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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 15


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia from Valdengo to Montecampione.

Another day in the mountains before the third and final rest day, with our second summit finish in as many days. The riders are already on the start line this morning with the official roll out in roughly 10 minutes. Race leader Rigoberto Uran is at the front of the peloton with the rest of the competition jersey leaders close by. It's another huge test for Uran, especially after he lost time yesterday.

Here's how the GC currently stands, with Uran losing five seconds to Evans on stage 14. He lost more time to Quintana and Pozzovivo with Majka and Kelderman closing in. It' really becoming an interesting Giro with some of the strongest riders well aware that they need to attack Uran and his team at every opportunity.

And opportunity knocks today with a 225km stage and summit finish at Montecampione. It's a long flat stage all way until the climb. This simplifies tactics to some extent but it could also mean a difficult day for Omega Pharma if their rivals try and send key riders up the road early and into the break.

The climb holds special importance today as well. It's where Pantani and Tonkov fought an epic duel in 1998 with the Italian coming out on top and winning his first grand tour. He of course went on to win the Tour de France a few months later. However his battle with Tonkov, who won the Giro in 96 and was second in 97, was pure theatre. You had two dramatically different styles of riding, crashing together to fight for the same objective - the win - and a battle that pretty much encapsulated everything about cycling in the 1990s.

There will be plenty of time to talk about the 90s and Pantani another time. Right now the peloton are rolling out from the start, 225km ahead of them.

Luca Scinto:

Yesterday we saw Quintana, on the back foot for most of the race so far, finally find his climbing legs. He's crashed, he's been ill but he took the fight to his rivals yesterday and chipped away at Uran's lead with an attack with Pozzovivo. The Movistar leader will have to go on the attack again today, surely. There are a number of mountain stages next week but every chance has to be taken and after Uran lost time yesterday Quintana needs to go again. He's just over three minutes down at the moment but if he can pull it back to two before the rest day he'll do his chances of overall success the world of good. Read the lastest from Quintana

Pozzovivo made the difference wth Quintana yesterday but the Italian was far from happy with how the Movistar leader rode on the final climb.

"He said he was at his limit but he clearly wasn't by the way he jumped me in sight of the line," Pozzovivo said angrily of Quintana, as he wrapped a towel around his neck after crossing the finish line.

Both pint-sized climbers may well need to ride together today. They're both explosive on the climbs and currently look like they can match each other. Any form collaboration may change in the final week if they continue to rise up in GC but we can expect both Movistar and AG2R to force the pace on the final climb today.

The race has gone through the neutralized zone this morning with the peloton together. Omega will decide on who goes in the break again today, just like they did yesterday.

Another rider to watch today is Rolland. He's clearly strong at the moment and went on the attack yesterday with Hesjedal . The peloton won't let him go in an early break, he won't even try, of course. However he could try and attack early on the climb or he has the option of sitting in and trying to follow moves, a slight departure from how he's raced the Giro so far. He's in the top ten now and with every climb he moves further up the GC. He'll need to balance overall ambitions with a hunger to win a stage. You can read about Rolland's Giro here.

209km remaining from 225km

Cunego who won this race a decade ago is the best placed rider on GC. He's currently in 19th place, 10:32 down on Uran. That's not one for Omega to chase to be honest but a few riders sitting in around 12-18th overall might consider pulling this one back.

It looks as though the break might stick as they've pushed out to roughly a minute ahead of the peloton.

It looks as through three more riders are trying to bridge up to the main break.

195km remaining from 225km

One can only imagine what Savio was saying down the radio moments ago but he's got his man in the break and we have 12 riders up the road with a gap just over three minutes. Our delightful dozen are:

Maxime Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (, Andre Fernando Cardoso (Garmin Sharp), Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Simon Geschke (Giant Shiamo), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), Rodolfo Torres (Colombia), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli), and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF)

After Cunego, Cardoso is the next best placed rider on GC. The Garmin rider is at 27:53 and riding his grand tour debut. This is a good move for Garmin though. Cardoso can think about a possible stage win and as a plan B look to Hesjedal on the climb.

190km remaining from 225km

Ratto from Cannondale is the lowest rider on GC in the break. He's at 2:10:25 but the team need to get something from the race. They've seen Basso lose time consistently and Viviani hasn't delivered a sprint win yet.

188km remaining from 225km

Away from the Giro d'Italia:

The gap goes out to 4'30 so the bunch aren't letting the move get too far up the road.

169km remaining from 225km

Stage 19, Cavalese - Plan di Montecampione, 239 kms:

That's from our race report in 1998. You can read it right here.

Rebellin is the only rider from that stage still in the pro peloton. Omega Pharma's DS Bramati was a domestique for Tonkov on that day in 1998.

The break finally draw their advantage over 5 minutes but it's taken a long time, and we've covered the opening 70km of the stage. A reminder of the riders in the break:

Maxime Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (, Andre Fernando Cardoso (Garmin Sharp), Damiano Cunego (Lampre Merida), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Simon Geschke (Giant Shimamo), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), Rodolfo Torres (Colombia), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli), and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF)

At the finish we have blue skies but a few clouds scattered around. The break has covered roughly 80km of racing and are around 20km from the feedzone. Omega have everything under control.

After Uran's TT win a few days ago we dropped in at the Omega team hotel and shot this video about the bike that the team use, the Specialized Shiv TT. You can watch said video, right here. While you can subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel, here.

We've talked about Rolland going the attack but what about 2012 Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal. The Canadian lost a lot of time in the first week, more in the TT too, but he bounced back yesterday and joined Rolland on the attack. We caught up with him at the finish. The Canadian is 12th in GC and you can certainly see him moving into the top ten but he'll need to provide back-to-back performances with another strong ride today.

118km remaining from 225km

The twelve leaders have really had to work for those seven minutes because even if they started the climb with a lead of that margin it might not be enough.

These days Tonkov runs a hotel as far as I understand. In Spain.

100km remaining from 225km

Over in the US nationals are going on and yesterday Taylor Phinney claimed the time trial.

Marco Pinotti ‏@marcopinotti 1m

This time last week Orica were on top of the world but they're now down to three riders in the race, with a week remaining. Mitchell Docker is out with a virus.

Into the final 85km of racing, Omega currently holding the break at 7'30.

The peloton ease up though and the gap is starting to go out. Cunego is almost, almost the leader on the road.

78km remaining from 225km

73km remaining from 225km

The bunch have increased the pace and they've reduced the gap to just over seven minutes.

It's a long flat run towards the finishing climb today, perfect roads for riding tempo and Uran is doing just that as he sits near the front of the peloton with his Omega riders gathered around him.

Astana, Cannondale, and BMC are also near the front at th moment and keeping their respective leaders out of trouble. Paolini, a stage winner and leader of the race last year, currently leads the break and takes a turn before Hansen comes through.

Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo, who dont have a rider in the break are setting the pace at the front of the peloton. Scinto making his team work after their mistake this morning.

A reminder of where we stand on GC coming into the race:

The bunch has really strung out under the pace from Scinto's men. We're still a long way from the climb as the gap to the break drops below seven minutes.

Geniez is right at the back of the peloton at the moment. He's a climber who could try something on the lower slopes of the climb today.

Trek have now put a man on the front to help with the chase. They had a poor day yesterday with Robert Kiserlovski losing time and Arredondo cracking after setting the pace. Arredondo still leads the KOM competition.

At this rate the break could be down to less than four minutes by the time they reach the foot of the final climb. The gap is at 6'36 with 58km to go.

The riders in the break are responding though, drawing out a few more seconds on the bunch as Paolini drops back to the Katusha team car.

There's no let up with the break punching on and the peloton strung out. The gap is holding at around the 6'30 mark but it was around 10 minutes 20km ago.

Scinto has his team on the front yet again. Yes, they missed the break but they also have Matteo Rabottini within four minutes of the top ten.

Into the final 50km of action, the gap is ticking down and is now at 6'18.

Under six minutes and Cunego's shoulders have dropped. He knows that there's little to no chance of making it today.

Ryder Hesjedal is waiting for his team car and calling through on the radio. It doesnt look like a mechanical, just that he wants to have a catch up.

Another minute has come off the break's lead and it's down to five with 41km to go.

35km remaining from 225km

Tinkoff, BMC, Astana, Omega and Movistar, they're all bringing their leaders close to the front of the peloton as we head towards the foot of the climb.

Cardosa grabs a fresh bottle as the tension begins to rise in the main field. Uran, in pink, just sits behind his teammates as Evans and Pozzovivo watch on.

Scinto still has his men on the front drilling the pace. There's no clear tactical reason for it though. Omega are getting a free ride, which I'm sure they'll enjoy.

The gap is down to 3'24 and it's dropping, just like Scinto's popularity in the break.

The pace is so high at the moment and I dont think the break will have more than 2'30 by the time they hit the climb because the GC teams now have to set the pace because we're so close to the finish.

A final reminder of the GC:

And it's Movistar who set the pace as we close in on the climb. Remember you can subscribe to our video channel and catch up on all our Giro videos right here.

It's Amador on the front for Quintana. The Colombian is set for an attack today but who can go with him?

The break see the climb is just around the corner, their lead now down to 2'24 with 20km to go.

And the break are on the lower slopes of the Montecampione. It's all up hill from here.

Adam Hansen is the first ride to make a move from the break.

The Lotto man isn't a bad climber and he's taking a couple of riders with him including Rodriguez and Bouet.

Evans is in second wheel in the peloton.

All the GC riders are well supported as the bunch hit the foot of the climb and it looks like Hansen is clear and on his own. He has 1'20.

And Arredondo with a huge attack. It's very early but that's a massive move.

Out of the saddle, a quick look back and he accelerates again.

He should have Hansen in his sights pretty early on as Pirazzi also has a dig. Europcar are also moving up.

Pirazzi is coming up to Arredondo and he's done it. Hansen is looking pretty good at the moment and he has 1'34 over the KOM leader.

Arredondo has only 10 seconds or so on the peloton. His attack came so early on the climb. Hansen has 1'23 with 16km to go.

The peloton are picking up more and more riders from the early break with AG2R and Movistar, as expected, setting the pace.

Hansen is holding the bunch at 1'22.

Arredondo and Pirazzi are having words at the moment but the fact that they're not gaining much time on Hansen says a lot. Cardoso is catching Hansen, he's even calling for him to wait.

Inside the final 15km and the main favourites are still together, no one from the top ten has cracked so far.

Pirazzi is leaving Arredondo now as Movistar push on at the front of the peloton.

Cardoso has caught Hansen and they have a minute on the next riders on the road. The peloton is at 1'20.

Arredondo is with Zardini not Pirazzi, sorry.

Interesting move as Sanchez goes ahead of the field for BMC.

Cardoso looks fresher than Hansen but Arredondo, Zardini and Barbin are coming up to them. The gap at 54 seconds as Cunego is caught and passed by the KOM.

Arredondo is sitting for now as Sanchez now set the pace for the maglia rosa group.

Basso, Uran, Evans, Pozzovivo, Kelderman, Majka, they're all there.

Torres and Felline have made it to the leading pair so we now have four riders in the lead group. Sanchez continues to set the pace, two Omega riders just behind him and there's Rolland. The maglia rosa group is down to less than 30 men as Bouet is caught. Felline is dropped/waiting for Arredondo.

So Cardoso, Hansen and Torres lead the race with the Arredondo group at 37 seconds, the peloton at 50 seconds.

13km to go and Cardoso has attacked but Hansen and Torres have come back.

The main three groups are within a minute of each other. And Felline makes it back to the lead group and attacks straight away.

And now it's Cardoso who attacks and Hansen is coming back to him.

Felline and Torres have slipped back. For now.

Arredondo is at 22 seconds down on the leaders as Omega set the pace for Uran now, Sanchez has done his work for the day.

The maglia rosa group is down to around 20 riders now.

So many groups are close so we could see more attacks from the maglia rosa group.

Felline is with Arredondo and sets the pace for his climbing teammate. Cunego has been caught by the peloton.

Rolland is in third wheel at the moment. How long before he makes a move?

Hansen is dropped as Felline leads Cardoso and Arredondo. 11.3 km to go.

Zardini is trying to catch the leaders who have just 17 seconds on the peloton or what's left of it.

Deignan is in the peloton for Sky. and now it's just Arredondo and Cardoso at the front of the race, Felline having sat up.

Uran just sits on Rolland's wheel as Geniez cracks.

The two leaders have 23 seconds on the pink jersey.

Uran, then Quintana, then Evans all the GC favourites are still there.

Arredondo is doing all the work in front with Zardini caught between the leaders and the bunch. Rolland is itching to attack. Pozzovivo looks ready too.

We have 10km to go until the summit and the finish of the stage. It's wide open for the win and the GC though as Omega set the pace. Uran has one or two teammates left. Basso is in the maglia rosa group, Geniez has made it back too. The two leaders have 25 seconds on the peloton.

Brambilla is doing the work for Uran at the moment and Deignan has attacked.

Rogers sets the pace now for the bunch.

The Sky rider has a small gap on the peloton and he passes Zardini.

Out of the saddle, now he chases the two leaders who are at 15 seconds.

It looks like the leading pair are slowing as well and Deignan is with them. He attacks right away. What a move from the Irish climber.

Cardoso and Arredondo have been caught with Rogers setting the pace for Majka. Deignan now leads the race on his own.

Deignan has won a stage in a grand tour before but his lead doesnt' look great at the moment it's at about 5 seconds with Arredondo now setting the pace for the maglia rosa group.

Hesjedal and Basso are being dropped.

Both riders are a few lengths off the bike. Hesjedal is losing ground quickly here as Cardoso waits for him.

The maglia rosa group is down to less than a dozen riders and Arredondo cracks too.

Deignan still leads but the gap isn't huge as Rogers sets the pace for Majka who is in second wheel.

Rogers is the only domestique left I think. The rest of the GC riders are isolated.

Deignan has 17 seconds with 7.6km to go.

Evans has one teammate in the group actually as Rogers continues on the front. Moreno, Aru, Pozzovivo, Duarte, Kelderman, Majka, Uran are all there still. Deignan has 20 seconds now.

Uran has no teammates with him. He's sitting in the middle of the maglia rosa group with Rogers on the front. Hesjedal and Basso make it back.

Majka looks really, really strong at the moment Uran doesnt look as fresh it has to be said.

Deignan presses on, his lead still around the 15 second mark with over 5km to go. He gets out of the saddle again as the road rises once more.

Rogers continues on the front, Uran has Evans on his wheel.

Basso is dropped once more.

Less than a dozen riders in the Uran group, with Deignan now at 22 seconds. Can the Irishman hang on?

And Rolland attacks.

And Uran goes too and Evans goes with him.

Evans loses a bit of ground but is hanging in there.

The leaders ease up but now Evans attacks.

It's matched by  the others as the group comes back together.

Rolland goes again and this time Uran doesn't chase.

Rolland opens up a huge gap already and he's closing in on Deignan.

Moreno, Pellizotti have gone but so does Quintana.

Hesjedal, Majka, Kelderman, Uran, Aru, Pozzovivo together as Rolland contines to chase Deignan.

The Sky rider still leads but Rolland is with him now. Can Deignan hang on?

They link up and start working together.

Duarte is clear of the maglia rosa group as well. The main favourites are just watching each other.

3km to go and Evans has his last man on the front to set the pace.

Ten riders in the maglia rosa group.

Rolland and Deignan have 36 seconds as Aru attacks.

Uran and Evans chase and so does Quintana and the others.

Evans is losing ground and Aru and Uran are going clear.

Where is Majka, Evans and Pozzovivo and Quintana?

Pozzovivo has been dropped.

Deignan is dropped and now Rolland is leading with Aru, and Uran, then Quintana who has attacked. Evans is on the back foot.

At the front we have Aru, Uran, Quintana and Duarte.

Aru is setting the pace and he's gone clear, dropping Rolland, Uran and Quintana.

Evans is losing more and more time and Aru has 2km to go and he's clear of the field.

And now Quitana has attacked.

He takes Rolland with him and they have a gap on Uran.

Quintana is chasing Aru with Rolland with him. Duarte and Uran and together. Evans is giving it everything but he's not coming back.

And now Duarte drops Uran. The race leader is in trouble too.

1km to go Aru leads the race with Quintana and Rolland chasing. Then Duarte, then Uran and then the Evans group.

Aru has around ten seconds at the moment and he has just 1km to go. He riding into a podium place at the moment.

Uran is on his own but he's coming back to Duarte.

Uran is only a few seconds behind but Quintana has attacked again.

Hesjedal has made it to the Evans group.

Aru is closing in on the win as Rolland and Quintana drop Duarte.

The Colombia rider has fought back. Uran isnt' too far behind either.

Quintana leads the chase but Aru is going to take this. He has just 200m to go.

Around the final corner and Aru takes the win.

Duarte is second, then Quintana and Rolland.

Here comes Uran, he loses around 15 seconds on Quintana.

Majka comes over the line now and Hesjedal leads a group over the line that includes Evans, and Pozzovivo.

It was such a strong ride from Aru. He took the race apart on the climb with a number of attacks. He's moved himself right into the GC battle having been at 3:16 at the start of the day.

Evans loses 1'13 to Aru and 22 second to Uran. The BMC rider made a couple of moves but he couldn't live with the pace of the pure climbers when they started to accelerate. Uran holds on though after being isolated on the climb. He followed the first move from Rolland, and then one move from Quintana.

Uran now leads Evans by 1'03, Majka at 1'50 and Aru moving  up to fourth at 2'24.

Here are today's top ten:

And here's the top ten after today:

So Pozzovio and Kelderman lose time, and drop a couple of places each as Quintana and Aru march on. Rollland moves up one place to eighth and Hesjedal is likely to have moved up a place to 11th.

A mixed day for Uran. He puts time in Evans and a number of rivals but Quintana is getting closer and Aru moves into the mix as well. The Giro d'Italia is really taking shape with a week to go.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our results, report, and images right here.

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