro has abandoned the Giro d'Italia.

Almost five minutes now for the 18 leaders up the road. 

Everyone is committed to the break, there are no passengers at this point, while back in the bunch Sagan and his team are content to just tap out a gentle pace. 

Up to seven minutes for the 18 rider break. 112km to go.

That's brought Ineos to the front to line out the front of the peloton with Bernal neatly tucked in. Up ahead and it's 15 not 18 riders, we have Dries De Bondt, Oscar Riesebeek, Simone Consonni, Lars Van den Berg, Quinten Hermans, Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke, Dario Cataldo, Albert Torres, Nikias Arndt, Victor Campenaerts, Maximilian Walscheid, Lukasz Wisniowski, Bauke Mollema, Juan Sebastian Molano. 

The four chasers haven't made contact. 

The break are on an unclassified climb and the peloton are at 8'08. The situation is a lot calmer than it was about an hour ago, that's for certain. 

Here's our updated story on Buchmann.

MONTE ZONCOLAN ITALY MAY 22 Emanuel Buchmann of Germany and Team Bora Hansgrohe during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 14 a 205km stage from Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan 1730m UCIworldtour girodiitalia Giro on May 22 2021 in Monte Zoncolan Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ineos will not mind if a break takes the stage today so it's really on teams like Bora to chase but given how many riders are up the road they won't want to chase on their own. 

The gap has moved out to 9'17 with 103km to go.

97km to go

Inside the final 100km of the stage and the break have built a lead of 9'37. Unless there's a drastic intervention from the peloton the stage will be decided by the riders up the road.

Away from the world of WorldTour road racing we've had some gravel action over in the US with the Gravel Locos race in Texas taking place. Laurens ten Dam won the men's race while Emily Newsom won the women's race by almost 20 minutes. Click on links for reports and results. 

Laurens ten Dam

(Image credit: Laurens ten Dam)

EF on Guerreiro:  He will undergo further medical assessment for pain to his ribs.

10'43 now for the break as we head towards the final 85km of the stage. 

The GC teams will appreciate the gentle pace at the moment because tomorrow is going to be a brute but there's been a change and BikeExchange have moved into second position just behind the Ineos train. 

The peloton has lined out slightly as Ganna sits on the front and just gobbles up the kilometers. 

Out to 11'15 now for the break. A reminder of who is in the break:

Dries De Bondt, Oscar Riesebeek, Simone Consonni, Lars Van den Berg, Quinten Hermans, Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke, Dario Cataldo, Albert Torres, Nikias Arndt, Victor Campenaerts, Maximilian Walscheid, Lukasz Wisniowski, Bauke Mollema, and Juan Sebastian Molano. 

The break are on the fourth cat climb for the first time and they're doing more than enough to hold onto their 11'30 lead over the peloton. 80km to go. 

The riders do this climb three time today and even though it's a fourth cat ascent it's still steep as we see the break line out. 

Harm Vanhoucke, who is one of just three Lotto Soudal riders left in the race, is setting the pace as the peloton drift to 11'39.

Mollema kicks out as he wants the 3 points for the KOM but it's De Bondt who is first. Mollema was third. If Mollema wanted the KOM jersey then surely tomorrow would be the day to go for it. First and foremost he wants a stage in this year's race and for the second day in a row he's in the break.

Back in the bunch and Moscon and Ganna are sharing the pace with Bernal being well looked after. He's looked so comfortable in the race so far.

11'55 now for the break with 77km to go as the peloton head towards the foot of the climb for the first time.

Here's our story on George Bennett climbing the Zoncolan twice yesterday. 

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 9th stage Castel di Sangro - Campo Felice (Rocca di Cambio) 158 km - 16/05/2021 - George Bennett (NZL - Jumbo - Visma) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Ganna on the front and tapping out a decent pace for Ineos. 74km to go. We've got huge crowds on either side of the road as well with the gap at 11'47.

Even though we're over the classified climb the road drops down but then rises again for another few kilometers. 70km to go.

Yates and his teammates continue to save their powder and follow the Ineos train on the climb. The Australian team are now Bernal's main challenger in the race after what happened on the Zoncolan but today they'll just wait and save their resources for the all-important climbing we'll see on stage 16. 

Jonathan Castroviejo loses his cool in the feedzone and slams a gel onto the tarmac. Must have been some kind of mix up there.

Mollema has dropped back to the car, not for food but for a chit chat with his DS. No teammates today for the Dutchman but he's one of the best climbers in this group but today's ascent is pretty punchy rather than long and steady. He's won Lombardy though so can't be ruled out in the slightest. 

56km to go and the gap is down to 11'06. So the winner will obviously come from the break as we see Ineos remain on the front of the peloton.

A reminder of the GC heading into the stage, although we have lost Buchmann:

Puccio and Ganna continue to trade turns on the front of the main field with 53km to go and the gap at 11'05.

Dan Martin slips his chain and is forced to stop. He should be fine coming back though. 

50km to go now and the break are at 10'51. The leaders are on the climb for a second time. 

Qhubeka Assos are setting the pace on the climb and with three riders in the break the onus is on them right now to try and split the break in the closing stages. 

There are some dark clouds hanging over head at the moment but the roads have remained dry so far.

After the neutralization earlier in the race and the fight for the break this has been a relatively calm day of the peloton. They still have one more climb and 44km to go though. 

Campenaerts is at the front now and he's looking around. You can bet that he's going to either attack or follow moves once the break starts to fragment. 

12'21 for the leaders with 40km to go.

No missed turns from the riders in the break at this point but next time up the climb we're likely to see a volley of attacks. Some riders might even try and go before the climb.

At the front it's still all Ineos and that will remain all the way until the finish but with 31km to go we have our first attack from the break. Campenaerts marks the move.

And the Belgian keeps the pace up but it comes back together. 

Walscheid is the next rider to try and move clear with 28km to go.

A reminder of the riders in the break:

Dries De Bondt, Oscar Riesebeek, Simone Consonni, Lars Van den Berg, Quinten Hermans, Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke, Dario Cataldo, Albert Torres, Nikias Arndt, Victor Campenaerts, Maximilian Walscheid, Lukasz Wisniowski, Bauke Mollema, and Juan Sebastian Molano. 


De Bondt is at the back and he's marking a rider from Assos, he's really waiting for that final ascent though as we see Mollema drift back as well.

Some discussions at the back of the group and we've some unhappy riders. The gap is so big that they can afford to mess around but Victor is not a happy bunny.  

Yet another attack from Alpecin Fenix as we hit the final 23km of the stage.

Tactics are going to decide today's stage as we see a few spots of rain start to fall. 

Campenaerts is right at the back of the group. And he attacks. 

Everyone could see him coming because the move came from so far back but he has a gap with two more riders. 

Riesebeek and Torres have joined the Belgian and the gap is about 10 seconds with 21km to go.

The rain is really heavy and we finish on cobbles today. 20km to go.

The three leaders have 12 seconds now with 18km to go. This could work if the chasers don't commit.

Riesebeek, Campenaerts, and Torres are all committing to this move as they hit the slopes of the final climb. The gap is now at 23 seconds. 

30 seconds now for Riesebeek, Campenaerts, and Torres. 

Cataldo is leading the chase but he has a teammate up the road. He's trying to force a reaction as the gap drifts out to 32 seconds. 

Campenaerts is doing all the work right now in the three man break as we see Hermans attack from the second group. He's marked by De Bondt. 29 seconds now is the gap.

Campernaerts has to be careful that he doesn't get worked over but he's really hurting the other two riders at the moment.

16km to go and the gap is 22 seconds as Mollema goes after Hermans. 

Torres is in trouble and he's been dropped just at the top.

Now it's just Riesebeek and Campenaerts as Cataldo is forced to make a move. We have two leaders with a small gap on Torres but it's all Campenaerts on the front. Riesebeek has been really smart. 

Torrential rain now and the headlights are on in the cars as Riesebeek takes a turn. Torres is going backwards with the rest of the break at 28 seconds. 

32 seconds for the two leaders with 13km to go. 

Arndt and Hermans are the chase group on the road at 29 seconds as we see Mollema and a few more latch on. It's still Riesebeek and Campenaerts off the front though. 

Both Cataldo and Torres are in the second group.

A short descent and Riesebeek is losing ground. 

Riesebeek has made it back with just 8.8km to go. The gap is at 26 seconds.

It's 21 seconds, so it's coming down... 7.3km to go.

The leaders are working but now it's 15 seconds. 

They're now looking at each other... this is going to be really close.

16 seconds so they're just about holding it together. 

Around seven riders are chasing. 6km to go.

19 seconds so the gap is going back out. 

Riesebeek has a little dig with 5.3km to go.

The gap is closed but the gap is back down to 15 seconds with 4.8km to go.

The leaders will make it if they hold their nerve and don't mess around. 14 seconds with 4.1km to go.

Movistar have both their riders on the front and it's up to Cataldo do something special and Riesebeek goes again with 3.8km to go. The gap is closed again.

Torres has been dropped.

The road climbs again one last time. The gap is at 20 seconds with 3km to go. 

Riesebeek attacks but then Campenaerts goes over the top. 2.9km to go.

Now Mollema attacks with the gap at 13 seconds. It might be too late.

Riesebeek still has a gap to close on the descent to the finish. 

It's about 30m for Riesebeek to close.

1.8km to go and Riesebeek is coming back.

Campenaerts goes again with 1.5km to go. 

Riesebeek has closed the gap with 1km to go. He'll keep Campenaerts on the front for as long as he wants. 

Campenaerts will have to lead this one out but they slow down and the gap is only 22 seconds. 

We're onto the cobbles.

500m to go and Campenaerts leads.

Riesebeek opens from a long way out.

Way too soon and Campenaerts track the move. 

Victor Campenaerts wins stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia.

That's a first Grand Tour stage win for the Hour Record holder.

Campenaerts had that in the bag with about 50m to go. He made that look easy in the end.

Still waiting for the main field as we see Ineos leading them home.

And Ganna leads the maglia rosa group home, over 17 minutes down on the stage winner. 

Lets hear from today's winner:

"It’s fantastic. I think that with the team we have here, at breakfast we asked what else could we do to make this Giro ever better for the team. Two victories was amazing, three is epic. We went all in for today as it was the last chance for the team that we have here. At the start we gave it everything. It was quite dramatic with the crashes and I hope all the guys are fine. We were already away but we did the same thing with three guys in the break."

You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 15th stage Grado - Gorizia 147 km - 22/05/2021 - Victor Campenaerts (BEL - Team Qhubeka Assos) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

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