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Giro d'Italia 2016: Stage 14

 Today is the Queen stage of the Giro d'Italia with six climbs in total. A historic, barbaric expedition through the Monti Pallidi, the Pale Mountains, that most have dubbed the “Queen Stage” or “Tappa Regina”. Putting riders in early breaks could be key for the overall contenders, as will the Giau – a worthy rival to the Fedaia for the honour of hardest climb in the Dolomites.

We're at the start this morning in Alpago and the riders are busily signing on ahead of the stage. They'll roll out in just over 20 minutes from now. 

 

A quick look at the overall and Amador is in pink after yesterday's heroics. It could be a short stint for the Movistar man, given that he struggled somewhat on the final two climbs of the stage. 

 

1 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 54:05:50
2 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:26
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:43
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:01:37
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:01
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:19
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:02:48
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:03:15

 

 

That's today's profile of the stage, just to give you an idea of what's in store. It's a relatively flat start but then the road gently starts to climb, all the way up to to the first summit of the Passo Pordoi at 2239m at 95km. 

 

Signature check for Damiano Cunego / Damiano Cunego al foglio firma #Giro https://t.co/eBHYTEuYtS

@giroditalia Sat, 21st May 2016 08:42:28

Riders signing on and Amador has lined up near the front of the peloton in his maglia rosa as we await the start of the stage. A hugely important day for the Costa Rican rider and his Movistar team as they face up to the challenge from Astana. There are so many battles in the GC. 

 

Jungels near the front too, now in the white jersey after losing pink on stage 13. The Etixx rider has still had an excellent Giro d'Italia and in many ways the objective remains the same, he needs to follow the best and then ride at his own pace if he comes under pressure. He's already left his mark on the race though.

 

And we're about to roll out for today's Queen stage at this year's Giro d'Italia. Grey skies above but not bad conditions for this time of year. 

 

Tour of California: Soren Kragh Andersen earns Cyclingnews rider of the day honours | https://t.co/44aHXXkquo https://t.co/9q8wsiCq5r

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 21st May 2016 08:54:06

Here be yesterday's top ten in the stage results. Team Sky reviving their Giro after losing Landa to illness. They've a few climbers in their ranks so chances are they'll be on the attack again. Unlike the Movistar and Astana climbers, they dont have to worry about dropping back and working for a leader.

 

1 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 4:31:49
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:43
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:17
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team
6 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling
9 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale

 

Looking back to stage 13 and what it meant to the GC picture, CN's Barry Ryan takes a look at the overall contenders after yesterday's action. Click here.

 

The riders have now rolled out from the start and we're almost done with the neutralised zone. As soon as the flag drops we'll be off and racing for stage 14. We can expect attacks from the gun as teams try and send riders up the road.

And as predicted we have a number of attacks early on the from the peloton and like on stage 13 they come straight after the flag is dropped. Will Movistar look to control this from the start?

 

On stage 13 Movistar went on the front foot and sent five riders up the road. They have the maglia rosa now so one would think they would change tactics, although the maglia rosa is on Amador's shoulders and not Valverde's. Astana, will they look to make the race, or continue with their approach of making things tough in the second half of the stage. Nibali and Valverde, and their teams, are so evenly matched.

 

Astana have a few men near the front but they're just monitoring who tries to escape rather than setting the tone and pace for the stage. All together though after 7km of racing.

 

Lotto Soudal have tried to send a number of men up the road but nothing has stuck just yet. We've covered around 10km of racing, and it's all together at this point.

 

One rider who will be looking to break away is Damiano Cunego. He leads the the KOM competition but it will all change today with the six major climbs on the menu:

 

1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 91 pts
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 61
3 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling 54
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 50
5 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF 27
6 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 25
7 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 20
8 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF 18
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 16
10 Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 16

 

190km remaining from 210km

We've covered 20km of the stage now, and still no break from the peloton. Riders continue to try but things just aren't clicking and on each occasion the peloton react and bring everything back together.

 

Back to Cunego, Stephen Farrand, who has covered every Giro since the best ever Giro in 1994, spoke to Cunego last night. 

“I’ve got a lot on my plate, with the jersey and trying to win a stage, it means a lot of hard racing but I’m enjoying it all. It’s good to be back,” he told Cyclingnews.

"I’ve kept the jersey but it’s getting harder as we go more and more into the big mountain stages and other riders decide to go the climber’s competition. The stage in the Dolomites is a big day, with lots of points up for grabs on the six climbs. I can perhaps lose the jersey but I’ll keep fighting.”

 

We're gently climbing now as we head through the first 25km of the stage. The peloton have eased off for a moment - remember yesterday was such a brutally tough affair. 

 

Something will stick, it's only a matter of time but for now we've still not seen a break go clear. All together after 30km of racing.

 

#Giro After 30 km of racing the bunch was still compact.

@Lotto_Soudal Sat, 21st May 2016 09:50:28

Away from the Giro and Bradley Wiggins had some bad luck at the Tour of California. His bars broke in the TT. Read the story on what happened, right here.

 

At this rate we may have to wait until we're on the first climb of the Passo Pordoi before we see a break move clear. There are a number of opportunities to attack before that though. 

 

Lotto Soudal continue to try and make things happen at the front of the peloton but so few teams can match their enthusiasm for a suicide break. It's almost as though they've all been racing for two weeks and are starting to feel tired. 

 

170km remaining from 210km

A few splits starting to appear now in the peloton as some of the pressure from the likes of Lotto begins to have an affect. We're on a shallow rise at the moment, so it's a decent enough chance for riders to try and skip clear.

 

A reminder of the GC coming into today's key mountain stage:

 

1 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 54:05:50
2 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:26
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:43
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:01:37
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:01
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:19
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:02:48
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:03:15

 

165km remaining from 210km

We have a split in the field, with two large groups. They are roughly 25 seconds apart at the moment with Movistar having riders in both groups. 

 

While we wait for the information on the riders in the front group, why not take a look at the action from yesterday's stage at the Tour of California. You can find our report, results, images, and video highlights, right here. Spoiler alert. It was a time trial.

 

Around 35 riders are in the front group, so an even bigger group than yesterday. The time gap is at 2'30, 50km covered. We'll bring you the names as soon as we have them. 

 

Movistar it seems have defaulted to Etixx's position from stage 13, and started to set a steady pace at the front of the peloton. They have the gap at 3'30 now. 

 

Ruben Plaza fans, are you sitting down? Your man has made it into the break today for Orica-GreenEdge. 

 

FDJ have confirmed via Twitter that Demare has abandoned the race. No reason has been given at present but we're not aware of a fall. FDJ - so old school in many ways  - on Twitter... cycling's equivalent to man landing on the moon.

 

Here's the complete composition of today's break:

 

Axel Domont, Hugo Houle (Ag2r La Mondiale), Andrey Zeits (Astana), Nicola Boem, Francesco Manuel Bongiorno, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani - CSF), Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing), Moreno Moser, Nathan Brown (Cannondale), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Dimension Data), David De La Cruz, Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling), Diego Ulissi, Valerio Conti, Sacha Modolo, Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Tim Wellens, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort (Lot Soudal), Carlos Betancu, José Herrada (Movistar), Damiano Cunego, Giacomo Berlato (NIPPO-Vini Fantini), Ruben Plaza (Orica GreenEDGE), Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin), Egor Silin, Rein Taaramae (Katusha), Twan Castelijns, Primoz Roglic (Lotto NL-Jumbo), Christian Knees, Nicolas Roche (Sky), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Busato, Daniel Martinez (Wilier-Southeast).

Via http://www.cyclingpro.net/

 

That's a seriously powerful group of riders. Of course a few hangers on but you've got Moser, Trentin, Ulissi, Modolo, Wellens, Cunego, Betancur, Plaza, Roche and Taaramae all in there. That's a lot of firepower. If they can all work together. 

 

Break! 37 riders

36 riders - including @delacruz_sbd and @MATTEOTRENTIN - are in the break at the #Giro.

@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 21st May 2016 10:41:25

A few riders in the break for the second day running, Zeits one of them, so it looks like Astana will once again look to make the race in the second half as they did yesterday. Movistar still have a few riders up the road but they're not as aggressive as they were yesterday. The gap is over four minutes. 

 

Cunego had made the cut though and will be looking to take the points. Visconti is there but Wellens is so the Italian is going to have to be on his guard. In reality and going by form in the race so far Cunego has to gobble up the points on the first three or four climbs. He will probably not be in contention once we get to the latter part of the stage.

 

Movistar continue to work at the front of the peloton. Ulissi is the best placed rider in GC in the move. He's at 5:18 behind Amador. This stage is perhaps too hard for him in terms of going for the win though...

 

Gorgeous sartoframes on display at spin2016 impactct #carbonfiber #italian #handmade… https://t.co/N36uZ2U11K

@cyclingplus Sat, 21st May 2016 10:53:17

135km remaining from 210km

75km of the stage covered and the break, the huge break have 4'19 over the Movistar-controlled peloton. We've not even hit the first climb of the stage. That's coming up shortly.

 

A plan of containment for Movistar for now, who have the break at 4'18 and have held them there for some time. 

 

The gap though has moved out, and it's at 4'50, with the 37 leaders building on their advantage. 

 

We're about to start the first climb of the day, so we've around 120km of the stage remaining. Ulissi the best placed rider in the move is 5'18 off Amador's pink jersey. 

 

Advantage Nibali? He has all of his team, bar the one rider in the break, sat behind the Movistar train. The Spanish team have been forced to do all the work in the stage so far while the 2013 winner and his squad can have a back seat. 

 

And we're now on the Pordoi with Cunego sitting second wheel as his teammate Berlato sets the pace. The sun is out, there's a gentle breeze and we've 123km of racing remaining. The break have 5'33 over the peloton, so Ulissi is now the virtual leader on the road.

 

The gap is only increasing, it's over six minutes as the break push on. Berlato is going to lead us all the way up this climb. That will be the plan anyway. 

 

Diego Ulissi won the intermediate sprint in Arraba. The gap of the escape exceeds 6 minutes with 122 km to go. #Giro

@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 21st May 2016 11:23:51

The peloton hit the climb too, with Tinkoff also near the front and looking after Majka. In the break is Denifl and he's Cunego's closest rival in the KOM competition.


1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 91 pts
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 61
3 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling 54

 

119km remaining from 210km

Niemiec (Lampre Merida), once a GC rider in the Giro, has abandoned the race. 

 

Siutsou is in the break for Dimension Data. Whisper it but they've not won a race since Brian Smith was shown the door. It's been 20 days. 

 

And Denifl has attacked and Cunego has matched him. The break have strung out as a result. The IAM rider sits up as there's still a long way to go on the climb. 

 

Cunego keeps Denifl at the front of the group for as long as possible before the IAM rider peels off and Lampre take over and start to set the pace. The gap has gone out to 6'21 as we start to ride through the snow banked roads. 

 

116km remaining from 210km

Back in the bunch the peloton is steady rather than anything else. We've not seen any riders come under difficulty as Movistar snake their way to the top of the climb. 116km to go.

 

Denifl, don't mess with the master. The IAM Cycling rider is IAM eager and goes far too early. Cunego just sits in and then takes the points at the top the climb as back in the peloton a single tear rolls down Visconti's cheek. 

 

Cunego 35 points, Denifl 18 and the Lopez third. The trio are on the descent. 

 

The peloton close in in the summit of the first climb of the day as the break dive down the other side in glorious sunshine. The conditions really couldn't be better. 

 

The break realise the importance of establishing a lead early on, and that there are still a number of passengers in their numbers. On the descent they press on and bring the gap out to 7'10. That's the biggest it's been during the stage.

 

Lopez has pushed on alone at the front of the race as we start the second climb of the day.

 

The Passo Sella has pitches of 12 per cent so it's certainly not easy and we've still over 100km of racing to come. Roche though, he's back in the break and getting a free ride.

 

105km remaining from 210km

105km remaining. Lopez leads with the break around a minute down, and the peloton at 6'55.

Betancur has come back to the peloton. The front of the peloton has looked similar for the last hour and that's because Rory Sutherland (Movistar Team) hasn't moved at all. He's been a rock at the front for Amador and Valverde during the stage. 

 

Lopez crests the summit of the climb with Roche second. Cunego is a few places further down. The break is down to around a dozen riders or so. The bunch at 7'13.

 

Rory Sutherland has the peloton strung out as the peloton continue to climb. A few riders are starting to slip back at the rear of the peloton due to the efforts made by the Australian. Amador/Valverde have four men left. Astana have their full quota though, Tinkoff too.

 

The gap between the leaders and the peloton is up to 8'32 as Movistar hit the top of the second climb. 96km to go and four major climbs. 

 

Lopez has been caught by a number of chasers, including Plaza, Roche and Atapuma. This is critical part of the race of the break because they need to keep their lead increasing over the next two climbs. They've dropped a number of riders who were not working and their down to around 10 in numbers.

 

Riders left in the break are Domont, Zeits, Atapuma, Moser, Siutsou, De La Cruz, Monfort, Cunego, Plaza, Preidler, Kochetkov, Lopez, Roche. (via Cyclingpro.net). 

Plaza has made a move from the front of the group. 

 

Plaza has found a new lease of life in the last couple of years and is now on the Orica GreenEdge team. 93km to go but he's gone for a long one.

 

De la Cruz and Lopez have gone after Plaza and they've now been joined by Atapuma.

 

Who needs a team of nine when you've got Sutherland  in your ranks? The Australian has been pulling on the front all morning and he's still there, three climbs into the stage. 

 

Plaza has 18 seconds on the chasers and he continues to press on alone. He has three men hunting him down at the moment. 

 

Atapuma, De la Cruz and Lopez are 23 seconds down on Plaza, with 82 km to go.

 

A group containing Ulissi and his Lampre teammates is nearly four minutes down on the leaders, with the peloton another five back.

 

#Giro @Tim_Wellens is now riding in a group at 3'50" of the front of the race.

@Lotto_Soudal Sat, 21st May 2016 12:42:51

Movistar have lost a couple of men from the peloton and they're down to five or six as we hit the Passo Campolongo. There's no let up from Plaza as he continues to put time into the peloton.

 

News from race radio is that Hejsedal has abandoned. He was riding in the top 15 in GC but is now on his way home. That's a huge blow for Trek Segafredo.

 

Plaza crests the top of the climb and he has 48 seconds on the chase. There's no doubt now that he's going for the stage win today. He won in Gap during the Tour de France last year and the chase trio simply can't get on terms with the Orica GreenEdge rider.

 

Nibali back in the peloton has had a pretty easy ride so far as we see him back in the peloton having some lunch. Plaza, meanwhile, his falling like a  stone on the descent and fighting for every second. It looks like Movistar have lost another rider from the front of the field. Amador... will he be forced to work for Valverde while wearing pink?

 

 

There are just two domestiques on the front of the peloton with Amador and Valverde, and one of them is Sutherland, who has been on the front of the peloton for most of the stage. 

 

Siutsou is now the virtual leader on the road for Dimension Data. 

 

The two chase groups have now re-formed but Plaza is still out there on his own and putting time into both the chase and the peloton. 

 

News here on Hesjedal leaving the race due to illness. The Canadian was struck down by stomach problems and leaves the race while riding in the top 15. 

 

#Giro K Siutsou is the virtual leader of the GC with 62km to go...

Hasn't Siutsou led the Giro before? Perhaps back in 2009 during his High Road dayss. Meanwhile, up the road Plaza has 1'39 on the chase group and 9'21 on the peloton.

 

You have to question the chase at the moment because they've allowed Plaza to have two minutes on them now. The next climb coming up is brutal but that's still a decent enough gap for the Orica GreenEdge rider. Should Sky chase? They have two men in the second group on the road.

 

Ruben Plaza can become the 10th active rider with stage victories in all Grand Tours.

@CafeRoubaix Sat, 21st May 2016 13:20:00

Plaza, out of the saddle, and out in the lead. Impressive ride from the Orica GreenEdge rider who is heading to the hardest climb of the day, the Passo Giau.

 

50km remaining from 210km

And we've started the climb with 50km to go. Movistar just about holding their own with four men on the front, one of them Sutherland. Surely this is where Astana will come to the fore and take up the reigns at the front of the peloton.

 

#Giro The Passo Giau (1st cat) is next on the route: 9.8 km, 9.4% average, 14% max.

@Lotto_Soudal Sat, 21st May 2016 13:33:14

Plaza is on the steepest part of the climb but he's keeping it together as he pushes on. He's lost a few seconds to the chase as the peloton sit 9'02 back.

 

Plaza is losing more time. The gap is at 1'15. Now 1'10.

 

Siutsou is leading the chase and he has Plaza at 29 seconds. That helps Cunego too, in the KOM competition, who is in the chase too.

 

Sutherland is spent and now Rojas takes over for Movistar. The main field is down to less than 40 riders. Here come Astana, hitting the front with 48km to go. 

 

48km remaining from 210km

48km to and Nibali and his men take over as Rojas goes backwards. Up the road and Siutsou has Roche, Atapuma and Preidler with him. Cunego has been dropped.

 

Amador is starting to slip back already in this pink jersey group. Astana have turned the peloton into a very selective group as they increase the pace Brambilla has been dropped. 

 

Amador has moved up to Valverde's wheel once more. All the other GC riders are there, apart from Hesjedal who quit the race earlier today due to illness. 

 

Back to the front and Plaza has 56 seconds on the chase but he's all over the road at the moment as he looks to keep the pace as high as possible. 

Visconti now dropped by the bunch. Formolo also out the back.

 

Uran still has two men with him though. Jungels is in the pink jersey group too. 

 

Atapuma and Siutsou have gone clear and dropped Roche though, as they cut Plaza's lead to 27 seconds.

 

Astana moves to the front of the pack. @BobJungels is still there! #Giro

@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 21st May 2016 13:45:15

Four Astana riders at the front of the peloton and they're cutting the lead to the break to 8 minutes with 46km go to. Plaza has just 17 seconds on the two riders hunting him down. 

 

Plaza is grinding his way up the climb as Chaves is left to fend for himself with his last teammate dropped from the peloton. Siutsou and Atapuma can see Plaza up ahead now. They'll make the catch in the next few minutes. 

 

#Giro: Siutsou (DDD) y Atapuma (BMC), cerca de alcanzar a Plaza. 4 km a la cima del Giau; 7’40” para Pelotón. https://t.co/JtB8cozaqB

@Movistar_Team Sat, 21st May 2016 13:51:58

Majka is another rider all on his own too. As the three riders up ahead make one group. 

 

As cool as you like. Fuglsang drifts back and just gazes as Amador and Valverde as if to say 'is that all you've got?'. 


Up the road and Plaza has been dropped.

 

And Jungels has been dropped. And Fuglsang too. He look comfortable but he's cracked.

 

Amador is slipping back and Nibali only has Scarponi with him. 

 

Uran still has man with him. Chaves, Zakarin, Majka, Pozzovivo, and Kruijswijk (Team LottoNl-Jumbo) all there too.

 

Astana will drop the race leader if they keep this up. The pace is so fast. The two leaders are still climbing and they have 5'30.

 

Astana will drop the race leader if they keep this up. The pace is so fast. The two leaders are still climbing and they have 5'30.

 

44km remaining from 210km

And Amador is hanging on for dear life as Scarponi ups the pace once more. Amador is the last man in the group.

Only 12 riders left in the chasing group with @s_kruijswijk and the other GC favourites!

@LottoJumbo_road Sat, 21st May 2016 13:58:01

A dozen riders left as Scarponi continues to set the pace for Nibali, with Amador still at the back of the GC group. They'll want to drop him before the summit, in order to isolate Valverde and negate any Amador attacks on the descent. 

 

Amador is pushing a gear that's too big, he's really in trouble and he's starting to lose contact. He comes back this time but he cant do that again.

 

42km remaining from 210km

And he's gone. Race leader Amador has been dropped by Astana. 42km to go.

 

Zeits has joined from the GC group from the earlier break so we have three Astana riders in the GC group with Valverde on his own. Amador has lost around 15 seconds. 

 

Amador is all on his own too with 42km to go. Even if he gets back on the descent he'll be dropped on the next climb. 

 

Siutsou reminds me of Tonkov - just ploughs on, almost metronomic in pedal stroke, although he has a higher RPM than the former Mapei man. He looks good on a bike, that's what I meant.

The two leaders have 4'30 over the Nibali group, with Amador another 30 seconds down. The stage win is in the balance at the moment.

 

News: Jeannie Longo's husband faces prison for EPO purchases: Patrice Ciprelli, the husband and coach of Fren... https://t.co/LlQtqJvh4b

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 21st May 2016 14:07:32

News: Ryder Hesjedal abandons Giro d'Italia: Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo) has been forced to abandon the G... https://t.co/343KiCdAWf

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 21st May 2016 14:07:32

The Dimension Data rider leads over the top of the climb. He's done most of the work to be fair. Amador is losing more time down the mountain though, it's almost 45 seconds to Nibali and Co.

 

The Fuglsang group catch Amador who has lost 50 seconds on his rivals as Scarponi keeps the pace high. They hit the summit of the climb, 4"00 down on the stage leaders.

 

No help from Fuglsang and company for Amador, who is forced to do all the work, as you would expect. He's about a minute down at the top. He might be able to make contact before the final climb.

 

On the descent and heading to the final categorised climb of the day, the Passo Valparola. Some 12 per cent slopes and we're likely to see the GC riders attacks one another. Keep an eye on Majka, who is just sitting in the wheels and waiting for his opportunity. 

 

On the descent an Amador is making up time. He's now 20 seconds back on the Nibali/Valverde group. He's descending like a demon.

 

He's possibly the best descender in the race. Up the road and Preidler (Team Giant-Alpecin) has caught the leading pair.

 

#Giro The leaders are at the bottom of Passo Valparola (2nd cat): 11.5 km, 5.8% average, 14% max. This is the last categorized climb.

@Lotto_Soudal Sat, 21st May 2016 14:23:11

30km remaining from 210km

Onto the final climb of the day and the leading trio have 3'53 on the Nibali group. It's touch and go if they can hold on for the stage win.

 

Impressive. Amador has made it back to the Nibali group with 30km to go. 

 

3'49 for the three leaders as Scaproni continues to set the pace on the climb. The rest of the GC contenders are nicely tucked in.

 

Chaves moves into the wind for a second, undoes his jersey, and then returns to Majka's rear wheel. 

 

Scarponi looks back at Nibali and checks on his team leader. Will Nibali try and attack towards the top of the climb?

 

Once again Amador is at the back of the group as Nieve is dropped, with Scarponi gritting his teeth. 

 

27km remaining from 210km

Nibali has attacked.

 

Kruijswijk (Team LottoNl-Jumbo) responds, then Chaves and the rest. Amador is dropped.

 

Valverde is also dropped. He didnt even try to respond.

 

Scarponi is marking Valverde as Amador tries to come back to them. 

 

Nibali's attack wasn't brutal, the leading group seemed to slowly implode though. The leaders are 

 

Nibali, Kruijswijk and Chaves.

 

25km remaining from 210km

And now Atapuma has attacked and gone clear.

 

Uran, Zakarin and Majka are closing in on the Nibali group.

 

Nibali's group has 15 seconds on Valverde.

 

Valverde and Amador are trading turns but they're losing time. It looks like, at this stage, as though Nibali is riding into the pink jersey. Still 25km to go though.

 

Amador can't help Valverde, he's really struggling and loses contact. Movistar's armada had has been scattered by Astana.

 

Groups all over the road as Nibali leads his group. He will want help from others with the TT coming tomorrow.

 

Valverde has lost almost 30 seconds on Nibali. The Spaniard is slipping, he's in serious trouble.

 

Chaves comes through and takes a turn. No it's an attack and Nibali has to work to chase it down.

 

And Zakarin is in trouble as Kruijswijk attacks and he's gone clear. That's a  huge move.

 

Chaves and Nibali need to chase this one. The Lotto rider looks back and sees the gap. The Giro has well and truly begun.

 

23km remaining from 210km

And now Chaves has dropped Nibali. 

 

Kruijswijk and Chaves are about to link up as Nibali struggles on the climb. 

 

The time gaps today are going to be huge. Kruijswijk and Chaves has about 10 seconds on Nibali but there's still a long way to go on the climb.

 

Chaves and Kruijswijk are working well together and they could be racing for the stage win at this rate. 

 

What must be going through Nibali's mind? Dropped Valverde and looked in control but has since been dropped by Kruijswijk and Chaves.

 

Nibali is about 11 seconds down on  Kruijswijk and Chaves. 22km to go.

 

Valverde, though, well he's 90 seconds down on Nibali. 

 

Nibali continues to lose time, it's around 20 seconds now as he smashes on the pedals in anger. At least he's putting time in Valverde. 

 

Stetina drops off Tour of California podium after Folsom time trial: https://t.co/fbRDv1yMKf https://t.co/2Z8WczSlT5

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 21st May 2016 14:45:06

Kruijswijk and Chaves have 30 seconds on Nibali with 20km to go. Atapuma is about to crest the top of the climb. 

 

20km remaining from 210km

Atapuma

Siutsou group at 15
 

Kruijswijk  and Chaves at 51

Nibali at 1'16

Valverde at 2'59

 

Okay, so now Atapuma goes over the top. Chaves and Kruijswijk might be the favourites for the stage now, as they're only at 48 seconds.

 

i bet scarponi wishing he had frankie with him instead

@cyclingslopes Sat, 21st May 2016 14:51:20

At the top of the climb Kruijswijk and Chaves catch Siutsou and Preidler.

 

Nibali goes over the top and he has to put in a huge descent.

 

Valeverde and Amador are dragging themselves up the climb but they're losing minutes, not seconds today.

 

Nibali has to put in one the best descents of his life now if he's to pull on pink today. 

 

Kruijswijk is the virtual leader on the road as we head to the final ascent to the finish.

 

Nibali isn't pulling back time, I'm afraid. He looks good on the corners but he's simply not got the speed. 

 

Atapuma has 20 seconds on the Kruijswijk group with 12km to go.

 

Nibali is almost a minute down on the group ahead of him at this moment. The time gaps keep jumping around though. 

 

Now the gap between Nibali and Kruijswijk is 30 seconds. It's going to be so close for the maglia rosa.

 

Broken aero bar sinks Bradley Wiggins' chances in Tour of California time trial: https://t.co/hizwE0BR99 https://t.co/J5j1FJ44E6

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 21st May 2016 15:01:07

10km remaining from 210km

Inside the final 10km. Nibali is still around 30 seconds down on Kruijswijk and Chaves.

 

Pfff, nerve wrecking moments... @giroditalia @s_kruijswijk GoGoGo!

@RichardPlugge Sat, 21st May 2016 15:04:18

Atapuma hangs on and has 26 seconds with 7km to go. There's a final climb to the finish and that will decide who takes the stage, and who pulls on pink.

 

Nibali is pulling back some time but there are time bonuses on the line too. 5km to go and Atapuma is climbing again.

 

So are the chase group who are 21 seconds back. 

 

Nibali is climbing too and he has to make up 30 seconds. That's a big ask. 

 

Nibali is 20 seconds back. Kruijswijk is in pink as things stand.

 

Nibali is coming... he's pulling back time on the climb.

 

Kruijswijk takes it up and sets the pace. He wants the maglia rosa.

 

Nibali is not giving up. He's giving it everything. He's at 15 seconds. 

 

Atapuma only has 15 seconds with 4km to go.

 

Now we descend again before the final climb up to the line.

 

Atapuma is riding the stage of his life though and has fought back to hold a 16 second lead. 

 

Further down and Valverde and Amador are losing around three minutes.

 

Nibali has lost a bit more time though, he's at 20 seconds behind Chaves and Kruijswijk.

 

Atapuma is about to be caught with 2km to go. 

 

So cruel for the BMC climber who has been out there for so long.

 

Now four men in the front group with just over 1km to go.

 

They keep looking back but they need to keep riding and put more time into Nibali.

 

Attack from Preidler.

 

They're all cooked. They cant' come around him.

 

Here comes Chaves, and he takes the win.

 

Kruijswijk was second.

 

Nibali comes over the line and he's lost over 30 seconds.

 

Amador now is coming to the line. He's lost his maglia rosa and several minutes today. Valverde also losing considerable time.

 

Zakarin and Majka lost 2'30 today. Uran wasn't in the top ten though. He was with that group on the penultimate climb but it seems he was dropped.

 

 

 Atapuma in tears at the finish after finishing fourth on the stage.

1 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 06:06:16
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin
4 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 00:00:06
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:37
6 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 00:02:29
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team
9 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 00:02:50
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 00:03:00

 

Correction: Uran was there, in 9th place.

 

General classification after stage 14 

1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 60:12:43
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:00:41
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 00:01:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:06
5 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 00:03:15
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 00:03:29
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 00:03:53
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 00:05:01
9 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 00:05:38
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team

 

Well Nibali gets rid of Valverde today and certainly Amador but Kruijswijk has turned this race on it's head, along with Chaves.

 

So Chaves takes the stage and Kruijswijk takes the lead in the race. Our report page is here and includes race photos, results, and soon, our video highlights. 

 

Nibali was pounced on at the line. 

 

Happy? “Half and half. I’m happy to drop Valverde.

“They [Chaves and Kruijswijk] did a beautiful attack today. I suffered with the change of rhythm really. I had to let them go and measure the effort. Maybe they had a bit of help at the front, I was close for a while but I couldn’t get back. It was quite windy and they were doing turns so it was easier for them to get time than for me to get back on."

 

Steven Kruijswijk (Lotto NL-Jumbo):

“I knew I was with Esteban [Chaves] and for the sprint, I knew that he was very fast. I think I had in my mind to gain more time on my competitors for the GC and it worked out pretty good. I felt really good all day. I knew that this kind of stage would suit me pretty good, after the first mountain stage we had yesterday. Today, I could attack and really had some good power. I was lucky that I had Esteban with me and we could work together. I’m happy to get the pink jersey.

“[Tomorrow’s time trial] going to be really hard. I think I’m feeling confident, and it’s only the third day in the mountains, so I’m confident that I can have a good time trial.

“Esteban was really strong today. I think he showed, together with me, that he was one of the strongest in the race. First, let’s do tomorrow and then we will see after the rest day.”

 

Chaves:

"I’m really happy. Winning the queen stage in the Giro is really special. This is not only for me, but for the team, who worked really well today. All the guys, the mechanics, soigneurs, people away from the race at the office. Orica-GreenEdge is a big family, thanks to Shayne Bannan, everyone.

Everyone was riding at their limits. Kruisjwijk started his attack, then I tried to follow. It was a steep climb, and then when we saw Nibali was dropped we started to work together.

There’s a lot of this Giro left. This is great but we’ll see what happens tomorrow."

 

Lotto have experience in winning the Giro, back when they were Rabobank in 2009 with Dennis Menchov. They will need another similar ride this year as they don't have a team to match  Astana or Movistar.

 

A reminder of the situation on GC: 

 

1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 60:12:43
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
3 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:32
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:06
5 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:03:15
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:03:29
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:03:53
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:05:01
9 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:05:38
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
 

 

 

All our post-race reactions are right here.

 

Our video highlights from the stage are well worth watching. They're just here.

 

That brings to an end our coverage from today's stage. Our complete report is here but well be back with more live coverage from the Tour of California, shortly.

 

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