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Richard Carapaz retains maglia rosa as overall race leader
Bouwman leads in mountains; Démare holds points jersey
Giulio Ciccone claimed a third career Giro d'Italia stage victory at the summit finish of Cogne.
Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) added the Alpine stage win to previous Giro joy in 2016 and 2019.
The Italian escaped from former breakaway companions Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) to ride the final 18 kilometres alone.
Buitrago and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) completed the podium on a day when Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) retained his race lead.
Ciccone, Buitrago and Pedrero worked together to cover an early break and the pressed up the Verrogne climb.
Carthy, Martijn Tusveld (DSM) and Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) formed a chase group 30 seconds behind, with the former catching the leaders by the time they reached the summit with 40kms remaining.
Ciccone's attack at the base of the final climb cracked Tusveld, Costa and Pedrero, before another burst of acceleration accounted for Buitrago and Carthy.
Despite crashing earlier in the stage, Carapaz leads overall by seven seconds from Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and 30 seconds in front of Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). PA
Giro d'Italia stage 15: As it happened . . .
No change at the top of the general classification . . .
. . . and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) keeps hold of the leader's pink jersey going into tomorrow's rest day.
Ciccone wins stage 15 at the Giro d'Italia!
He's back. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) has won the third Giro d'Italia stage of his career and the third for an Italian rider at this years race. Unsurprisingly, he's a little emotional and falls into the arms of his sporting director at the finishing line and is in tears.
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) May 22, 2022
"This is my most beautiful win, it is better than the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, better than my first wins at the Giro because I went through difficult times in the past two years, with crashes, illnesses and Covid," Ciccone said at the line. "Today I felt strong. I chose to attack solo with 19km to go because it was the steepest part of the climb and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to drop everyone later on."
Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) finishes 1min 31sec down to take second spot, while Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) is third at 2min 19sec. Hugh Carthy (Education-EasyPost) was fourth at 3min 9sec.
1km to go
Into the final kilometre and Giulio Ciccone allows himself a smile.
2km to go
He is not letting up, and why would he? Giulio Ciccone is moments away from winning the first Alpine stage in this year's Giro.
3km to go
Giulio Ciccone is being cheered on by the crowds up near the finishing straight. He has a lead of 1min 30sec now.
4km to go
Guillaume Martin remains stuck in no man's land having gained two minutes on the peloton, none of that makes any sense to this observer: he cannot win the stage – he is almost six minutes behind Giulio Ciccone – and at best can only move up three or four spots on general classification. Think he would be better off saving his legs for another day and target a stage win.
6km to go
Giulio Ciccone is riding towards the third Giro d'Italia stage win of his career, his last coming on the Mortirolo day at the 2019 edition of the race, The Italian now leads by 1min 30sec.
8km to go
Barring some sort of disaster, Giulio Ciccone is going to win this stage. His lead over Santiago Buitrago has increased to 1min 19sec.
10km to go
Jonathan Castroviejo rides on the front of the peloton which is picking up stragglers from the earlier breakaway as it inches up this final climb. Further up the road, Santiago Buitrago is working hard but has, thus far, failed make any inroads into Giulio Ciccone's lead which now stands at 1min 8sec.
13km to go
Hugh Carthy has been dropped by Santiago Buitrago. That could be it for the day from the EF Education-EasyPost rider. Giulio Ciccone, meanwhile, is riding fluidly, with a lovely cadence, on this long shallow climb. The Italian has increased his lead on the chasing Colombian to 1min 2sec now, while the peloton is 6min 55sec off the pace.
Meanwhile, back in the peloton . . .
. . . Ineos Grenadiers are still riding on the front, with Bora-Hansgrohe tucked in behind as they protect the second place of Jai Hindley. Is Richard Carapaz going to attempt to increase his lead over the Aussie on this final climb before Monday's rest day?
15km to go
Santiago Buitrago, the small Colombian climber, is out of his saddle bobbing away, while the rangy Hugh Carthy is slouched over his hoods, tapping away on those pedals. But the gap to Giulio Ciccone just keeps growing.
16km to go
Giulio Ciccone is absolutely flying and has gained 40sec on Hugh Carthy and Santiago Buitrago. What a result this would be for Ciccone, but it is not a given that he can hold this all the way to the line. That said, Carthy looks to be labouring – although he often looks to be struggling, even when he's on a good day. A very good rider is Carthy, but difficult to read.
17km to go
Giulio Ciccone is going solo now, the Italian leads Hugh Carthy by 18sec. The Briton, meanwhile, now has Santiago Buitrago for company. The pair really need to work together if they are to catch the Trek-Segafredo rider and contest the stage honours.
18.8km to go
Giulio Ciccone rises out of his saddle and stamps down on his pedals in an effort to drop Hugh Carthy. It appears to have worked for now, but can the rider from Preston chase his way back on for the second time today?
20.7km to go
Hugh Carthy is the next to put in a little dig, the Briton who won on the steep slopes of the Angliru in northern Spain a couple of years ago, attacked on the harshest section of this climb. Only Giulio Ciccone is able to respond. This is all very exciting stuff, but you have to wonder if with the repeated attacks from this pair is going to cost them.
21.4km to go
Giulio Ciccone fires the first shot across the bows of the leading group, but he is quickly closed down by Santiago Buitrago and Hugh Carthy, but that acceleration has caused a split in the group with Rui Costa, Antonio Pedrero and Martijn Tusveld losing a few bike lengths.
21.5km to go
The leading sextet of Santiago Buitrago, Hugh Carthy, Giulio Ciccone, Rui Costa, Antonio Pedrero and Martijn Tusveld are onto the very bottom of the long climb up to Cogne. With a 5min 43sec lead over the peloton, I think it is safe to assume the stage winner will be coming from this group.
25km to go
Rui Costa and Martijn Tusveld bridge over to the stage leaders at the bottom of the descent, meaning there are six riders on the front now: Santiago Buitrago, Hugh Carthy, Giulio Ciccone, Antonio Pedrero and the aforementioned pair lead Guillaume Martin by 4min 46sec, while the peloton is almost six minutes down the road.
30km to go
The stage leaders are around 7km from the bottom of the final climb of the day, which looks a little like this . . .
As you can see, there is a fairly nasty introduction to the 22.4km long climb, but it soon levels out to a far more agreeable gradient that can be raced in the big ring.
35km to go
Not the most pleasant looking descent this. There are a few tight turns, but nothing that should be too testing for these riders – but the road surface looks pretty iffy, with lots of small little cracks that can cause a rider all sorts of mental anguish when descending at speed.
39km to go
Giulio Ciccone opens his account in the mountains classification, taking 40 points atop the category one Verrogne. As a result, the Italian who won the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey, in 2019 has gone straight to seventh in the standings. Koen Bouwman remains virtual leader.
40km to go
Hugh Carthy has dropped Rui Costa and managed to bridge over to the stage leaders. Very impressive riding from the Briton there.
41km to go
Hugh Carthy and Rui Costa have caught and dropped Martijn Tusveld, the duo inching ever closer to the stage leaders – just 16sec off the pace. Guillaume Martin has gained 40sec on the peloton, but not too sure what his goal is as he's 4min 51sec behind the stage leaders.
42km to go
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), who started the day 9min 37sec down on general classification, clips off the front of the peloton. Ineos Grenadiers appear unconcerned by the Frenchman's move.
43km to go
Davide Formolo is back in the peloton now, the Italian is grimacing and looks to be in a world of pain. Ineos Grenadiers continue to set the pace, almost all of their rider have their jerseys unzipped, suggesting they are feeling the heat today. There is barely a breeze in the air and the mercury has been rising throughout the afternoon, touching in to the early 30s.
44km to go
Hugh Carthy mas managed to claw his way back onto the wheel of Rui Costa, the pair trail the stage leaders by 33sec. The peloton is 5min 22sec off the pace.
46km to go
Giulio Ciccone is looking sprightly. He arrived at the Giro hoping to target the general classification, but lost a lot of time in the first week and then had to ride in support of team-mate Juan Pedro López who wore the maglia rosa for 10 stages. He is looking to be back to his best here today and is putting in repeated little accelerations in an attempt to drop any passengers. As a result, Martijn Tusveld pops out the back. The peloton is at 5min 15sec.
47km to go
Rui Costa is in pursuit of the leading quartet.
47.7km to go
Koen Bouwman starts to labour and falls off the back of the wheels of Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Tusveld. Giulio Ciccone, Santiago Buitrago and Antonio Pedrero ride straight on through, then catch and drop Van der Poel.
48.5km to go
Giulio Ciccone is pushing on, eating into the advantage of Koen Bouwman, Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Tusveld. Hugh Carthy attempted to chase the Italian and Santiago Buitrago down, but it appeared his legs refused to do what his mind wanted them to do.
49.5km to go
Giulio Ciccone clips off the front of the chasing group, Santiago Buitrago jumps on his wheel. The pair trail the leading trio of Koen Bouwman, Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Tusveld by 39sec.
50km to go
A number of riders who you would expect to be challenging for the stage today are suffering on this steep climb. Thymen Arensman (DSM) has been dropped, as has Mikaël Cherel (Ag2r-Citroën), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Iván Sosa (Movistar).
Merhawi Kudus (EF Education-EasyPost), meanwhile, is pressing on, taking with him Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), David de la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Nico Denz (DSM), Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan) and Rémy Rochas (Cofidis).
53km to go
Koen Bouwman, Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Tusveld are pushing on, gaining another 30sec on the chasing group. The incoming climb has some very steep pitches which will cause some serious damage once the breakaway reaches it. Bizarre as it may sound, if Van der Poel manages to get over the summit within a minute or so of the front of the race, the final climb would suit him down to a tee. A rider with the sort of power he has in his legs, could just whack it in the big ring and crush it. Saying that, he must first survive the incoming climb . . . and hope the peloton or chasing group doesn't get organised and manage to close that gap.
55km to go
Quite remarkably, Mathieu van der Poel is part of a three-man breakaway that leads this tough Alpine stage by over a minute now. The peloton is another four minutes down the road.
58km to go
Martijn Tusveld got a free ride here as the Dutchman sits in the slipstream of compatriot Mathieu van der Poel, before they latched onto the wheel of Koen Bouwman to make it, as Sean Kelly said on Eurosport, "three cheesemen" on the front.
63km to go
Mathieu van der Poel and Martijn Tusveld have drifted off the front of the breakaway on the descent off Pila-Les Fleurs. As a result, Koen Bouwman has seen his lead drop to 37sec.
71km to go
Koen Bouwman goes over the summit of the category one Pila-Les Fleurs to add 40 points to his tally in the mountains classification, which sees him leapfrog Diego Rosa to top spot and become the virtual leader in that competition. More of a concern for the breakaway, though, is the fact that they have lost almost a minute to the Jumbo-Visma rider following his surge up the road.
75km to go
Koen Bouwman has gained over 30sec on the breakaway. A handful of riders increased their speed in what looked like an effort to rein the Dutchman in, but to very little effect. They may try again in a short while, let's see.
76km to go
Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), who started the day second in the mountains classification, has clipped off the front of the breakaway. I'm guessing he is just really determined to take maximum points atop this climb, because it seems awfully audacious to go for a long-range solo attack with over 75km off the stage and two more mountains to follow.
77km to go
Salvatore Puccio continues to pull on the front of the Ineos Grenadiers mountain train as it steams its way up the category one Pila-Les Fleurs climb. They are around half the way up and have nibbled into the breakaway's advantage slightly, though I'm sure that's a case of accident rather than design – they will be more than happy for the stage winner to come from the breakaway, the highest placed rider in general classification is Thymen Arensman (DSM) who started today 11min 47sec down on Richard Carapaz.
80km to go
Ineos Grenadiers have their entire team sat on the front of the peloton. Salvatore Puccio is setting the pace, with British national road champion Ben Swift riding at second wheel.
81km to go
José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar), the Spanish sprinter, has bridged over to the breakaway, presumably getting into position to lend a helping hand to team-mates Iván Sosa and Antonio Pedrero. Sure you will have noticed it, but along with Movistar there are another three teams – DSM, EF Education-EasyPost and Jumbo-Visma – with a trio of riders in the breakaway which leads the peloton by 4min 10sec.
That breakaway in full . . .
The breakaway features 27 riders – Thymen Arensman (DSM), Julius van den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Mikaël Cherel (Ag2r-Citroën), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), David de la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), Nico Denz (DSM), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Merhawi Kudus (EF Education-EasyPost), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Sam Oomen (Jumbo-Visma), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Nicolas Prodhomme (Ag2r-Citroën), Rémy Rochas (Cofidis), Iván Sosa (Movistar), Harold Tejada (Astana Qazaqstan), Natnael Tesfatsion (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) and Martijn Tusveld (DSM) – and they lead the peloton by over four minutes.
95km to go
The breakaway has been caught by a chasing group (full details to follow), while the peloton is around 1min 20sec down the road as the race approaches the first intermediate sprint of the day, which will be followed quickly be the category one Pila-Les Fleurs climb.
96km to go
A five-man breakaway comprising Thymen Arensman (DSM), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco), Erik Fetter (Eolo-Kometa), Merhawi Kudus (EF Education-EasyPost) and Rémy Rochas (Cofidis) has formed, but their advantage is rapidly reducing as another group of around 11 riders close in on them.
100km to go
Further flurries on the front of the peloton resulting in a decent-sized group forming, but not sure who exactly is in there just yet. One rider who is not at the front, though, is Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa), the leader in the mountains, who was spotted riding off the back a few minutes ago.
As it stands . . .
Yet again, it was a frenetic start to proceedings with a number of riders attempting to form a breakaway. There was an early scare for Richard Carapaz and Ineos Grenadiers when the maglia rosa was involved in a crash after just five kilometres of racing.
The Ecuadorian appeared to touch wheels with another rider, causing a rippling effect through the bunch that resulted in a huge pile-up. Luckily for all involved, everybody was soon up and back on their bikes and managed to chase their way back on to the rear of the speeding bunch.
Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) has been riding aggressively, presumably hoping to target points in the mountains classification with the added benefit of becoming a satellite rider later in the day for team-mate Jai Hindley, with the German forming a small five-man breakaway along with Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto-Soudal), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane). The peloton, however, gave them little wriggle room and soon closed them down. The opening hour of the race, by the way, was contested at the breakneck speed of 51km/h.
Right now, Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and a rider from Bardiani-CSF-Faizane are attempting to form another breakaway, but it looks doomed.
What's on today's menu?
Three categorised climbs coming off the back of yesterday's barnstormer of a race sets up an intriguing stage which, in theory, would be ideal for Simon Yates to launch yet another late charge for a stage victory. Much will depend, however, on how the BikeExchange-Jayco rider has recovered after his exertions in Turin.
Yet again it is a toss-up between the day favouring a breakaway, or the general classification contenders. It is interesting to note, though, that the final climb – the 22.4km ascent to Cogne – is not the hardest test riders will face, with the final 14km being relatively shallow with an average gradient of below 3.7%. If a breakaway is to prevail, it may need to take a big lead into the final climb and hope it is not greeted by a headwind in the drag race to the line.
Ineos Grenadiers did much of the heavy lifting in the early part of yesterday's stage but were able to rest up once Bora-Hansgrohe went to work on behalf of Jai Hindley, meaning Richard Carapaz may benefit from having fresher team-mates than his Aussie rival today. If that's the case then this stage appears ideal terrain for Carapaz to put the pressure on Hindley ahead of Monday's rest day.
There are plenty of teams who have yet to take anything away from this year's Giro, though, and so I expect there will be a huge fight to get into the day's breakaway. Hoping for another cracker.
So, what does the stage look like?
Here's what the roadbook says about the stage...
A colossal Alpine stage across the Aosta Valley. Initially, the route runs through the Canavese and the Dora Baltea valley, all the way to Aosta. The stage course then takes in three long consecutive ascents to Pila (below, top), Verrogne (below, bottom) and Cogne. At over 10km each, these climbs are on wide and well-paved roads, with a number of hairpins in-between. Each is followed by a fast-running descent, with the same features.
At over 22km, the sharp closing climb eventually becomes a long false-flat up all the way to the finish (below).
Over the last 4km (below), from the centre of Cogne (with a short stretch of flagstone) all the way to the finish, the gradient hovers around 2.5% (kicking up a little just outside Cogne). The home straight is 300m long, on Tarmac road.
Live coverage of today's stage to get under way at 1pm (BST).
Catch up: Highlights from Saturday's stage
A week after his hopes evaporated on the road to Blockhaus, Simon Yates bounced back in style on Saturday as the British rider landed a second win at this year's Giro d'Italia in a barnstormer of a stage. The 14th stage from Santena to Turin may have been the shortest in this year's race at 147 kilometres, but with two nasty climbs – Superga and Colle della Maddalena – that pitched up to gradients of 20% it certainly packed a knock-out punch. It was deal terrain for Yates. It was an incredibly aggressive day of racing resulting in a four-way scrap for the stage win after Bora-Hansgrohe had blown the race to pieces, before an attacking move from Richard Carapaz created the final selection. It was Yates, though, who was able to deliver the final, decisive, blow to win the stage at the end of what had been a tough week for the Briton. Here are the highlights. . .
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 15 at the Giro d'Italia, the 177-kilometre run from Rivarolo Canavese to Cogne.
Following Saturday's brutal stage around Turin that was raced at a blistering pace in searing heat, the Giro enters the Alps today on another stage that will, in theory, play another part in shaping the overall general classification. With two category one climbs, and the final relatively benign looking ascent up to Cogne there is sure to be some action in the mountains classification. The breakaway riders will be licking their lips looking at the profiles of the stage, while once again the general classification contenders will be cautious of any more ambushes, but before we have a look at the course, let's have a quick recap of the standings in the top classifications.
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) will be dressed in the maglia rosa, the leader's pink jersey, for the first time since June 2019 when he won the race, having taken top spot on general classification after finishing third behind stage winner Simon Yates (BikeExhange-Jayco) and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) in Saturday's stage.
There were no changes in the top five of the points classification and so Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) will again wear the maglia ciclamino (cyclamen jersey) as leader in the competition.
Jai Hindley moved up to third, and Richard Carapaz climbed to fourth, but Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) remains leader in the mountains and keeps the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey.
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), who has been dressed in the maglia bianca, the white jersey, on behalf of Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo), who plummeted down the general classification to ninth on Saturday and dropped to second in the youth classification, will finally wear the garment by rights.