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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 16


Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia.

A brief bit of news for you is that Team Sky's Edvald Boasson is a non-starter.

There have been climbs in the previous Giro d'Italia stages, but on stage 16 things suddenly get serious, as the peloton will take on the Gavia and Stelvio before finishing atop Val Martello. At only 139 kilometers it is the race's second shortest road stage, but possibly the most difficult – “a day for the sprinters to hold on for dear life.”

Almost immediately after the start, the field will face the Passo di Gavia, one of the most legendary climbs in the Giro. It tops out only 22 km into the day.

You can watch our video preview of the stage, right here.

Rain at the start this morning, so all the riders are wrapped up for the start. Not too many smiling faces as one might expect given the stage that the peloton are facing. There are reports of snow at the top of the Stelvio but all indications so far are that the stage will go ahead as planned.

Heading into today's stage, here's how things currently stand in GC:

It not just the climbing, the weather and the competition that the riders have to face up to today. They have two weeks of racing in their legs and on top of that riders never really know how their legs will respond after a rest day. Some react better than others but there's no gentle warm up with Gavia coming early on in the stage. There's a short descent to the foot of the climb and then it's straight up. Given that Gilberto Simoni once said 'It's one of those climbs that when you arrive at the bottom of it you don’t know if you'll make it to the top," it's going to be a massive early challenge.

Team Sky has issued a press release on Boasson Hagen:

"Edvald has been experiencing rib and back pain over the last couple of days, and with the cuts and bruises he's already sustained, the medical team felt the best decision was for him to withdraw from the race at this point.

And the peloton are all on the start line. The jersey competition leaders are all on the front, a few feet away from the rest of the bunch. Majka is having a quick pre-race snack, as behind him Michael Rogers is a picture of concentration. Either that or he's asleep. No, he's moving, he's awake.

A Tinkoff teammate eases up to Majka for a quick word as Uran turns around to face the peloton.

Petacchi comes forward to talk to Uran as Bouhanni looks rather more relaxed as he chats with the RCS podium girl next to him.

Uran is deep in conversation with Petacchi at the moment. He certainly doesnt look happy about something and now the race leader begins to talk to a Tinkoff rider.

Now Uran is talking to Arredondo. It's just body language we're going off but Uran is shaking his head about something. Perhaps he just wants to get this stage started. It's certainly a massive day for him in his career.

And they've started, the peloton have rolled out on stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia.

Rain, clouds, possibly snow later on.... this could be an epic day in the Giro d'Italia.

The bunch make it through the neutralized zone and now they're onto the descent towards the foot of the Gavia. Today could prove to be a tactical battle with the make-up of the break all important.

The rain is holding off at the moment, so some encouraging news for the peloton at least. Omega Pharma are currently on the front and setting the pace, the Gavia just a few kms away.

Onto the lower slopes of the Gavia. No snow, no rain but it's almost freezing as the peloton bunch together. One rider who didnt want cold today was Pozzovivo. The Italian climber has been suffering with illness over the last few days and lost time to some of his rivals on stage 15. He needs to bounce back today if he wants to hold onto his hopes of winning the race. You can find out about Pozzovivo's rest day and his thoughts on GC, right here.

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No attacks yet. The bunch still warming up it seems. Who can blame them to be honest.

10km into the stage and still no attacks from the peloton.

Italy are going nuts for Fabio Aru. RAI have just shown a two minute long montage of his attack from stage 15 and they're quickly talking up his chances of overall victory. He's certainly strong, and getting stronger and sits 4th at 2:24. Gazzetta feel that the race is a three-horse race between Uran, Quintana and Aru, despite Evans currently still in second place.

Movistar currently setting the pace and it's already too hot for a number of riders who are being distanced.

121km remaining from 139km

Omega Pharma are just sitting in at the moment and holding back as Movistar take the race by the scruff of the neck. The onus is on the Spanish team to put pressure on the race leader and they're certainly doing that early on in the stage but how many teammates will Quintana have and need on the final climb? Conditions wise, no snow, no rain, but there's plenty of mist and cloud around.

We're just hitting the hardest part of the Gavia with stretches close to 10 per cent. Chalapud has 30 seconds on the peloton at the moment.

The visibility is becoming worse and worse as Chalapud rides through the mist. Movistar still occupy the front of the peloton.

118km remaining from 139km

It's snowing on the Stelvio we hear as the maglia rosa group continue to lose riders. Those off the back will need to chase on the descent because the time limit could be a real issue today.

Chalapud rides along side the huge snow banks on the side of the road as he pushes on. It's not the prettiest climbing style as rocks from side to side but it's doing the job. It looks like another attack from the bunch and it's Arredondo who leads the KOM competition.

A ride from the Colombia team matches Arredondo who only has a small gap on the peloton. We've still a long way to go before we hit the summit of the climb.

It's Pantano who has gone with Arredondo. It's hard to pick out riders in the mist and all those rain jackets on.

The gradient ramps up again and Chalapud who is 1:38:56 down on GC grinds his way to the top of the climb. We've not had a time gap for a while but it's probably under a minute at the moment.

There's a rider from Katusha coming up to the Arredondo and Pantano group. Is that Losada?

Chalapud goes over the top of the climb as Arredondo pushes on in a bid to consolidate his position in the KOM competition.

Arrendondo takes second on the climb, with Pantano third. Next ahead is a very dangerous descent with wet roads and the threat of ice and snow.

No risks for Chalapud as he makes sure he's got enough clothing on. The two riders behind him are doing the same but there's no sign of the peloton cresting the top of the climb yet.

A quick reminder that you can catch up on all our Giro d'Italia videos right here. You can also subscribe to our video channel, there as well.

Before his attack Arredondo was deep in conversation with Quintana, perhaps regarding the pace of the Movistar team on the climb. The rain is coming down now as Chalapud pushes on. No risks but he's cutting through the corners well at the moment.

Further up the descent Arredondo has a very small gap on Pantano but it's more for safety than anything else. The peloton will probably take the descent easy, allowing for a number of riders to regain contact after the climb.

Patrick Lefevere is taking to Twitter to complain about the stage conditions. Can't remember if he did the same in Spa a few years ago in the Tour de France when Chavanel won the stage and took yellow but every day is different in cycling.

A few television stations are talking about the stage being called off or rather speculating as to whether it should happen. For now the race is on and the break, and the peloton are on the descent of the Gavia.

The rain is coming down even more and there's more snow on the Stelvio although it's clear at the top of the climb. The riders have 100km to go.

Roughly half of the descent still to come before the riders take on the Passo dello Stelvio

Riders are all over the place at the moment with Evans and Pozzovivo in a group that appears to be distant from the peloton.

We think that Basso has been dropped on the last climb and is really suffering on the cold conditions.

Not confirmed yet but we think that Evans and Pozzovivo are currently a minute down on the Uran group.

Franco Pellizotti has atttacked though and is off the front of the peloton.

Crikey Cadel ‏@CrikeyCadel 3m

That's a man dressed as a crocodile yet he makes more sense than most on Twitter. Says it all, really. Swift and one rider have linked up on the descent and are also clear of the peloton.

Poor visibility but it looks like Pellizotti is now leading the race.

We're still waiting to hear if that group containing Evans and Pozzovivo were dropped or ahead of the maglia rosa group.

Pellizotti currently has 1'15 over the maglia rosa group but an AG2R rider is about to join him. In fact there are now four riders in the lead with Cataldo being one of them.

89km remaining from 139km

The three leaders are now on the lower slopes of the Stelvio with 86km to go. It looks like Evans is now in the maglia rosa group but it looks like he's coming back to them rather than they're catching him. Movistar are on the front of the maglia rosa group.

The peloton is all over the road though, groups everywhere and it's become total chaos.

Cataldo is now on the front for the break at the head of the race. There are six chasers behind that trio, and they include Kiserlovski who is 9th on GC. Then we have the maglia rosa group with Uran in the middle, currently taking off his gloves so that they can be changed/warmed up for the next descent after the Stelvio.

The three leaders currently have 2'38 over the maglia rosa group. That's our first time check since the summit of the Gavia.

As back with the maglia rosa group Movistar assume control with six riders on the front and Quintana tucked in from the wind. Evans has two men with him, AG2R are represented but it's hard to pick out the Omega riders.

Dupont is in the second group so Pozzovivo has a man in each of the two groups up the road.

The two leading groups have now merged and we'll bring you a full list of the riders as soon as we can.

Rabottini has now attacked from the peloton, which is down to less than 50 riders.

It's just brutal out there today and we've still got 85km to go. There will be plenty of debate later on about the conditions, should they race but that can wait until after the race. We'll just bring you updates on what's actually happening for now.

Cataldo continues to set the pace, the maglia rosa group are now at 2;35 and Aru has a few teammates still with him.

Kiserlovski is taking a turn on the front. A big gamble for him to be in this move but he's rolling the dice that's for sure. He's currently ninth on GC.

The lead group consists of Pellizotti, Cataldo, Vuillermoz, Chalapud, Rosa, Kiserlovski, Niemiec, Dupont & Pantano.

Quintana has four men left. It will be interesting to see how many he has on the final climb. Uran still has a few teammates but Evans and BMC have been scattered. The Australian is in the maglia rosa group but he's near the back at the moment.

Geniez by the way is 1'43 down on the break with the bunch at 2'48.

Quintana takes off his jacket as Rolland moves up. It looks like the Europcar rider has just one man left. Tinkoff have at least four riders in the maglia rosa group.

Evans has moved back up towards the front of the main group, just tucked in along with Quintana behind the Movistar train.

Geniez is climbing well and he's within 36 seconds of the lead group.

BMC are losing two riders off the back and Agnoli is also slipping too. Sky have a couple of riders near the back of the field but the race is splitting up even more.

77km remaining from 139km

There are less than 30 riders in the maglia rosa group.

Interesting move from Rolland who puts his last man on the front and then moves into second wheel.

Geniez has now made contact and moved right to the front of the break as Movistar follow Europcar.

The leaders, now up to 10 press on but they've still a way to go before they reach the summit of the climb. No snow for now but the rain continues to fall as the peloton now start to line out in single file.

75km remaining from 139km

75km remaining from 139km

Nicolas Roche on the front of the peloton. He's got his arm warmers rolled right down, obviously not feeling the cold weather. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider well used to the cold conditions riding in Ireland. His efforts have brought the gap down to just over a minute.

The leaders only have around a minute though as Tinkoff now set the pace at the front of the maglia rosa group.

Hesjedal is still in the magalia rosa group but it's hard to pick out Uran and his teammates. I think the race leader might just have one or two men left with him.

News crackles through on race radio and racing might be neutralized on the descent.

The ten man move now just have 20 seconds on the peloton.

The gap to the break is down to just ten seconds.

According to race radio riders will stay on their bikes but will be lead down the descent. Roche sets the pace but up ahead Cataldo has attacked from the break and now the snow begins to fall.

Brutal conditions but how will the organisers handle Cataldo's attack? He doesnt want to sit up and wait.

Could this be a really smart and opportunist move from the Team Sky rider?

71km remaining from 139km

Deignan is hanging on at the back of the peloton, or rather what's left of it, as his teammate Cataldo leads the race. There's still a chasing group of around 5 riders clear of the bunch between Cataldo and the maglia rosa group but they only have a few seconds.

Here's our preview of today's stage and profile.

Cataldo is less than 1km to go until the summit, which will mark the highest point in the Giro d'Italia.

The Cima Coppi is taken by Cataldo this year. That's 40 points in the KOM too. He takes a bottle at the top and now he's onto the descent.

The remnants of the break crest the top of the climb but it's so hard to pick out the riders due to the conditions.

Geniez has pulled up and stopped just to put his rain coat on. He even takes help in doing it. And now the peloton are at the top and a few of them stop too.

Chalapud was second on the climb, Dupont third and we've 66km to go in the stage.

The cold will be a factor on the descent as riders need to keep as warm as possible on the lower slopes of the final climb. Cataldo still leads and he's pushing. Not sure about this 'neutralized descent' that the race radio were asking for.

53km remaining from 139km

The Team Sky rider has pushed his gap out to three minutes on the descent.

Close to 50km to go as we see Uran on the descent. They really don't look like they've neutralized the descent so the organisers call looks like a bit of a farce at this stage.

The long descent and riders will be getting colder and colder as Cataldo keep plugging away with his three minute lead over the maglia rosa group.

In between Cataldo and the maglia rosa group we have Dupont, Pantano and Vuillermoz

Race now says that Uran and Aru were dropped on the descent as we see Movistar and Europcar push the pace.

There's a very interesting group with Quintana, Rolland, Sicard, Hesjedal and one more Movistar rider. We've not idea how much time they have on Uran and Aru.

The group is Hesjedal, Rabottini, Sicard Quintana and Rolland.

It looks like a Tinkoff rider has made it to the Rolland group too as race radio says that Uran is two minutes down on Quintana, all lost on the descent.

Uran has one teammate left it seems and he's in trouble here because he's losing time and possibly the Giro d'Italia.

Quintana with the gaps on the road as things stand leads Quintana on GC by 40 seconds. Evans, Aru and Majka are in the Uran group though and that will help the race leader as they'll all need to chase Quintana and Rolland.

No sign of Pozzovivo or whether he's in the Uran group.

Rolland and Hesjedal could also really profit from this situation although there's still a long way to go in the race.

There are now two Omega riders pulling on the front before we start the final climb but Uran is under pressure.

Cataldo has 1:02 on the Dupont group. The Rolland group is at 1:30 and Sicard has been dropped from the Rolland/Hesjedal group.

Gorka Izagirre has to move to the front now for Rolland and Quintana.

Omega have pulled back from the front of the maglia rosa group so other teams and riders will have to chase. Cataldo is close to the foot of the final climb.

The Quintana group have caught the Dupont group but the AG2r riders are not going to ride, that's for sure.

25km remaining from 139km

Gorka Izagirre is doing all the work up front but Quintana and Hesjedal are trying to encourage the others to work.

Astana are also chasing for Aru so the Quintana group are really up against it. It's going to be hard for Cataldo  as well because the chase is really on.

At least the conditions have improved, the rain and snow and stopped and these roads are fairly drive.

Quintana and his group are at 1;33. The maglia rosa group is at 3'15.

The climb starts soon and Hesjedal, Quintana and Rolland need to decide on whether they're going to commit and use up their energy beacuse Gorka Izagirre will be dropped soon.

Quintana drops back to the team car, takes off his arm warmers and picks up a couple of gels. This group still have around 1;40 on Uran.

Cataldo is now climbing and heading towards the finish. He has 1'20 on the chase with 20km to go. It's going to be a massive task to hold on from here.

Pantano is helping the Quintana group and that will certainly help as the gap to the maglia rosa holds at 1'40.

Gorka Izagirre has been dropped from that group so Pantano is working for Quintana here, clearly.

Astana, Saxo and Belkin are still chasing behind as Uran and Evans sit in and wait.

The gap between Uran and Quintana is at 1'50 now so it's gone out slightly.

Uran is without teammates, Evans too in fact as Cataldo's gap to the chase drops to 50 seconds.

Uran sits between Rogers and Kelderman. Rogers will have to perform well today and he moves to second wheel. Majka and Aru are the only riders left with a teammate.

And with 18km to go Quintana has attacked.

Rolland has gone with him.

Hesjedal is forced to chase this one down and he's clawing them back, but slowly.

The rest of the break has been blown away and Hesjedal still has a few bike lengths to close.

Cataldo, because of that jump from Quintana has just 20 seconds of his lead left.

Quintana is up on the pedals again and Rolland just sits on and bides his time. It means Hesjedal will have to work even harder to close the gap.

17km to go and Cataldo has been caught.

The Sky rider moves to the back of the group as Rolland takes over on the front for the first time. The trio have 1'55 on the maglia rosa.

And Hesjedal makes it four leaders. Good work by the Canadian to close that gap.

Quintana's group has 1'27

Quintana is doing the work on the front of the group but the race is balanced here with the gap now at 1'37 as Landa setting the pace for the maglia rosa group.

16km remaining from 139km

And Landa is cooked.

Uran has to close a small gap in the the maglia rosa group as up ahead the leading trio move out to 1;42.

Quintana looks the strongest of the three but there's still a long way to go.

Now Rogers moves to the front and it's worth noting that Pozzovio also has a teammate with him as we enter into the final 14km go racing.

And it's Ag2r who take up the pace setting duties on the front of the maglia rosa group.

Both Evans and Uran look to be suffering but all the riders have been under pressure and suffered today.

Quintana continues to set the pace and he's holding the gap at 1'40. It's just holding.

The gap is creeping up though, as it moves out to 1;58.

11km remaining from 139km

Dupont has cracked so Rogers moves back to the front of the group but Quintana is now 28 seconds off the race lead.

Hesjedal is really suffering out there though as Quintana moves out of the saddle and the gap moves to 2'19.

The Garmin rider is really having to dig deep today.

Inside the final 10km for the three leaders with the gap at 2'15.

Rogers has taken a few seconds off the break, 20 in fact, as Evans, Aru, Pozzovio, Majka, Uran, Kelderman all hang on.

The gap is back up to 2'28 as Quintana continues to set the pace. It's almost like he doesn't know or care if Hesjedal and Rolland are there. All three riders are shaking up the top ten though as Rogers limits the damage.

But it's goinig out and it's at 2'38. so Quintana is just two seconds from the maglia rosa.

This will move Rolland into the top five, Hesjedal up to 8th.

Quintana has accelerated once again and Rolland and Hesjedal are forced to respond but the gradient goes up to 14 per cent and now he's clear. He's alone and he's the maglia rosa on the road for the first time.

Just over 7km to go and Nairo Quintana is leading the stage, the gap has come down to 2'31 as Uran is forced to set the pace as Rogers has sat up, his work done for the day.

Up ahead the gradient eases and Rolland and Hesjedal make it back to Quintana, but the gap has moved out to 2'57.

6km remaining from 139km

And Evans is in trouble. He's off the back and he'll have to chase as the gap to Quintana goes out to 3'08.

Quintana's ride is just something else as the maglia rosa reforms with Evans and Aru coming back, both were briefly dropped.

And Uran moves back to the front of the maglia rosa group but the gap is now at 3'18.

Quintana has a small gap as Hesjedal and Rolland are forced to chase but Rolland has cracked.

The wheels have fallen off and there are gaps all over the road as Majka, kelderman and Uran go clear too.

Quintana leads with 5km to go but Hesjedal is with him now.

The two leaders have 3'19 over the maglia rosa.

Majka and Kelderman are together and clear of Uran and the rest of the maglia rosa group.

Every time the gradient goes up Quintana goes clear but Hesjedal just keep him in his sights and then pulls him back. The gap has come down though, it's at 2'52, as Hesjedal takes a turn as the road eases.

Uran, Kelderman, Pozzovivo and Majka have made a group of four but are at 3'12.

Evans is the man in most trouble at the moment though because he's losing ground as the two leaders reach a 14 per cent stretch. They talk and Hesjedal takes a turn on the front.

Aru has also made it into the Uran group so that's five riders chasing the two leaders with Rolland stuck in the middle.

And Kelderman has attacked. A strong move from the Belkin rider and he has a gap right away.

1.7km to go for the two leaders, and they have 3'22.

Kelderman is pressing on and he has roughly 10 seconds on the Uran group but now the race leader has to respond to an attack from Majka.

And Quintana goes again. Can Hesjedal come back this time? 1km to go.

The gap is roughly 2 seconds between Quintana and the Garmin man. The gap to Uran is at 3'33.

Kelderman is still on his own and riding well but Quintana is heading for both the stage and the maglia rosa.

Henao is with the Uran group and is setting the pace as Hesjedal tries to come back to Quintana.

The Canadian has about a four second gap to close with 200m to go.

Here comes Quintana. He takes the stage.

Hesjedal finishes second at 6 seconds.

Rolland is going to take third as Pozzovio attacks from the Uran group.

Third on the line for Rolland at roughly 1'12.

Kelderman will be next to finish but Pozzovivo is also clear of the maglia rosa group. The Italian might even catch the Belkin leader.

Aru has also dropped the race leader.

Uran has lost pink though. That's confirmed now as the clock ticks by.

Kelderman is home in 3'31, Pozzovivo at 3'36 and Aru a second later.

Uran is in at 4'12. Just behind Majka. What a massive day of action in the Giro.

Evans finishes in 4'48 his podium chances slipping away.

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp
3 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
8 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky
9 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

And now with times, here's today's top ten:

General classification after stage 16

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 68:11:44
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:41
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:21
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:26
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03:28
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:34
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:49
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:06
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:04:16
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:02

So Evans manages to hold onto third but only just as Uran slips to second and 1:41 down on the new race leader.

There will certainly be a lot of talk over the descent of the Stelvio. It was meant to be neutralized but riders were certainly racing down it. Quintana zipped clear with a break and Uran and the rest of the peloton didnt see him again. Still a huge ride from the Movistar rider, it has to be said, no matter what went on during the descent.

You can find our report, results and photos (coming soon), right here. And while we all wait for images, why not enjoy this video we shot with Oleg Tinkov on the rest-day.

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