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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, May 26, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat. - Robert A. Heinlein

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Giro removes Gavia Pass from stage 16

Here's the organizer's short note:

Due to the persisting bad weather conditions, despite the considerable effort devoted by the administrations of the provinces of Sondrio and Brescia, which provided numerous crews that worked day and night in order to clear the routes, and whom we would like to thank sincerely, the Organisation Direction informs that, in order to safeguard riders’ safety, stage 16 Lovere-Ponte di Legno, will have a new route. [Notably, the Gavia Pass will not be climbed]

The start and finish cities remain unchanged. The stage will have a total length of 194 kilometres [It had been 226 km].

The Cima Coppi will be set on Passo Manghen, during stage 20.

Stage 16 map

The new stage 16 map

Stage 16 profile

The new stage 16 profile

Giro d'Italia stage 14 team reports

We posted the organizer's and stage winner Richard Carapaz's Team Movistar reports with the results

Here's the report from second-place Simon Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team:

After a tough day yesterday and despite losing touch on today’s longest climb, Simon Yates bravely fought back to finish second on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia.

Simon Yates finishes second. Sirotti photo

Yates finished one-minute 32seconds behind Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) who won the stage solo, but after a long chase Yates managed to gain 22seconds on the remainder of the general classification riders.

With five classified climbs in just 131km of racing, there was no time to waste to force an aggressive stage.

After the disappointment of yesterday, Simon Yates was one of the main instigators on the first climb, but the GC players were straight on his wheel despite the Brit sitting over eight minutes down on the general classification.

When the breakaway did form, it was Chris Juul-Jensen once again to represent Mitchelton-SCOTT before Lucas Hamilton also bridged across to give the team two riders in the front group of eight. Another counter saw four more riders join the breakaway and with 50km remaining, they held a two-minute advantage on the bunch.

An attack from Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) distanced Yates on the Colle San Carlo, but the Briton maintained his pace, hovering just behind the main group of contenders. As Hamilton dropped back from the front group, he joined up with Yates to continue the pace efforts.

As Carapaz attacked solo, Yates fought on, almost re-joining the main group of contenders a number of times only for fresh attacks to spring up and increase the pace.

Yates crested the main climb around 15seconds behind, maintain the gap on the descent before eventually connecting the group in the valley as they began to look at each other. As Carapaz continued to extend his lead, Yates attacked the chase group and fought all the way to the line to finish second in an incredible display of heart.

Simon Yates:
"I wasn't able to go with the best guys yesterday and I had to ride the climb at my own pace. I did the same today also but I was closer and I managed to come back through the valley when they were looking at each other later in the race.

Keep fighting is the main thing. We still have a long way to go. Of course I know it's going to be very difficult now, I am not under any illusion about that, especially with how my rivals are going, but we will see how the next few days go.

"I tried to attack this morning on the very first climb and the big guys wouldn't let me go, I was marked quite heavily there. I was not expecting to be so heavily marked because I'm so far behind now.

"I was still a little bit behind where I wanted to be, where most of the action happened, but I will keep plugging away, keep fighting and go from there."

Matt White - Head Sports Director:
"Today has caught up with a lot of people and for us it’s gone in a very good direction and it’s really good signs for tomorrow and obviously for an extraordinarily hard last week.

“Simon and the team are in a good mental space. We came here to ride general classification, we came here to win the bike race and we’re going to do all we can to try to achieve that. Obviously we’ve got a lot of work to do, but step-by-step we’re going to move our way up and today was a nice start and a good confidence boost for Simon.”

Fourth-place Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this update:

On the 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia, which took the peloton over 131km through the highlands from Saint-Vincent to Courmayeur, the riders had to crest five categorised climbs and no less than 3000 metres of climbing. Only 7 km after the start, the route went upwards to Verrayes. 

A few kilometres later, a first category climb to Verrogne, which had a gradient of more than 7 per cent, awaited the peloton, before yet more climbing over the Truc d’Arbre and the Colle San Carlo, the latter of which was up to 10 per cent steep. After the peak came a descent into the Aosta valley, consisting of numerous twists and turns, before the climbing began yet again towards the finishing town of Courmayeur. It did not take long before a large group of riders, including Rafal Majka and Davide Formolo, escaped on the first climb. Eight riders then forged ahead and put themselves at the front. The chasing group allowed them the freedom to go and the advantage grew to around 2:30 minutes.

In the climb to Verrogne, the longest ascent of the day, the main field caught up to the chasers.  At this point, a quartet attacked from the chasing group and set after the eight leaders. Meanwhile, back in the field Jumbo - Visma took the reins on the ascent to keep the distance to the leaders, which at times was more than two minutes, to a minimum. 

On the flat before the third climb, the Truc d'Arbes, the chasing quartet caught up to the eight leaders and they sat 2 minutes ahead of the main field. The distance to the peloton, which was still lead by Jumbo - Visima, remained at around two minutes.

Back in the field, Rafal Majka, supported by his teammates Davide Formolo, Pawel Poljanski and Cesare Benedetti, came to the front at the beginning of the torturous climb. The ascent took no prisoners, and several riders were forced to fall back. With 30 km to the finish, V. Nibali attacked, however a few riders were able to follow. Again supported by Davide, Rafal countered and was joined by riders like Roglic and Nibali, while the Italian BORA - hansgrohe rider fell back somewhat.

Shortly before cresting the top of the climb, the chasers caught up to the leaders, which was followed by an attack from R. Carapaz, who was able to shake off his rivals.  In the meantime S. Yates and B. Mollema are unable to follow the group of favourites. With 25km to go Rafal made it back into the group of V. Nibali and P. Roglic. In the descent of the Colle San Carlo, R. Carapaz, the sole leader was able to extend his advantage to more than a minute over the chasers. 

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz was the stage fourteen winner. Sirotti photo

In the meantime S. Yates was able to catch up to the small group of favourites and eventually surpass them. In the end R. Carapaz secured the stage win after four hours in the saddle. Rafal Majka arrived around 1:50 minutes later in the group of V. Nibali and P. Roglic, taking fourth place. With his performance today he now sits in fourth in the overall classification while his teammate Davide takes 12th place.

From the finish line:
“The guys did a great job today, particularly in the way that they brought me to the last climb. I had three teammates with me, with Pawel and Cesare working particularly hard to bring me into a good position before the last climb. In the end, Davide was there to support me and he put in a very strong effort to keep me with the GC contenders for the first 5km of the climb. It was especially important that he did not over pace me, and I’m very happy that he achieved the perfect balance. Today was a crucial stage, and particularly after yesterday’s tough day in the saddle, I am happy with the way the stage went today.” - Rafal Majka

“We had planned for a hectic stage, by virtue of the short length of today’s route, and our goal was to support our GC leader, Rafal Majka, one hundred percent. We achieved this very well, with Rafal having his helpers surrounding him until the decisive climb. Particularly noteworthy is Davide Formolo, who supported Rafal exceptionally on the last climb. In the end, Rafal was able to take fourth place, and demonstrated with that result that he belongs to the best climbers that are in attendance here. Tomorrow could be a day that suits the breakaway, and after that comes the rest day. In the last week of the Giro, anything can happen, both positive and negative, and we need to be prepared for those eventualities but we’re confident that we’ll be able to achieve the goals that we came here with.” - Christian Poemer, Sports Director

Sunweb's Sam Oomen abandons. Here's the sad news from Ommen's Team Sunweb:

Team Sunweb’s difficult Giro d’Italia continues as Sam Oomen leaves the race on its 14th day after a crash on a descent early on in the stage. Already suffering from an earlier crash on stage six, Oomen has had a challenging few days trying to overcome various aches and pains. The crash today amplified his injuries, with Oomen no longer able to continue in the race.

Sam oomen

Sam Oomen having a better day in 2016 as he wins a stage in the Tour de l'Ain.

Oomen said: “The injuries from the crash last week were still bothering me but I really wanted to continue and try to see it through. I was on the ground for a while after the crash and could hardly get up. I couldn’t stand on my right leg anymore and I knew it was over. I’m really disappointed to leave the Giro like this, this isn’t what I came here for. But it is what it is.”

Team Sunweb physician Stephan Jacolino continued: “Sam came down pretty hard today with the impact of the fall making it really difficult for him to stand on his right leg anymore. He has sustained multiple bruises and cuts across his body, along with the other injuries already bothering him from his crash last week. The results of both crashes meant that continuing just wasn’t possible anymore as he was in too much pain.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Circumstances have meant that Sam wasn’t able to continue today. Today’s crash coupled with last weeks incident have meant that it was too much to go on. It’s been a very difficult few weeks for us and we are of course disappointed, but that’s bike racing. We’ll keep trying with the guys we have left and try to make the most of our time here.”

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