Giro d'Italia (st. 15)
Ecuadorian brilliantly supported by Movistar Team, adds 40″ to advantage against Roglic (TJV) in ‘little Lombardia’, prior to second rest day; Mikel Landa remains in 5th spot overall.
Richard Carapaz and the Movistar Team started its defense of the 2019 Giro d’Italia leader’s jersey in style, even able to open the gaps against their nearest GC competitors. The squad directed by Chente García Acosta and Maximilian Sciandri managed its pieces with intelligence and the Blues deployed huge strength during the marathon stage fifteen, a 234km journey with its final route over the roads of the Il Lombardia classic.
Lluís Mas and Jasha Sütterlin led the bunch early as a two-man breakaway with Mattia Cattaneo (ANS) and eventual stage winner Dario Cataldo (AST) gained sixteen minutes over the bunch, not posing a threat to the overall standings. Later on, at the final climbs to Madonna del Ghisallo (Cat-2), Colma di Sormano (Cat-2) and Civiglio (Cat-3), the duties were evenly distribuited between the Blue climbers: Héctor Carretero followed the moves of Simon Yates (MTS); Andrey Amador and José Joaquín Rojas drove the pace in the approach to the climbs; and Antonio Pedrero kept Carapaz behind his wheel until halfway through the final ascent, where the attacks from Vincenzo Nibali (TBM) tore the field into pieces.
The Italian took command of the second group on the road, with Carapaz on his wheel, while Mikel Landa briefly left behind a pursuit including Primoz Roglic (TJV). The Slovenian sustained a crash into the Civiglio descent, which made him concede 40″ against Carapaz, while the Ecuadorian, initially a bit off skilled descender Nibali, had no troubles to bridge back. The general classification before the second rest day sees Carapaz with 47″ over Roglic and 1’47” over Nibali, as Landa remains in fifth place before the huge Mortirolo climb on Tuesday.
REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“We knew it’d be a difficult day and, most importantly, a tense finish. We felt quite alright when it comes to legs, both my team-mates and myself. Nibali was the one with a stronger will to attack today, driving the pace late into that final climb and also descending quite fast. He really helped splitting the field and we eventually gained some seconds as a result. In my case, I just tried to follow his wheel into the downhill, yet trying not to risk too much to avoid any crashes. After the descent, I was able to bridge back to his wheel, and we were able to gain those seconds against Roglic, which are always good. (Asked about thoughts on Nibali) He’s really strong, one of the most dangerous rivals I’ll face next week, I think we’ll come across each other a lot (laughs). Hopefully we can have a beautiful battle and make the fans enjoy the show. I’m so happy to see everyone in my country supporting me, I send them my love and thank them for staying close to me. Now it’s all about enjoying that final rest day – it will be good for both myself and the team before the upcoming, tough stages in the final week.”
Cover picture (c): BettiniPhoto