The course of the fourteenth Giro stage was somewhat strange. In the opening phase there was a huge Alpine col on the program, but after the descent 150 mainly flat kilometers remained. Normally, the sprinter teams would control such a ride, but due to the many hollowed-out teams, different scenarios were possible.
This was also evident when the match started. It was hard fought to get into the flight of the day. After about thirty kilometers, just before the start of the Samplonpass, (20 kilometers at 6.6%), a large leading group of no less than 29 riders emerged. There were renowned climbers in the front, such as Bauke Mollema. But sprinters like Gaviria and Mayrhoffer were also present. There was hardly any control, so the diverse escape group fought for day success.
Fierce battle for stage victory
Before the battle for the stage started, Davide Bais made another important battle in the mountains classification. The Italian from EOLO – Kometa took the full blow on the Samplonpass and sent Thibaut Pinot back to second place.
Alberto Bettiol opened the ball in the leading group with sixty kilometers to go. After the Italian’s failure, the game was over. After a maze of demarrages, a guard was formed with Toms Skujins, Davide Ballerini, Stefano Oldani and the Belgian Laurenz Rex.
INEOS gives up pink
In extremis, the front runners were joined by a number of pursuers, including: Derrek Gee, Nico Denz, Mayrhoffer. Eight men finally sprinted for victory: Nico Denz beat Derek Gee in a chilling millimeter sprint. Bettiol was also able to return and took third.
Incidentally, something remarkable happened in the peloton. INEOS drove so slowly that the pink jersey will be on Bruno Armirail’s shoulders tomorrow, prior to this stage the Frenchman was eighteen (!) minutes. Tomorrow there will be a very difficult hill stage for the Giro participants.