Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia, a 132km stage from Bressanone to Andalo, featuring some significant climbs.
Hello, have you missed us? We're back after the third and final rest day for full live coverage of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia. A short one today, but with plenty of climbing - a definite GC day.
Here's the stage profile
As you can see, just 132 kilometres but there are two big climbs on the menu, along with a short one just shy of the finish. The two biggies are listed as second-category but don’t be fooled; the Passo della Mendolo is turtuously long at 15km (average 6.5%), while the 10km Fai della Paganella has an average of 7.4% with ramps of 15%.
@MRasmussen1974 Tue, 24th May 2016 08:40:32
The team buses have pulled up in Bressanone and riders are currently signing on. They'll be rolling out at around 13.30 local time, and racing proper will begin some 10 minutes later.
After a highly impressive weekend, LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruijswijk leads the Giro, and by a considerable margin. Here's how the general classification stands.
1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 60:41:22
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:12
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:51
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:29
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:04:38
6 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:04:40
7 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:05:27
8 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:07:14
9 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:07:37
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:07:55
11 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:12
12 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:08:19
Yesterday we took a look at the GC complexion after two weeks of racing. You can read that feature here:
Here we go then - here comes the roll out.
@friebos Tue, 24th May 2016 11:29:48
@Cycling_Ron Tue, 24th May 2016 11:30:57
A couple of tweets there to show the difficulty/importance of this stage, despite its roadbook billing of just 3 out of 5 stars.
Our European editor Stephen Farrand, who has covered every Giro since 1994, has written this stage preview:
Here's today's start location
A reminder of our jersey wearers today:
Pink (overall): Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo)
Blue (mountains): Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini)
Red (points): Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)
White (young riders): Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep)
@Etixx_QuickStep Tue, 24th May 2016 11:47:37
It could be a fight to get into the breakaway today and no moves have been allowed to go clear in the opening kilometres. Cunego is sure to be interested in getting involved with the KOM points on offer today.
With Kruijswijk enjoying such a buffer at the top of the standings, you have to expect aggression from Astana, and Movistar too, who both have greater strength in depth in the mountains than LottoNL. It's not what Kruijswijk wants to see, but it's probably what most spectators are hoping for.
@willfoth Tue, 24th May 2016 11:56:39
A few riders have skipped off the front, but they're not being given much freedom yet.
Mirco Maestri, Daniel Oss, Simon Clarke, Eugert Zhupa and Pavel Brutt are among the aggressors, but they're not going to get away here as the pace in the peloton remains high.
More riders trying their luck now and the peloton is being pulled along by Bardiani. That must mean Maestri missed the latest move.
102km remaining from 132km
After 30km this breakaway group has a lead of around 30 seconds. They've slowly but surely gained a small lead, but will they be let fully off the leash?
@LottoJumbo_road Tue, 24th May 2016 12:15:09
The riders in this escape group are: Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF), Daniel Oss and Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Simon Clarke (Cannondale), Matteo Trentin (Etixx-QuickStep), Olivier Le Gac (FDJ), Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Marco Coledan (Trek-Segafredo).
We've just come through the only intermediate sprint point and it's Coledan who takes maximum points, followed by Trentin and Oss.
This breakaway group has not been allowed to go clear. They still only have around half a minute, and we'll soon be climbing.
The peloton makes the catch and it's all back together.
Clarke goes again, but he's soon reeled back in. Lots more small attacks here but still nothing is sticking.
We're about to start the first climb of the day, the Passo della Mendola. This is what it looks like.
Movistar take it up on the front as the gradients begin to ramp up.
It's all together but Dimension Data's Igor Anton puts in the first attack on this climb.
Riders are already getting shelled out the back of the peloton. After a fast start, this climb is going to take its toll, especially with Movistar and Astana amassed near the front.
Valverde rides up alongside Nibali and the pair exchange words. Plans being laid for an assault on Kruijswijk's race lead?
@richardmoore73 Tue, 24th May 2016 12:46:47
54 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing. There was a slight downhill all the way to the foot of this climb, but that's rapid.
Movistar are absolutely drilling this. They're well and truly piling the pressure on here.
Igor Anton is brought back but goes again. David Lopez now has a dig.
Kruijswijk is already down to one teammate at the head of the peloton. There may be more towards the back but that could be worrying.
Zakarin is 6th on GC and is a big danger. How will the others react to this one?
Nibali's Astana teammate Tanel Kangert attacks now and joins Zakarin.
Gianluca Brambilla goes now, followed by Lopez. Cunego is interested here, and now Amador is up at the front. It's all happening on this climb!
Valverde attacks now!
Ulissi goes with Valverde. There's no gap but it strings out the front of the bunch.
Lopez joins Zakarin and Kangert at the head of the race. Valverde drops away as Ulissi keeps chasing.
No panic just yet for Kruijswijk, who has two teammates now setting a steady pace on the front of the bunch. This is going to be a real test of his mettle.
Zakarin drops back to the peloton now.
Cunego attacks now, as does Visconti, two riders from Tinkoff, and a couple of others.
Mechanical problem for Nibali, who has to change bikes with a teammate.
No real worries for Nibali, who makes his way back up through the bunch very quickly indeed. It's another chain/derailleur issue for the Italian - as he had in the time trial on Sunday.
Jungels attacks now and Kruijswijk follows. Zakarin also alive to this. Valverde not far back. Nibali makes it back up in time to react.
Gazprom's Sergiy Firsanov attacks on his own now as the GC men mark each other.
Rigoberto Uran attacks now! Is there anyone who hasn't attacked yet?!
Kruijswijk follow, Nibali goes with it too, as does Valverde.
As the move gets pegged back and they ease up slightly, Jungels comes back up to the group and immediately leaves them behind.
It looks like Esteban Chaves is there in the bunch not too far back but he hasn't been a prominent presence here in what has been a really hectic start to this stage.
Jungels gets a big gap and makes his way up to the leaders along with Firsanov.
More attacks from the bunch now, but this time from breakaway hopefuls, including Riccardo Zoidl and Joe Dombrowski. Kruijswijk happy to watch them go.
Pozzovivo ups the pace at the front of the bunch and most of those attackers are pegged back before the GC men ease up once more. Nibali has teammates but is right on the wheel of Kruijswijk at the moment.
@SadhbhOS Tue, 24th May 2016 13:06:07
Zakarin on the offensive once more as Kruijswijk is having a real job on his hands to try and keep some semblance of control amid this chaos. He's isolated but doing a good job so far.
Cannondale are up there with plenty of numbers.
Zakarin with a big attack now. Kruijswijk with a really strong response.
Nibali and Valverde go with this move. There's a gap back to the bunch with Chaves in.
Poor Damiano Cunego. Every time he thinks it's settled down and it's safe to attack to get up to the break in search of those KOM points, there are more attacks from the GC men and his work is immediately undone.
Dombrowski bridges to the leaders. Great effort from the young American
The Italian comes from behind and catches the others off guard. Kruijswijk forced to chase, Valverde on the wheel of the pink jersey. Nibali has a gap.
The break crest the climb and it's Lopez who takes maximum KOM points, followed by Firsanov.
Nibali is pegged back, but where is Chaves? He seems to be in the main bunch with Majka and Uran.
We're heading downhill now and this Nibali group is really keen to kick on here.
The Nibali/Kruijswijk group has caught the leaders on this descent. It's not a very technical one, with long straights and a chance to get into those aero tucks.
Chaves and Majka are over half a minute behind here.
Jungels gets out of the saddle on this descent and really turns that biggest gear as he can do so well. He's really pushing on here.
@EdwardPickering Tue, 24th May 2016 13:23:52
Nibali is the only man with a teammate in this front group. They've not yet shaken the race leader but with Chaves and Majka distanced, he, Valverde, and Zakarin will be really keen to keep the pace high.
Orica-GreenEdge lead the chase group for Chaves. He must have been suffering on that climb as he did not respond to any of the attacks. Now he's been forced into a frantic chase and it's not a battle he's winning, as the gap now stands at 40 seconds.
Kruijswijk gives Valverde a pat on the back - i'm not sure what he said to Spaniard. In any case, this front group is strung out into one long line and everyone seems to be happy to come through and do their turns.
There's a short little climb coming up at the town of Claes that will break up the downhill. Will it break up the front group?
Chaves has dropped back to the team car to get a bottle. That's not where he needs to be right now.
45km remaining from 132km
Just 45 kilometres left of this stage - what a whirlwind it has been.
Riders are getting shelled out the back of the chase group as Orica put their big men on the front. The gap has come down slightly to below the 30-second mark.
As the road kicks up again, the chase loses a bit of ground - around 10 seconds. Tangert driving the lead group.
As can be expected the GC men are keen to sprint for the bonus seconds on offer at the intermediate sprint point at the top of this little climb. Diego Ulissi takes the maximum of three, with Valverde gaining two and Nibali one.
Chaves has got just one teammate with him. The Colombian is sat second wheel with a string of Cannondale riders behind. They've got Dombrowski up front and maybe their playing for a stage win rather than the overall classification with Uran.
Dombrowski is getting dropped from this group though and he doesn't look too happy.
Orica-GreenEdge has peeled off the front and now it is Tinkoff who look to set things up. The gap has been bouncing between 30-40 seconds for some time.
28km remaining from 132km
Dombrowski has been caught by the chasing group and he slots into the Cannondale train. Perhaps he was called back to help with this chase because they're not making any inroads into the leaders at the moment.
Cannondale are now working on the front with Orica-GreenEdge in the wheel.
Was Dombrowski dropped or was he called back? Cannondale immediately appeared at the front of the chase group, which might suggest the latter, but then the American went straight to the very back of the group. Either way, he wasn't best pleased, and bashed his bars in frustration.
Kruijswijk now gives Zakarin a pat on the back. Why is he patting everyone on the back?!
Lead group: Kruijswijk, Nibali, Valverde, Zakarin, Jungels, Ulissi, Kangert, Lopez, Firsanov
Chasing bunch inc Chaves, Majka, Uran, Amador
Here we go then, onto the second major climb of the day. This is what it looks like:
Kangert leads the race onto the climb. What a job he has done today. He'll surely be teeing Nibali up for an attack somewhere on this climb.
Formolo appears at the front of the chase group, and there's Chaves just behind him. Pozzovivo, Majka, Uran all present. Can they close this gap?
It's Chaves who takes it up now, Pozzovivo on his wheel, then Majka and Uran. The gap comes down to 15 seconds here. Chaves is closing this.
Kangert peels off - his work done for the day - and he's soon caught by the Chaves group.
Lopez digs. That's not a concern for Kruijswijk but it is when Zakarin goes. The pink jersey is quick to react and goes with the Katusha man. No panic from Nibali, who slowly claws his way back.
Kruijswijk is looking unshakeable here. He's been alive to pretty much every attack so far on this stage - and we've had plenty.
Uran dropped from the Chaves group which now contains just three riders. 20 seconds is the gap.
Valverde attacks now! No surprise to see Kruijswijk right on his wheel. Zakarin bridges across and Nibali once again slowly claws his way back.
Zakarin counters now. This is going to put Nibali in difficulty.
Nibali is dropped. He pulls over onto Firsanov's wheel but he didn't have a response to that small flurry of attacks. Will that trio push on?
Nibali has his head over his bars, the effort is really taking its toll. Zakarin smells blood and pushes on.
Nibali is now with Jungels, Lopez and Firsanov. The gap is already 17 seconds. More woe for the Italian in this Giro.
The Chaves group, still led by the Colombian himself, makes its way up to the Nibali group.
Valverde comes through to the front now to give Zakarin a bit of a break. The gap continues to grow and it looks like they're all happy to be putting time into Nibali.
Zakarin, Kruijswijk and Valverde lead the race
Nibali, Chaves, Majka, Jungels et al at 23 seconds
Jungels is grinding his way up this climb and Nibali quite frankly looks grateful to be on his wheel. The gap grows out to nearly 40 seconds and we're just a couple of kilometres from the summit of this climb.
Kruijswijk now comes through for a turn. His closest rivals at the start of the day were Chaves at 2:12 and Nibali at 2:51, and he's distancing them both.
Nibali comes off Jungels' wheel and injects some pace, pegging the leaders back by around 10 seconds.
Chaves goes now. We're approaching the steeper ramps of this climb towards its summit, and the Colombian ups the pace. He drags the others with him but it eats into the lead of the trio up the road.
10km remaining from 132km
10km to go as the cars pass through, meaning the gap between the two groups is very narrow indeed.
Double-digit gradients for the leaders now and it's Kruijswijk who takes it up. He looks strong. In the group behind it's no surprise to see Chaves out of the saddle and giving it everything.
Nibali is dropped on that steep section.
Pozzovivo also in trouble. Chaves leads the chase group over the summit and now begins a frantic descent to bring this race back together.
Chaves and Majka exchange words and in all likelihood agree to work together and keep the pressure firmly on Nibali, caught out behind. 25 seconds is the gap now to the front of the race as Valverde throws himself through some of these bends.
This is how the final kilometres look. There's a third-category climb with some steep gradients.
6km remaining from 132km
Jungels hits the front of the chase as the road flattens out. That's good news for Chaves and Majka.
5km remaining from 132km
5km to go and the Chaves chase group is 30 seconds behind the leading trio. Meanwhile Nibali is a further 10 seconds back.
Who's going to take the stage win? It looks like the winner will be one of Valverde, Zakarin, or Kruijswijk.
Remember, there are bonus seconds at the finish of 10 seconds, 6 seconds, and 4 seconds, for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. They will be keenly contested.
3km remaining from 132km
Nibali is still slipping back and now finds himself a minute behind the leaders.
Chaves takes it up in the chase behind but he's doing little to limit the damage. The gap is still just under 30 seconds.
2km remaining from 132km
Chaves attacks now in a desperate bid to limit his losses. Meanwhile Zakarin, Kruijswijk and Valverde are still ticking along very nicely indeed.
Zakarin is the man doing the lion's share of the work at the head of the race, and the gap goes out to 40 seconds.
Majka is dropped from the chase group, as is Ulissi.
1km remaining from 132km
Jungels struggles on the steepest section but gets himself back in contact as the road levels out once more.
Flamme rouge now for the three leaders. Thoughts will soon turn to the stage win.
Zakarin leads them into the home straight, Valverde on the wheel, perfectly positioned.
Valverde wins stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia
What a sprint by the Spaniard, as Kruijswijk takes second just behind but Zakarin is gapped slightly.
Jungels, Lopez, and Firsanov come home next, while Chaves comes home 41 seconds down, followed a few seconds later by Majka.
Nibali, a sorry sight, comes home with Pozzovivo, and they're 1:46 down. That's another huge blow for the 2013 Giro champion.
So, by my calculations, Chaves hangs onto second place but Valverde has jumped above Nibali and into third, now hot on the heels of the Colombian. Kruijswijk opens up his advantage at the head of the standings and makes another assured and impressive step towards Turin.
Valverde takes his first ever Giro d'Italia stage win
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 2:58:54
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
3 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:08
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida 0:00:37
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step
6 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky 0:00:38
7 Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:42
9 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:00:50
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:47
So Zakarin lost eight seconds in 250 metres as Valverde opened up his sprint. That shows you the strength of the Spaniard, who seems to have recovered remarkably from Saturday's travails, but it's worth noting that Zakarin probably did the most work of that leading trio.
General classification after stage 16
1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 63:40:10
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:03:00
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:23
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:43
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:04:50
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:05:34
7 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:07:57
8 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:06:53
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:10:05
10 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:11:03
Is that the nail in the coffin of Nibali's Giro d'Italia?
He's nearly five minutes down on the race lead now, and that's a big chunk of time to recoup for a rider at the top of his game, never mind one who is clearly well below his best and who was dropped by the likes of Bob Jungels and David Lopez on that final climb.
The average speed for today's stage was 44km/h. Considering this was a mountain stage and the fastest time schedule anticipated by the organisers was 39km/h, that's crazy. Certainly crazing racing that we were treated to today.
It's worth remembering that Chaves was nowhere to be seen for the first half of this stage, which featured an insane amount action on the Passo della Mendola. It looked worrying for the Colombian but he showed himself to be strong in the closing stages as he took the initiative in the chase and limited his losses to Kruijswijk, Valverde, and Zakarin. Still, losses they were, and should they have been avoided by being more prudent in the early stages?
One rider who once again failed to impress today was Rafal Majka, who drops out of the top five. Zakarin now occupies that fifth place and looks good to stay there all the way to Turin, if not improve on it with a flailing Nibali just seven seconds ahead.
And what to say about Kruijswijk?
The Dutchman just looks so strong. He was alive to pretty much every attack today (and there were plenty) and, on the evidence of the past three stages, it's difficult to see the pink jersey being wrestled from his shoulders.
The gruppetto today rolled in some 17 minutes after Valverde. A horrible day for them.
Finish line shot
Valverde speaks to TV after his win
"Today we started out with the mentality of going all out to get the victory. We got it and on top of that we took time on some rivals. The leader is very strong but we must be happy," he said.
"I'm going to remain calm in what remains of this Giro, as I have done up to this point, and keep enjoying it. I'm loving being here."
Asked if he saw any weakness in Kruijswijk today that might be exploitable in the coming days, the reply was simple and to the point: "No."
Here's our stage report, complete with full results and a photo gallery.
"Second yet again!" says Kruijswijk, not that he really has much cause for complaint.
"I wanted to give my team a win but it's an ideal situation for the maglia rosa as I'm now three minutes ahead of Esteban Chaves and the others. I was feeling really good so I had to make the best of this short but really hard stage. I had to follow Nibali when he attacked early in the stage. I didn't expect so much action the day after the rest day."
Fancy re-living all that action (who wouldn't)?
That's it from us for today. Again, what a stage!!
We'll be back again tomorrow morning for full live coverage of stage 17 and we hope you'll join us again.
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