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Giro d'Italia 2018: Stage 14

Thousands of people lining the streets. A passionate crowd awaiting the main event parting like a sea as their heroes arrive at the destination that could change their lives forever. No, I’m not talking about the royal wedding. It’s stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia and today we finished on arguably the toughest climb in European cycling, the Monte Zoncolan.

Today's start is around 30 minutes away, and already most of the peloton have signed on. Tim Wellens is the only rider we know about who will not start the stage. The stage 4 winner has come down with a fever and will go home and rest, before starting to build up for the second half of the season. More news on Wellens will be on the homepage shortly. 

 

Eyes right (if you're on desktop) and you'll see today's vital numbers - including the climbs the riders will face, the previous winners on the Zoncolan and the top ten heading into the stage. If you're on mobile, or you're just feeling particularly lazy this morning, here's the top-10 for you. 

 

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 55:54:20
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:47:00
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:04
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:18
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:01:56
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:09
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:36
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:02:54
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:55
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:10

 

There's genuine excitement in the CN blimp today. Not Tour of Britain, Bristol time trial stage 7a, levels of excitement, obviously... but still this has all the makings of being a legendary stage in the Giro's history. 

Every name in the top-10 has to be on their game today because the time gaps at the finish could be huge. Back in 2010, when Basso won, only four other riders finished within two minutes of the Italian  - who of course went onto win the race. 

 

In case you're wondering it's Tony Martin.. who won the Bristol stage at the Tour of Britain that year. Nevermind. 

 

While we wait for more riders to sign on and head to the start, lets look back at the previous times this Zoncolan has been used in the Giro. 

 

The climb was first used in the Giro back in 2003 when Gilberto Simoni skipped away from Stefano Garzelli and won by 43 seconds. Casagrande rounded out the top three that day, while Marco Pantani put in one of his final mountain displays to take 5th on the stage.
 

 

At the finish in 2003, Simoni said:

 

"This climb was too hard. I wasn't on a great day. I guess I was tired from the efforts of last few days. It got so steep that I wanted to put my foot down and push the bike", joked Simoni in the post race press conference.
 

The race went up the Sutrio side of the climb that day but since then the race has use the Ovaro approach – a much sterner test. Simoni won again 2007, while Ivan Basso cemented his 2010 Giro win with a victory on the climb in 2010. Igor Anton attacked from around 6km out to win in 2011 ahead of Contador and Nibali, while Michael Rogers was the last rider to win on the climb back in 2014.
 

 

In 2007 Simoni won ahead of his teammate Leonardo Piepoli, Andy Schleck, Danilo Di Luca, Damiano Cunego, Massimo Codol, Julio Alberto Perez, and Franco Pellizotti. Completely coincidently, a year or so later the biological passport was launched.

 

In 2010 Basso’s Giro was cemented with a winning ride on the climb. He, like Anton, a year later, would attack from distance, with around 6km to go. This softened up the field and soon the Liquigas rider had only world champion Cadel Evans for company. Even the gritty Australian couldn’t hold on, and he eventually came over the line over a minute down on Basso. David Arroyo held onto the maglia rosa that day but Basso had him in his sights. Only three riders finished within two minutes of Basso that day, which illustrates a number of things, one of which is how demanding the climb can be.

 

2011


A year later it was Anton who won the stage. He was a stage racing force back then, and picked his moment perfectly to attack. From memory there were two accelerations from the then Euskaltel rider. He’s in the race this year, but at 35 his powers are waning. That said, he’ll be motivated for today and might have a chance to ride for himself. He’s been at the back of the race so far, but this was the scene of his finest performance at the Giro. Perhaps a ride in the early break?

 

2014


In the 2014 Giro, Rogers actually won two stages. His first came at Savona but it was his ride on the penultimate stage up the Zoncolan that really stood out. It will be remembered not just for Rogers’ ride but the behaviour of some of the fans that day. Rogers was riding with Francesco Bongiorno but the Italian was effectively taken out by a fan, who had tried to push the then Bardiani rider to victory, but instead almost took him down. Rogers, who didn’t see the incident, pressed on and Bongiorno faded to third. He retired mid-way through 2017 at just 26 years of age. 

 

We're about 15 minutes away from the start of the stage this morning. The pace, as you might imagine, is going to be nothing short of frantic as riders look to position themselves in the break. There are a number of teams still without a stage win in this year's race, so they'll be in the mix, while a portion of the GC riders will be looking to send riders in the break too. Perhaps Chaves will be allowed to sneak away again, although it's unlikely given the importance of today's stage in terms of the maglia rosa. 

 

Talk about pressure, a lot of it falls on Dumoulin today. If he ships a chunk of time to Yates - perhaps two minutes or more then the race could be over for him. The Dutchman needs to hold the British climber on the final climb, and even try and exploit any weaknesses he sees. It's going to be a tough ask as Yates has looked unbeatable so far in the race. That said, this is not a climb that suits him as much as some of the shorter ascents we've seen in the race. 

 

"It has nothing to do about explosiveness, it's just riding as hard as you can for about 45 minutes or something, and maybe longer," Dumoulin said in Ferrara on Friday morning.


Neither rider has raced up the climb at the Giro but they'll go head-to-head today. 
 

To read more on Dumoulin's thoughts, click here.

 

Five minutes until the race begins...

 

Another rider to watch today is Froome. He's off the pace and out of the top ten but could be a central figure in the finale. The form book suggests that he's going to lose yet more time, but again, this is a different style of stage and climb to the ones we've seen before. If the British rider has any hopes of a top-5 in the race he needs to start gaining time. 

 

Froome is expected to use a gear ratio of 34x32 to fight the 11.9 per cent average gradient and to survive on the 20 per cent hairpin bends. He talked at length with Team Sky senior mechanic Gary Blem after the finish in Nervesa della Battaglia, keen that his bike was ready for the Zoncolan. Froome will apparently use a Shimano Ultegra cassette on his Pinarello Dogma F10 X-Light bike to have a 32-tooth cog. It will add around 100g to the weight of his bike, but that is better than struggling to turn a 30-tooth cog.


"It's a brutal final up the Zoncolan," Froome said simply when about the stage 14 ascent.
 

"The Angliru in the Vuelta sticks out as a similar kind of climb, but [Zoncolan] is more consistently steep, whereas the Angliru feels steeper, but it's in ramps. They're different kinds of efforts I guess. But I'm up for it; I'm motivated.

 

For more on Froome's thoughts, click here.

 

Just a short neutralized zone for the riders this morning, and the race is about to begin. Riders are already positioning themselves near the front in a bid to jump away as soon as possible. 

I'm really interested to see how these four riders fair today. Other than Pozzovivo, you wouldn't have had them down as top-five riders coming into the race but they've all shone. This a huge test for Dennis and his climbing ability, while Bennett has been consistent over the first two weeks. The question is whether he's starting to show signs of fatigue. Carapaz has been the real surprise, winning a stage and wearing the white jersey for a number of days. Today is a whole new ball game for the young South American though. Pozzovivo is a real contender for the stage win today.

 

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:18
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:01:56
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:09
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:36

 

And as we promised earlier, here's our news on Tim Wellens and why he's not starting today. 

 

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

 

And you can still download the hugely popular THE HOLY WEEK too. 

The sun is out, it's perfect conditions to race in at the moment as we see a flurry of early attacks from the main field.

 

We've already covered 8km and a break of eight riders has 20 seconds on the main field. We'll bring you the names as we get them. 

 

Just picking out a few of the riders in the move. We see Mosca is there, as is Didier, Berhane, Barbin and Torres. We'll have the full list of riders shortly but they still only have 20 seconds, having covered 12km so the bunch aren't willing to let them go just yet. 

 

169km remaining from 186km

And the peloton have swept up that break with 17km of the stage covered. There's a very short lull, and then another way of accelerations.

 

There are a number of names from this gaggle of GC riders who need to impress today. 

 

Lopez, Froome, Woods, and Formolo came into the race with high hopes but for a number of reasons it's not really worked out for them so far. Formolo, bar that day on Etna, has been really strong in the mountains and is worth a shout today. He's climbing well and might be allowed to sneak off the front - if he has the legs for it. 

 

It will be interesting to see how Team Sky approach this stage, and the finale too. Froome knows the climb through recon and may have raced it during his one and only other Giro but will he have his team set the pace or will he sit back and wait?

 

11 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:03:17
12 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:20
13 Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data 0:03:25
14 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:03:29
15 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:03:40
16 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:03:43
17 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors 0:04:01
18 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:33
19 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky 0:05:08
20 José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin 0:05:21
21 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:03

 

163km remaining from 186km

Back to the action here and we've covered 22km but still not break from the bunch. More and more attacks come but nothing has stuck so far.

 

154km remaining from 186km

Still no sign of the bunch allowing a break to go clear. We've covered 30km of the stage, and bar the brief 8-rider move from earlier no rider or group has been able to establish more than a few seconds over the field. 

 

We're about 10km off the foot of the  Monte di Ragogna. It's only a third category climb but it's the perfect launchpad for a string of attacks, and a possible break. There are 16 per cent pitches on the climb, so it's certainly not easy. We could see fireworks, for sure.

 

We're actually on a false flat section at the moment, before the road dips and then rises towards the foot of the  Monte di Ragogna. We'll crest that at 43.3km of racing, and surely that's when the early break will form. There's no let up from the bunch at the moment with the pace high. 

 

144km remaining from 186km

And onto the lower slopes of the climb and we have Pedersen and Conti who have gone clear of the bunch. The duo have 25 seconds on the peloton with 144km to go.

 

Now this is interesting. Bilbao has gone off the front as well and he's only 8th overall, 2''54 down on the maglia rosa. Surely that move has to be shut down fairly soon.

 

More and more riders are trying to get across to Pedersen and Conti, so the situation isn't clear at the moment. What we do know is that the pace hasn't dropped as this frantic stage continues.

 

We have four leaders, Conti, Barbin, Pedersen and Gavazzi. Then we have another three riders chasing, and they include Bilbao.The bunch are at 2'40 on the front group but already Bilbao is within 50 seconds of the virtual lead. 

 

135km remaining from 186km

The four leaders head down the descent and put 3'20 into the Yates group. The leaders will not want Bilbao catching them, as it will surely end their chances of winning today. And Bilbao has in fact relented and sat up and waited for the peloton. We could see the front two group merge on the valley road before the next climb. 

 

132km remaining from 186km

So our four leaders on the road are:
 

Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF), Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates).

 

They have 55 seconds on:
 

Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) and Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia).

 

The peloton is at 3'20 with 132km to go.

 

128km remaining from 186km

The two groups have merged, and the bunch are at 4'07 with 128km to go.

 

Montaguti takes a pull on the front and then filters back through the break. He's 34 now but still a strong climber, having won a stage at last year's Tour of the Alps. He's been with AG2R since 2011 and is well established on the French team and could be a real threat for the stage should the break survive until the end. 

 

This isn't the first time that Trek have gone with two in the break. They've done that at the Giro and at the Tour of California this month.Pedersen will be here for Didier - the strongest climber out of the two  - while the team still have options in the bunch.

 

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

 

And you can still download the hugely popular THE HOLY WEEK too. 

At the front of the bunch Tuft is setting the pace for Mitchelton Scott. The Canadian, riding in his final Giro, has been a loyal servant for the Australian team over the years and he's been a constant presence on the front of the peloton throughout this year's Giro d'Italia. He'll be on the front until we hit the next climb, and even then is job might not be done for the day.

 

118km remaining from 186km

Mitchelton have four riders on the front, and one of them is Chaves, who has slipped back to over 50 minutes down on GC. 15 minutes, 50 minutes, it makes little difference at this stage, given that his key role is to now support Yates in the mountains. The gap to the leaders is down to 3'41. 

 

Sunweb are just behind the Yates train, with Dumoulin handed a bottle from one of his teammates. The Dutchman needs a performance today because he can't afford to lose much more time to Yates, even with Tuesday's TT to come. The gap to the break has moved out to 4'19 with 110km to go.

 

A few more seconds handed to the break, with the gap now out to 4'31. Gorgeous sunshine for the riders in the break and the peloton at the moment but there are some clouds at the finish on the Zoncolan. 

 

At the top of the climb, the crowds are already gathering, and the tension and excitement are starting to rise. Mitchelton are clearly intent on keeping the break in check, before teams like Sky and perhaps Astana take up the workload later. Yates wants the stage. He wants to win in pink on the Zoncolan. 

 

Interesting that Aru has allowed one of his few decent climbers in the race go up the road in the break. The former Vuelta winner constantly looks isolated on the climbs, so perhaps the tactic is to throw Conti up the road and save him for later. Whatever the plan, Aru needs to make up time if he's to make the top-5 this year. 

 

Onto an uncategorised climbs and Pedersen looks to be slipping back. He's forced to ride up the ascent at his own tempo and should be okay for now but it only becomes harder from this point onwards. 

 

Tuft still out on the front, and setting the pace for the bunch. He's out of the saddle but climbing well as the gap to the break moves out to 4'46 with 97km to go.

 

Some rain at the finish... and storms are now forecast for the finale. The sun has gone for the riders too, as conditions cloud over with 97km to go. 

 

Starting to see Team Sky organise their ranks, around 10 riders back in the bunch. Froome is there, and surrounded by a column of teammates, which includes Poels and Henao.

 

Mitchelton have company, with Bahrain and BMC moving up to the front of the peloton. The rain has caused a reaction, as teams look to protect their leaders. With 88km to go the gap is at 4'11. 

 

That reaction from the bunch has taken almost a minute off the break's lead, as we see the rain start to fall consistently now. The bunch are on a twisting descent at the moment, but no major incidents as we head towards the next climb on the route.

 

The peloton take their foot off the gas, slightly, and that allows the gap to go out to 4'42. Pinot, Yates, Froome, and Pozzovivo are all near the front and keeping safe. Mitchelton Scott take over with the pace setting once more.

 

Pedersen is again put under pressure and starts to lose ground from the rest of the break with 83km still to go. 

 

82km remaining from 186km

Five minutes. That's the biggest gap that the break have enjoyed all day. They have 5'03 on the peloton with 82km to go. We're close to the next climb at Avaglio.

 

I'm not sure Pedersen is going to make it back to the break. He's around 100m down at the moment but it's all uphill until the top of the next climb. 

 

2km to the top of the climb, and Pedersen is at 25 seconds. The peloton are now at 4'43, with 80km to go. 

 

And Montaguti comes over the top and picks up maximum points for his effort. It's  really technical descent but perhaps Pedersen can make up the time after all...

 

How did he keep that up? Gavazzi comes around a corner on the descent with way too much speed. He has to take the corner wide and almost comes down in the process. He just about keeps it together and survives, before making it back to the leaders. 

 

And on the descent we see Froome and Team Sky take over at the front of the peloton. That's the first time we've seen the British team all day. Froome is second wheel, following one teammate, as we see Pedersen has made it back to the break. 

 

I think that Puccio leading Froome at the moment, with Mitchelton just behind the Team Sky pair. Television has just interviewed Brailsford about rider preparation and kept a straight face throughout. Easily the most impressive performance we've seen today. 

71km remaining from 186km

The complete bunch has strung out on the descent but the rain is falling again as the break head through the feedzone with 71km to go. Puccio is still leading the peloton and keeping Froome out of trouble. 

 

A bevy of Team Sky riders then join Puccio and Froome on the front. Knees is there, and he's on the radio back to the team car, and to Froome. The instruction seems to be 'ride, ride, ride' as the pace increases once more. 70km to go.

 

Van Garderen concedes that Bernal is the better rider in California https://t.co/xESOSWAWqs https://t.co/xn9rnk7q5b

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 19th May 2018 13:01:22

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

 

And you can still download the hugely popular THE HOLY WEEK too. 

Team Sky have knocked their pace setting on the head and it's meant that Mitchleton have come back to the front with 65km to go. Meanwhile, Conti drops back to the team car for a natter with his DS. The gap is at 4'30. 

 

62km remaining from 186km

The pace has dropped dramatically at the front of the bunch, as we see a number of riders head back to team cars for bottles, food and clothing. Dumoulin has also dropped back to have word with the occupants of the Sunweb Mini, before giving them a nod, and then returning to the main field. 62km to go!

 

62km remaining from 186km

And the gap has gone out to 5'35. They could have eight minutes at the foot of the final climb and still not win, to be honest. 

 

57km remaining from 186km

The gap has now gone out to 6'06 and Mitchelton have reacted by moving back to the front and setting the pace with their entire squad on the front. 

 

A reminder of the GC picture coming into the stage:
 

1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 55:54:20
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:47:00
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:04
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:18
5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:01:56
6 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:02:09
7 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:36
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:02:54
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:55
10 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:10

 

The break are plugging away and they've drawn out a few more seconds on the peloton, with 55km to go. The final contains three more climb, culminating in the Zoncolan ascent. This is where the Giro will explode into life, and we could see some of the GC contenders lose minutes, rather than seconds. It's a huge opportunity for Yates - the form rider and the race leader - to really open up a gap on his rivals. 

 

On the front of the bunch Bewley and Tuft are swapping turns, their work almost done for the day before Haig, and Krueziger take over on the final set of climbs. The break are climbing already, with their advantage at 6'14 with 54km to go. Pedersen is still there but when the road points upwards he starts to suffer, and that's what's happening right now. He's at the back of the group, shoulders already rocking.

 

We're not on the Passo Duron yet but the road towards the climb is far from flat. Bewley just puts his head down and effectively time trials on the front of the bunch as we see Sky, Bahrain and FDJ begin to organise their troops near the front of the bunch.

 

Pedersen is in trouble. He's tired and pushing a gear that looks too big for him. Didier drops back for a quick goodbye but the Dane is surely about to be distanced. 

 

Luckily for the Dane the gradient eases and he has a chance to recover, even coming through and taking a turn on the front of the seven-man break. 6'07 for the peloton with 50km to go. 

 

The Passo Duron is coming up and it's going to be a real test for the break, and the chasing pack. It's not the longest climb but there are sections of 18 per cent, with an average gradient of 9 per cent. The break are on the lower slopes now.

 

Mosca and Pedersen are losing contact with the break, so we're down to five riders at the head of the race. LottoNL are moving up for Bennett, as the fight for position hots up. 

 

Montaguti is leading the break on the Passo Duron, and he's a man on a mission. He's been the strongest rider in the break so far, as we see the peloton take on the lower slopes. Chaves has moved to the front of the bunch.

 

Chaves will be there to mark any dangerous moves, from the likes of Aru, who is second wheel and looking like he wants to try something.

 

And now it's Sunweb who take things up, with Dumoulin second wheel. He wants a fast but steady tempo and that's just what he's getting from his teammates. 

 

And the sprinters, Bennett, Viviani, and eh.... that's about it.. we'll they've been dropped on the climb, which isn't a huge surprise. 

 

45km remaining from 186km

While at the front of the bunch it's Sanchez from Astana who takes charge and increases the pace. With 45km to go the gap is at 5'03.

 

Froome is about 30 riders back at the moment. That's not a good sign at this point as we see Astana increase the pace once more on the front of the peloton. 

 

Poels is near the front, and not with Froome at the moment. 44km to go. Chaves is also getting dropped. 

Froome is coming back to the front of the group but how many times can he do that? The break have 4'25 with 43km to go. That's a real surprise to see Chaves dropped at this stage, he must be sick as Astana continue to set the pace.

 

Poels is third wheel, and then Froome and one other Team Sky rider are a little further back, as we see Yates, Dumoulin, Pinot, and the rest of the GC contenders near the front. It looks like Conti has taken maximum points at the top of the climb. A super fast descent to come, before the final two climbs. 

 

 A mechanical for Sanchez. He should make it back on the climb, before the descent as he powers through the dropped riders. 

42km remaining from 186km

And now Conti has attacked with 42km to go, and the gap at 4;00. He had dropped back to the car just before the summit of that last climb, so clear UAE have a plan in place. As soon as the gap dropped to 4'00 he attacked. 

 

Sanchez, meanwhile, is coming back through the bunch. Nieve now takes it up for Mitchleton, and he looks fresh, having sat back most of the day. The bunch crest the Passo Duron 3'37 down on the break.

 

Astana, and Mitchleton are fighting for control on the front of the bunch on the descent. 37km to go. The maglia rosa group down to around 40 riders. 

 

More and more riders are making contact with the rest of the field on descent, Chaves included, having been dropped on the Passo Duron.

 

Conti has been caught by the main field too, with the gap now down to 3'27.

 

We're closing on the penultimate climb of the Selle Valcalda Ravascletto. It's 'only' a third cat but will still test the peloton and the break, with the gap at 3'13 with 29km to go.

 

Yates has four men left, but Chaves is not there. It looked like he was coming back to the peloton but he's not there, as we see Pinot take on some fuel. The leaders have just 3'03 on the peloton, with two more climbs to come.

 

Jensen is setting the pace for Yates, who still has three more strong climbers with him but Aru, Pinot, Dumoulin, Pozzovivo Froome, and Bennett all have support too. 

 

The break are flying on this short downhill section, as Montaguti finally takes off his rain jacket. He'd had that on most of the stage. The gap is down to just 2'39.

 

25km remaining from 186km

The pace from the bunch is rapid, to say the least and the penultimate climb is going to see the race split up. We could even get to the foot of the Zoncolan with less than 20 riders left in contention. 25km to go.

 

It's still Juul Jensen on the front for Yates as we see AG2R move up with Geniez. Movistar are organising their effort too, as the bunch line out. Froome has Poels right next to him, a little further back in the main field.

 

You can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

 

And you can still download the hugely popular THE HOLY WEEK too. 

EF are bringing Woods up as well, as we see a Bahrain rider dish out some final stash of gels and bars. Just 1'55 for the break on the penultimate climb of the day. 

 

It's a wearing down process as we see riders drop off the back of the peloton in their ones and twos. Jensen has dropped off the pace too, leaving Yates with three men to support him over the final two climbs.

 

Up front and Didier takes a long turn for the break but he's running on fumes now as we see Barbin create a small gap. Didier actually goes after him, and Conti is about to make contact. The Trek rider then attacks but the gap is only at 1'10 with 21km to go.

 

Now it's Conti's turn and Didier is dropped. We're down to three riders but Conti goes again and only Barbin can respond. Now it's just a battle for pride and the KOM points of course.

 

It's Krueziger on the front now for Mitchelton as see a few more riders dropped from the peloton. Just Conti and Barbin left at the front of the race now, with the gap at 1'12.

 

Froome is near the front, and has two men around him for support. He doesn't look comfortable but when does he? Appearances can be deceptive. 

 

20km remaining from 186km

Over the top of the climb and Conti takes the points ahead of Barbin. 20km to go.

 

Montaguti and Didier crest the climb a few seconds later and might make it back on the descent before the climb up Monte Zoncolan. 

 

15km remaining from 186km

15km to go and the slog up Monte Zoncolan is about to begin. Here we go. 

 

The two leaders still have 1'10 but that's not going to be enough. They'll last 1km maybe 2km on the final ascent and that's about it. 

 

Conti and Barbin are full of effort though, as they look for every second as the climb approaches. 

 

11km to go. 

 

Dennis is near the front too, with De Marchi there to support him. No sign of Roche at all. Astana have the numbers here but how long will they last as Lopez looks to move up, as we see Nieve take over the Mitchelton. Just him and Haig left to support Yates now. Conti is about to lead onto the climb.

 

And we're onto the Zoncolan, Bahrain and Astana leading at the moment at the head of the peloton. It's a real battle just for position as we hit the lower slopes.

 

22% max, 11-12% average, this is a brutal climb and the peloton line out, with Yates near the back of the maglia rosa group.

 

Nice. Anton has attacked with 9km to go. He won here in 2011. He's unlikely to win today, but he's showing real courage by attacking at this stage. Bravo.

 

Yates has moved back up as we see Aru and Froome near the back of the group. Anton, meanwhile has a gap, as Conti goes alone at the front of the race. Barbin has cracked.

 

Froome is right at the back of the group. That's not a good sign at all with 8.3km to go.

Conti is riding well though, still with 32 seconds on the Yates group. Anton is riding well as we see Carthy attack. Meanwhile Sanchez leads the peloton.

 

Anton has now linked up with Bardin, with Visconti setting the pace for the bunch. The gradient is about to become ridiculously steep.

 

Anton drops Bardin. Can he pull of a miracle?

 

7km remaining from 186km

7.5km to go and Anton has 19 seconds. Dennis, Dennis is being dropped. 

 

Froome has moved up, however, as we see Dennis lose ground already. Conti is about to be caught by Anton with 7.2km to go.

 

Anton goes by the UAE rider and sets the pace. It's Poels now setting the pace for Sky at the front but it's only dropping Henao. Poels is on the front on the Zoncolan eating a bar. Now he looks back to see where his leader is. 

 

Dumoulin and Aru are suffering with 6.9km to go. 

 

Dumoulin is losing ground. He's at the back of the bunch and just keeping it together but this doesn't look good, even if he's riding to a strategy because there's such a long way to go.

 

6km remaining from 186km

6.6km to go and Anton has been caught. All together. 

 

And Froome is moving to the front now. Slowly but surely as we see an attack from Woods. 

 

Dumoulin is still there at the back of the group but if the attacks come he could be in serious trouble.

 

Woods is clear now with 6.4km to go. He has a gap and he's going for this. Poels is trying to keep him in check. 

 

Dumoulin comes around a few riders, and just sits at the back of the group. Yates is just waiting and waiting in third wheel.

 

There's a gap. Dumoulin has to close this as they take on another steep corner. 

 

Woods only has about two seconds as both Aru and Dumoulin dig in and close the gap. Poels is looking so strong at the moment, as he strings out the GC  group. 

 

5.9km to go and Aru is being dropped. He comes back but he and Formolo are in trouble. Dumoulin comes around both riders and just holds on.

 

Yates, he looks so comfortable at the moment. 5.8km to go.

 

Aru and Formolo are fighting back and Froome now is second wheel, behind Poels. 

 

Woods is caught, Poels is flying.

 

Carapaz, Betancur, Pozzovivo, Pinot are there. I can't see Bennett though.

 

Formolo has popped. 5.4km to go.

 

Aru will be next, surely. as Betancur cracks.

 

Aru has gone, with 5.3km to go and Carapaz is slipping off the back as well. 

 

Lopez is still there by the way and Dumoulin has moved up. Woods is dropped though and Carapaz. 

 

Pinot has a man with him but still it's Poels who sets the pace. Yates moves out and takes a look at who is left. Just eight riders left in the maglia rosa group. 

 

Froome, Poels, Dumoulin, Yates, Lopez, another FDJ rider, Pozzovivo, Pinot. 

 

4km remaining from 186km

4.8km to go and Poels accelerates again. Lopez takes a look. He wants to attack but now isn't the time. 

 

Aru is coming back, as we see him about to catch woods. Bennett, Dennis, Bilbao, Aru, Konrad, Carapaz, all dropped already.

 

Yates comes alongside Froome and gives him a long hard look. Dumoulin is at the back and just riding to tempo. 

 

4km remaining from 186km

And Froome has attacked.

 

Yates, Pozzovivo, and Lopez are the only ones who respond. 

 

And Froome goes again. Froome has attacked twice and his miracle recover is on.

 

4km to go. Froome is on a better day, that's for sure. He's spinning up the climb and Pozzovivo, Yates and Lopez are chasing. The Dumoulin/Pinot group are slowing coming back. 

 

Froome's gap is just a few seconds, as we see Dumoulin coming back to the Yates group.

 

Pinot is riding defensively at the moment, and just holding the defending champion.

 

And Yates raises the pace, just as Dumoulin was coming back. Dumoulin can't respond at the moment.

 

Froome has 12 seconds as Yates leads the chase, with Pozzovivo and Lopez on his wheel. This is still a matter of seconds, and Dumoulin will be fine with that.

 

Froome out of the saddle and kicks again. That gap is growing, for sure. 

 

3km remaining from 186km

Dumoulin and Pinot are just tapping away and holding the gap to the Yates group and Yates attacks with 3km to go. He has dropped Pozzovivo and Lopez.

 

Can Yates close the 13 second gap to Froome? 

 

It's down to 11 seconds, now 10 as Dumoulin loses more time. 

 

Dumoulin is around 20 seconds down on Yates with 2.7km to go.

 

Froome has 10 seconds on Yates, as we see Lopez as has dropped Pozzovivo.

 

Lopez is closing but so too is Yates. Froome kicks again and takes a couple more seconds. 2.5km to go.

 

Pinot remains glued to Dumoulin's wheel. Froome is holding his own, 10 seconds of a lead on Yates. 2.2km to go.

 

Dumoulin is slowly losing time on Yates, with the gap at around 25 seconds. 11 seconds for Froome over Yates. 

 

Another second in the bank for Froome. It's gone back out to 11 seconds with 1.8km to go.

 

Dumoulin throws caution to the wind, he has no choice as he powers up the climb. He's losing more and more time and Yates is accelerating away from him. Froome has 13 seconds over the Mitchelton leader.

 

Yates can see Froome. The gap is closing, and it's at 9 seconds with 1km to go. 8 seconds now. Yates is coming back.

 

That's less than 8 seconds. It's more like 5. Dumoulin is holding his own.

 

Froome looks over his shoulder as he goes through one of the tunnels. 600m to go and the gap is at 4 seconds.

 

500m to go. This is incredible. 

 

The road kicks up again.

 

Froome goes again. Can Yates respond?

 

It's two seconds between the pair.

 

Yates has to close the gap now if he wants the stage.

 

200m to go.

 

Froome digs in. Yates kicks again.

 

Froome pulls away for one final time. He's going to take the stage. 

 

Stage win for Chris Froome. Yates is second at 3 seconds.

 

Here comes Pozzovivo, and then Lopez.

 

And here comes Dumoulin. That's a great comeback from the defending champion.

 

Bennett and Carapaz come over the line, two minutes down. Aru is next, and he's lost over two minutes down. Dennis 2;30. 

 

Here is the top-ten for the stage:

 

1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 5:25:31
2 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:06
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:23
4 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
5 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:37
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:42
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:01
8 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:01
9 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01
10 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:01

 

Where did that ride from Chris Froome come from? He had trouble staying upright earlier in the week but today he's put the peloton to the sword. The time gap to Yates wasn't huge but that's over 40 seconds on Dumoulin and over 50 on Pinot. 

 

And here's the GC after those incredible scenes:

 

General classification after stage 14
1 Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 61:19:51
2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:24
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:37
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:46
5 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:10
6 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:03:42
7 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:03:56
8 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:04:04
9 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:04:29
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:43

 

Last time he went up this climb Froome finished 22 minutes down on the leaders in 2010. Today he can celebrate his stage win. He's on the rollers right now, after an unbelievable day at the Giro d'Italia. 

 

Side note, you can pre-order our next film on Vimeo. It's called CRESCENDO, and we're going to focus on the final week of the Giro, with more behind the scenes tales from the race. It's out on June 1 but you can pick it up at our special pre-order price now. 

 

And you can still download the hugely popular THE HOLY WEEK too. 

It all came down to the Zoncolan and it was Poels who set things up for Froome with a long turn on the front. Then with 4.3km to go Froome attacked. His first acceleration brought Lopez, Pozzovivo and Yates with him. The second kick saw the Team Sky rider go clear, and despite a late chase from Yates Froome held on to take the win.

 

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

 

Here's Froome at the finish.

 

First Giro victory: It is a really, really special feeling winning on top of this climb. Such an amazing feeling. It’s such a monumental climb for the Giro d’Italia, such a monumental climb for the race in general. It’s such a good feeling, especially after a hard start to the race for me and the team. The team has supported me so well in these last two weeks, so to get the victory today really means a lot.

 

Why attack at 4km? I felt like that was the moment where the race was really on the limit. I felt that was the moment for me to go. I’d obviously done the recon here and knew the last few kilometres. The team had done a great job pulling me to that moment, Wout had done a really big effort and made it really hard up until that point. Even right to the line, Simon was just behind me. I kept hearing five seconds, ten seconds, five seconds. I didn’t know if he was going to catch me or not. It was such a relief to get into that last 100m and to hear I was going to win the stage.

 

David de la Cruz (Team Sky)


It was good teamwork throughout the whole day. Wout did some great work for Chris on the climb to pull him up halfway. We’ve executed our game plan to perfection. It was a really important stage and it’s important for the team to get the stage win.

Sergio Henao (Team Sky)

(Still going for the overall win) We have to think that if someone can do it, it’s Chris. He’s already won the Tour de France four times and one time the Vuelta a Espana. If there is someone who can make it, I have a feeling it’s him.

 

 Rohan Dennis (BMC)

I was expecting it to be bad and it was. I think anybody who’s over 70kg is going to hate that climb, and anyone under 60 is going to love it. I knew it was going to hurt, so I just rode my own pace. After that first kicker there was a bit of a downhill. I thought if I could stay with them there and it doesn’t hurt too much and I get a free run into the proper climb, from there I just rode my own tempo.


I’m happy with my ride. I was surprised with how much I lost, considering I was holding really good power the whole way up. It’s good to see where I am at on a climb like this but I’m hoping it’s not a climb that we do again very soon.
 

Today I lost a lot of time to the leaders - the ones in the podium position - but the top 10 is still in reach, and the time trial is going to help me a lot. Tomorrow’s another hard day, but it will probably feel easy compared with today. I just need to stay switched on for another 180km and then it’s a rest day and the TT.

Further down the standings today:

11 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:48
12 George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:55
13 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team 0:02:00
14 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:10
15 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:02:17
16 Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data
17 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:23
18 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
19 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:02:35
20 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:02:44

 

Fabio Aru
 

 "I'm disappointed, I felt I was not strong: this is not the real Fabio Aru."


"During the stage the feelings were not so bad, but on the Zoncolan I was poor in power and I could not be competitive. This is not my level, it's something unusual for me and together with the team we'll try to search the reason of this situation. I don't know in this moment which could be the best way to approach the rest of the Giro, I know that I'm really sorry for not being able to be at the top, because my team, me and everybody did everything in the best possible way and many sacrifices to be at the Giro being competitive. Froome today realized an impressive winning performance, never say never, I hope the things could become better for me too".

 

That about it from us today. If like me you're struggling to get your head around a dramatic day at the Giro d'Italia, don't worry. We'll have news and full analysis later on today. 


Coming up, Kirsten Frattini with live coverage from the final stage of the Tour of California. I'm back tomorrow with stage 15 of the Giro. 

 

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