• Rúben Silva

Giro d'Italia Stage 15 Preview

Richard Carapaz emerged winner in Courmayeur, making a revolution as he attacked in the Colle San Carlo and went on solo to the win, and taking pink at the same time. The day was shaken from the start, the first climb saw Simon Yates on the attack but he was heavily marked by the Top GC riders. After the breakaway settled it was a controled day, mainly by Jumbo-Visma, and on the decisive climb there were flurries of attacks, with Nibali and Lopez mainly, but when Carapaz attacked no-one could follow, and after the descent finished there was the Roglic/Nibali rivalry who disturbed the chasing, with Nibali not seeming willingful to pull, it was up to Damiano Caruso to pace the group for most of the final ascent, whilst Yates bridged across and attacked in the meantime, taking second on the day, with Nibali third in the sprint for bonifications.

Positive: Movistar once again played absolutely perfect. It's not everyday you hear that, it was a matter of legs and Carapaz had them, then the presence of Landa in the chasing group would demotivate the chasers as Carapaz plowed away the time. Everyday Sivakov stays in front he's good, the 21-year old stays in white and in the fight for the top places, and the particularly good presence of Joe Dombrowski was also noticeable, and a mentionable rider as he has the habit of being at his best in the final week.

Negative: Mollema lost time, it was expected as he didn't really look very good, but Zakarin's time loss was a surprise. I was expecting a big rider to loose the race today but not him after such a brilliant performance in the previous stage. Kangert also had a bad day, he seemed to be coming up in form but he took a big blow to his ambitions today, but is still on the fight for the Top10.

Stage 15 will be very familiar with those who follow Italian cycling, the final section of the race replicates a classical route of Il Lombardia but for one detail that makes a significant difference. The Colma di Sormano will be climbed but not via the Muro di Sormano, made iconic in the Italian monument. That won't make the climb any easy but it will spare the riders of gruelling gradients.

After the Madonna Del Ghisallo/Colma di Sormano combination there's a very technical descent following, an ondulating road to the final cclimb of Civiglio. With 4.2Km at 9.6% it makes for the final challenge of the day in terms of climbing, it will come with just 9Km to go and to the finishing it is mostly descending winding roads.

The Weather

It won't be raining throughout the stage, but there will be rain overnight in the lakes. This can make for wet roads, and specially in the descent of Sormano that can come as extremely dangerous. It may incentivate some attacks in that climb, as the rolling approach to Civiglio isn't ideal terrain to chase.

The Favourites

It's hard to say, but such a long stage should suit a breakaway. Movistar will be firing all cilinders with their recently aquired lead, but they should remain calm throughout the day and not go over themselves. So to start off, some names for the breakaway should be mentioned.

Hugh Carthy, Alexis Vuillermoz and Valentin Madouas are riders that have been riding strongly, want to improve their overall and have a good chance to do so, Carthy may be fatigued from today but he has the legs. Andrey Zeits, Eddie Dunbar and Chris Hamilton are all riders that were really strong today, they should be good names for tomorrow. Also the obvious Ciccone has a shot, but he will likely want to save his legs for the final week where he'll have to defend his jersey.

With the well-known finish all eyes should be on Nibali. But that may come as a bad thing, obviously he's already being quite marked but tomorrow the teams know he will try something as it's familiar roads to him. If he will feel motivated is another question, he hasn't been able to distance Roglic at all and now Carapaz as stepped into the fight for pink without question. Carapaz' lead may give room for Mikel Landa to move more freely, tomorrow isn't the ideal stage for a long distance attack, but cat-and-mouse may happen again in Civiglio tomorrow and Landa can profit from it. The climb suits Carapaz very well though, it's very steep and that should be to the liking of the lightweight climber. And Simon Yates yes, he should be another one who will like the climb, he had a bad day, today he seemed much more like himself and if he has truly recovered his level he's a big favourite for tomorrow.

Primoz Roglic also will like the climb, but he also hasn't been showing the power required to gap his rivals. Majka and Mollema are riders that like these shorter climbs but they seem a bit off the others, a little level below them. Pavel Sivakov is more of a power rider as is Joe Dombrowski, although the latter still needs some more riding to be considered an actual stage contender (not for the final week though, but for tomorrow).

Davide Formolo, Miguel Angel Lopez, they both have good arguments but they will also need something special. The lenght of the stage should be to the liking of the first but not the latter, also the descending that will be required to do doesn't favour Lopez at all.

For the pink jersey Carapaz shouldn't loose it, he's been giving only signs of climbing better than Roglic and in a sprint (after the descent) finish he should also be quite good with it.

Prediction Time

S.Yates, Madouas, Dunbar

Carapaz, Nibali, Roglic

Hamilton, Zeits, Landa, Majka, Formolo, MA.Lopez

I think tomorrow is a day for the breakaway and my call goes to Eddie Dunbar. He's been looking very very good since May started and he has the form to win a stage, he showed it some days ago. Tomorrow he has a proper fitting day, if he manages to get in the day's move I'm sure he can take the win.

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