A day which could be a headache in waiting for the general classification riders, the main consensus however, is that a breakaway is mostly likely to decide the outcome on Stage 15 of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Starting in Valdengo, the route totals 199km as it makes its way to the finish in Bergamo, taking in a couple of sharp categorised climbs within a short space of time to animate the race. A somewhat rolling opening to the day, an essentially flat start will make it a hotly contested affair to join a move with the potential to survive into Bergamo. The first of the two main challenges of the day comes once the riders hit the Category 2 Miragole San Salvatore, an 8.7 km climb which averages 7% and possesses maximum ramps of 11%. Though the ascent is steep, especially towards the summit, it is regular enough to try and tap out an even pace all the way to the top. A brief downhill section then leads straight into the base of the Selvino, a Category 3 climb which is easier than its predecessor, lasting for 6.9km with an average gradient of 5.4% (max 9%) and could allow a degree of regrouping amongst the frontrunners. The race subsequently drops downhill quite rapidly, before then opening out onto relatively flat terrain once again, with everything likely to be decided by the unrecognised Bergamo Alta rise with under 5km left. The historic climb twists its way through the streets, offering a cobbled section early on and reaches 12%, before a short downhill section finishes within touching distance of the flamme rouge.
Luis Leon Sanchez was a common provocateur during the first half of this race, appearing to be in strong enough form to make days such as these a realistic goal for a stage win. He has since become considerably quieter, yet is likely to simply be keeping his powder dry ahead of days he feels are worth investing his efforts into winning. The Spaniard will be confident of finding a place for himself amongst the key breakaway, focusing on pacing himself upon the Miragole San Salvatore, aiming to stay within reach of his rivals and put them to the sword with his sprinting capabilities.
Omar Fraile produced a monstrous effort to secure his first grand tour stage win earlier in the week and will view Stage 15 as having great potential of allowing him to double up at the Giro d’Italia. There is no question as to his form right now, putting in strong efforts as part of the breaks, while sailing up the climbs with real venom when necessary. The finale in Bergamo is ideal for Fraile to attack in order to drop remaining rivals, already demonstrating how hard it is to close him down once he commits to a move.
Diego Rosa is the rider most likely to be backed by Team Sky today, joining in with the moves on Stage 15 as they continue to try and salvage their Giro d’Italia. The Italian is a big fan of this part of his homeland and could prove interested in trying to showcase this by taking the win in Bergamo. Overall, the day does suit him rather well, but there shall be reservations as to how well he will be able to contest the less well fitting finish.
Laurens De Plus seems to be enjoying a strong run of form right now at the race and could be another rider capable of making it into Bergamo as part of a race winning move. The Belgian rider has shown enough already to make it hard to question his climbing abilities right now and would be best advised to utilise these in order to overcome his disadvantage in any potential sprint for the line.
Other riders who are worth watching for are Rui Costa, Giovanni Visconti, Dylan Teuns, Winner Anacona, Michael Woods and Davide Villella.
1st Omar Fraile 2nd Diego Rosa 3rd Luis Leon Sanchez