The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 15
1st – Simon Yates
2nd – M.A Lopez @ 0:41
3rd – Tom Dumoulin @ 0:41
The only day of this Giro in the Dolomites, Stage 15 featured four categorized climbs, before an uncategorized ramp to the line. 176km in total, it was another day with non-stop racing; the last 3 categorised climbs were all Cat 2, while the finish itself was begging for a long range attack.
Simon Yates extended his Maglia Rosa lead over Tom Dumoulin to 2:11, and held his KOM Jersey lead. No sprint action occurred so Elia Viviani held onto the Points Jersey, though Yates could feature in that competition if he can keep winning stages and collecting points. M.A Lopez also held onto the Young Riders’ Jersey, as he and Richard Carapaz finished together.
A break took a long time to get away with the stage looking break-friendly, but a group of 25 went away including Giovanni Visconti, Alessandro De Marchi, Zdenek Stybar, Sacha Modolo, Diego Ulissi, Gianluca Brambilla, Sam Bewley, Antonio Nibali, Dayer Quintana, Mickael Cherel and Nico Denz. They only got around 3:00, which was closed to 1:00 with 70km to go, when Michael Woods launched an attack.
Woods bridged to the second group on the road, which had split on the second climb of the day, the Passo Tre Croci. He never reached the front three of Denz, Cherel and Quintana, so sat up with around 45km to go. The rest of the break were all swept up by the bottom of the final climb, the Cat 2 Costalissoio.
The Winning move
On the Costalissoio, Jack Haig split the GC bunch, taking Yates, Dumoulin, Lopez, Pozzovivo, Pinot and Carapaz with him, and leaving Bilbao and Froome behind in the second group. This was clearly some sort of plan from Mitchelton-SCOTT, with Yates then attacking several times himself and establishing a gap with 18 km to go.
Yates topped the Costalissoio with a 20-second gap over Gruppo Dumoulin, and 1:10 over Gruppo Froome. Without a lot of cohesion behind him, Yates’ gap grew on the descent and the flat section in the valley. On the final ramp to the line, the chasing group began to attack each other, with Dumoulin himself cracking. He made it back into that group as they still couldn’t work together, but Simon Yates was sailing away for his third stage win of this Giro.
The GC Movers and Shakers
Yates just has this magical Quintana-like aura around him where he always just looks so calm and in control of the race. The combination of that confidence and his Stelvio-sized cojones means he’s just been attacking relentlessly all race. This Giro has turned into a GC battle nearly every second day – that’s perfect for a punchy man like Yates, and it's ultimately what’s cracked the metronomic Dumoulin.
Dumoulin made it back into the Pinot group somehow after cracking, but this was his worst day of the Giro so far. He’s now 2:11 back on Yates in the GC; even if this was just a bad day and he rebounds in the final week, he’s going to need to improve to win this race. If he took 3:00 in the TT, (which would be the absolute maximum you could foresee) then he’d have barely 50 seconds to lose over three tough, tough days in the final week, and that seems unlikely,
Chris Froome’s flippy floppy form continued to flip-flop, with Froome flipping back to being a flop. He was distanced as soon as the real race started, and lost 1:31 to Yates in the end – he’s now 4:52 down on the Maglia Rosa. This Giro seems a real passing of the torch moment for British cycling, and Yates looks odds-on to win the first British Giro.
15th- Ben O'Connor @1:20 (12th on GC @7:12)
16th- Rohan Dennis @1:20 (11th on GC @6:42)
20th- Jack Haig
31st- Adam Hansen
57th- Chris Hamilton
150th- Zak Dempster
155th- Mitch Docker
A much needed rest day greets the peloton before a massive TT showdown.