Before the riders are able to enjoy the second rest day of this year’s Giro d’Italia, they must first survive another onslaught of mountainous terrain, courtesy of Stage 15’s 176km trek from Tolmezzo to Sappada. Climbing immediately from the start, we can expect to see the type of fierce fight to join the breakaway which has become a regular feature during the opening half of the race so far. Four categorised climbs feature during the day, including a trio of Category 2 ascents in the second part of the stage, making for a draining run into the base of the uphill finish which shall decide the winner.
Simon Yates has ridden with immense flair during his time in the maglia rosa thus far and shall be favourite to extend his ownership of the jersey with another swashbuckling attempt at victory. He impressed many with yesterday’s performance upon the intimidating Monte Zoncolan, riding with experience beyond his years and measuring his efforts to near perfection by the time the finish line was in sight. He does not shy away from the chance of a stage win as current race leader and knows that he is likely to be the fastest amongst many riders who may form an elite group which decides the day’s outcome.
Thibaut Pinot will believe this to be an ideal stage for his strengths, with long ascents and relatively controlled gradients, he will be eager to begin taking back time on his rivals ahead of the second rest day. Despite the uphill rise to the finish, the incline actually softens dramatically in the approach to the line, meaning the Frenchman will have a chance to utilise his powerful sprinting capabilities; something which perhaps only Simon Yates could better.
Chris Froome once again seized upon the first serious mountain stage to demonstrate his power and stake his claim to the overall title at this year’s Giro d’Italia. There is no denying his classy performance on Stage 14, though the Sky rider was able to take advantage of the ludicrously challenging nature of the gradients, which he will struggle to repeat on today’s parcours. Regardless, if he really is beginning to hit peak form ahead of the final week, then a dominant performance could be close at hand.
Michael Woods and Miguel Angel Lopez are two riders to consider for victory, as both have the attributes to ride strongly on the climb to the line, while also possessing a decent turn of pace to beat most rivals after another tough day at the Giro d’Italia.
1st Thibaut Pinot 2nd Simon Yates 3rd Miguel Angel Lopez