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Monday, May 23, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. - Victor Hugo


Story of the Giro d'Italia, volume 1

Bill and Carol McGann's book The Story of the Giro d'Italia, A Year-by-Year History of the Tour of Italy, Vol 1: 1909 - 1970 is available in print, Kindle eBook & audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia stage fifteen team reports

We posted the report from GC second-place Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Giulio Ciccone's Team Trek-Segafredo:

Only 24 hours after Trek-Segafredo ceded the Maglia Rosa, Giulio Ciccone took the reins and delivered the Team a stage win in the 2022 Giro d’Italia. It has been a race to behold for the US-registered WorldTour team.

Giulio Ciccone wins stage fifteen. Sirotti photo.

When Juan Pedro Lopez finished 2nd in Stage 4 and claimed the pink jersey, holding it through Stage 14, Trek-Segafredo’s Giro already has been its best in a few years, but when Ciccone grabbed a dominating and emotional solo win in Stage 15 – a day later – the Team topped all expectations.  And there’s still a week to go!

“I tried everything because my legs today were really good,” said an emotional Ciccone. “I think this has been my most beautiful victory. Even better than the yellow jersey in the Tour de France, even better than my first stage win in the Giro. This is my 3rd, but this has an indescribable value for me. It’s been a really difficult period when you try and try to win, and nothing happens. It really tries your mental strength. I did not feel like myself for a while, and I kept waiting and waiting, and today I found it.”

Ciccone was a man on a mission in Stage 15. He had good legs but even bigger motivation. When he joined the large breakaway group that formed on the first mountain of three in the 158-kilometer race, there was no holding him back.

“I think today I found my feeling again. It’s the way I approached the last climb, attacking, making the others tired. First we were 4, then 3, then 2 and then I decided to go alone. That’s my way to ride and I am really, really happy that I found again this feeling,” he said.

Dubbed as the Team’s general classification leader coming into the Italian Grand Tour, that goal was shattered on the first big mountain test of the race. If there was any disappointment, Giulio did not show it. Instead, he focused on supporting his teammate, who was having the most significant moment of his young career; the revelation of this year’s Giro.

“I knew I came into this Giro with some question marks,” Cicco explained. “The approach was not the best. I had to take antibiotics during the training camp, I missed Fleche, Liege, and this is why I decided to live this Giro day by day. Of course, I had the thought of GC but after Blockhaus it was clear this was not possible. Blockhaus was a very bad day for me physically but maybe more for my morale. But I promised myself after this that I was ready to change my race around and set new goals.”

When Juanpe’s pink jersey run ended on Stage 14, Cicco wasted no time on the Team’s next goal, jumping into the escape group on Stage 15 with teammate Bauke Mollema.

“I have an amazing team. We have a good spirit in the Team after 10 days with Juanpe in the jersey.,” he continued. “When we saw the GC was no longer possible, we switched our goal to go for a stage. Bauke was close a few days ago, and today we did it.”

Mentally and physically, Cicco was clearly the strongest of the 25-rider breakaway, and he didn’t even try to hide his cards. He attacked early and often until he was finally alone with 18 kilometers remaining.

“I tried and tried and tried, and then I went on the steep part because the last part of the climb was false flat,” explained Cicco. “In my mind, I said, ‘okay, if I go alone here, I can arrive because otherwise, in a sprint with 2 or 3 riders, you never know what can happen.”

“I tried everything because my legs today were really good. It was the best choice I could make.”

Giulio powered onward, increasing his gap and never letting off the accelerator. This was a long-awaited moment, and he was not taking any chances.

In the last kilometer, he had 90 seconds in hand, and plenty of time to zip up his jersey and let the beautiful moment take over. And in his trademark victory celebration, his Koos went to some lucky fan, again.

At the finish, he fell into the arms of his team staff. The emotions raw, real. It was his 3rd Giro win, but after a few years of struggling with injury and health – and just plain bad luck – his most meaningful.

“Since 2019, my best season so far, I think many bad facts happened and I was not able to show who Giulio Ciccone was. Especially last year I was really unlucky at the Giro and Vuelta. For me, I was always confident, but it’s always difficult to confirm yourself again,” added Cicco.

“Finally this win came. I really needed it because after a really difficult period I needed to raise my arms in the air again. I think today I can say I can start another career.”

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Here's the Giro report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

The INEOS Grenadiers put in a fine team performance to ensure Richard Carapaz enters the final rest day of the Giro d’Italia as the race leader.

The Grenadiers took control of the 177km stage to Cogne, ensuring a strong pace on the final two climbs to deter any attacks from Carapaz’s rivals.

The Ecuadorian then sprinted home with the other GC favourites after Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) had claimed the stage victory from the breakaway. 
In the opening kilometres, Carapaz was involved in a small crash in the peloton but was fortunate to land softly in a field and was able to continue immediatley.

Ricard Carapaz gets help after a crash early in the stage. RCS Sport photo

He was helped back to the peloton by the Grenadiers, who were active in helping to control the bunch in a fast-paced start to stage 15.

Once the break finally escaped the peloton after over 80km of racing, the Grenadiers took control on the front of the bunch with every rider contributing to the pacemaking.

Ciccone claimed the stage victory with an impressive solo attack, with Carapaz finishing as part of a reduced peloton which contained the other team leaders.

Richard Carapaz:
“I fell at the start of the stage but fortunately there were no consequences, I just had to change bikes. Then the stage went smoothly, the race scenario was good. Initially it was a hard race, afterwards we had everything under control.“


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Here’s the report from stage fifteen second-place Santiago Buitrago’s Team Bahrain Victorious

Santiago Buitrago put on an impressive display from the breakaway on Stage 15 at the Giro d’Italia, crossing the line in second atop of Cogne.

Santiago Buitrago finishes second. Sirotti photo

Following his breakaway efforts and a fifth-place finish on stage 12, Buitrago fought hard to get away today as the peloton closed down several attempts. With about 100km to go, a large group of 22 riders were allowed to go, including Buitrago.

A group of three then pushed the paced and gapped the rest of the breakaway by 1:30 until Buitrago, Ciccone, and Pedrero picked things up and moved to bridge the gap. Once they caught the three riders up the road, they further pushed on, leaving them behind on Verrogne.

Another chase group eventually latched on to the race leaders, making it a group of six riders, until the eventual stage winner Ciccone continued to attack, dropping the group down to three, including Buitrago. Attacks kept flying from Ciccone in the final 20km and eventually got away from Buitrago to take the stage win.

Despite his disappointment in finishing second at the finish line, Buitrago was happy with his performance: “It was another day in the breakaway, and it was really hard to get away. Finally, Ciccone was too strong, and I ended up in second place. Obviously, I’m disappointed not to have won the stage, but it is also an important second place for me. Let’s see if there are other opportunities in the last week.”


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And here’s the report from Domenico Pozzovivo’s Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

At the end of the fifteenth stage of the Giro, which ended on a mountain top, Domenico Pozzovivo and Jan Hirt finished in the maglia rosa group. In contrary to the previous day, the favorites didn’t battle on the final climb in Cogne, after a particularly fast beginning of the stage.

Domenico Pozzovivo finishing stage fourteen. Sirotti photo

The first 75 kilometer were covered at a speed of more than 50 kilometer per hour because of the battle for the early breakaway. This group was finally formed at the foot of Pila-Les-Fleurs and gained an advantage of more than five minutes at the top. Despite an acceleration in the maglia rosa group on the following climb Verrogne, the escapees battled for the stage win in Cogne. Pozzovivo and Hirt were well protected all day and will start the final week in 5th and 12th position in the general classification.

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