Richard Carapaz of Movistar is the new leader of the Giro d’Italia, taking his second stage victory of this year’s race in today’s Stage 14 of the race to Courmayeur, with Simon Yates of Mitchelton-Scott finishing second.
Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic had begun the day in second place overall 2 minutes 25 seconds down on his fellow Slovenian Jan Polanc of UAE Team Emirates, and had been widely expected to retake the race lead today, but Carapaz’s solo attack on the day’s major climb saw him ride into pink.
At 131 kilometres, today’s stage from Saint-Vincent was the shortest road stage of this year’s race but with five climbs, it has a saw toothed profile, with the biggest climb being the Colle San Carlo, crested around 25 kilometres from the finish.
Once again it was a frantic start to the stage as riders tried to get into the break, and among them was Trek-Sagafredo’s Giulio Ciccone, back in the blue jersey of mountains classification leader as he went on the hunt for more points, the Italian cresting the first three climbs at the head of the race.
The break, initially comprising eight riders and joined by four more shortly after the halfway point of the stage, wasn’t given much leeway by the peloton today, with Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team doing much of the work at the front of the bunch.
Their efforts paid off, with Polanc struggling to hold on to the back of the group with 34 kilometres still to ride, and with Vincenzo Nibali and his Bahrain-Merida team now moving to the front, the maglia rosa was dropped.
Nibali attacked shortly afterwards, early on in the climb of the Colle San Carlo, with Roglic able to follow his move as well as the Movistar pair of Mikel Landa and Carapaz, plus Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez.
Distanced by that move, however, were riders including yesterday’s stage winner Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha-Alpecin, and Yates, the Briton seemingly in nothing like the form he was in last year when he led the Giro d’Italia for two weeks and won the Vuelta.
With 30 kilometres left and the Nibali group, now numbering around a dozen riders, closing fast, Ciccone attacked the remains of the break as he tried to take maximum points on the Colle San Carlo.
Yates was desperately trying to get back in contact, but repeated attacks, one from Lopez, another from Nibali, made it a seemingly impossible task.
Carapaz was next to attack, swiftly pulling out a gap and only Nibali, Lopez and Roglic able to give chase, the fourth member of that group being the Ecuadorian’s Movistar team-mate, Landa.
His advantage was 35 seconds as he went over the top, while behind, Roglic led the pursuit on a fast, technical descent.
The final 8-kilometres climb, a Category 3, was the easiest of the five tackled today, its toughest section coming in the first 3 kilometres.
As the road headed uphill again, Yates, who had been riding on the descent with Joe Dombrowski of EF Education First, finally made the bridge to the Nibali and Roglic group with Pavel Sivakov of Team Ineos also making contact, while Carapaz continued to pull out his advantage as he rode to the stage win and into the maglia rosa.
Behind, a revived Yates attacked from the chasing group and finished second, 1 mminute 32 seconds back, and with Nibali leading the group containing Roglic across the line another 22 seconds behind, Carapaz’s leadership of the race was confirmed thanks to his 10-second bonus for finishing first, with Rogilc second overall, 7 seconds back.
Stage winner and new Maglia Rosa Richard Carapaz
“We had two cards to play as Mikel Landa and myself are in good form, but today, as Mikel wasn’t going very well towards the end of the stage, it was up to me to catch the right moment and the opportunity.
"With 25km to go, we realised that the Maglia Rosa was reachable, providing that I rode well downhill before the third category finishing climb that I knew would suit me well.
"The Maglia Rosa has been my dream since I first got interested in cycling at the age of 15, watching the Giro on a cellphone.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.