Aru Climbs to Victory in Stage 15 of Giro d'Italia
Fabio Aru (Astana) has won Stage 15 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia. The Italian wunderkind surged away from the maglia rosa group on the Category 1 climb to the finish to win the 225-km ride from Valdengo to Plan di Montecampione in 5:33:06. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) finished second at 0:21, and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took third at 0:22. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) remains the maglia rosa and has extended his lead over runner-up Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and third placer Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank).
At 16 km, Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (FDR.fr), Andre Cardoso (Garmin-Sharp-POC), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano), Luca Paolini (Katusha), and Fabio Felline (Trek) went off of the front. At 28 km, Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), Rodolfo Torres (Colombia), and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF) joined the break. Initially, the bunch did not chase, and the escapees led the field by 10 minutes with 80 km left.
Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo, which was not represented in the break, began to chase. The gap narrowed to 6:18 with 50 km remaining and 2:24 at the base of the climb to Montecampione.
Hansen attacked his companions, and Cardoso joined him, but Ag2r and Movistar were overtaking the pair at a blistering pace. Julian Arredondo (Trek) attacked from the peloton. Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) joined him, and the attackers bridged up to the leaders. With 11 km remaining, Cardoso and Arredondo were in the lead, with the peloton only 0:30 behind them.
With 10 km left, Philip Deignan (Team Sky Pro Cycling) attacked from the bunch. The Irishman caught and dropped Cardoso and Arrendondo and forged a 20-second lead. With four km to go, the maglia rosa group began to flex its muscles.
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked, and Uran and Evans took the Frenchman’s wheel. Evans put in an attack, and Rolland countered. Duarte joined the Europcar man. The pair overtook Deignan. Behind, Quintana attacked, as did Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp-POC) and then Aru. Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team) went to the front of the maglia rosa to do pacemaking for Evans.
Rolland and Duarte dropped Deignan and led the maglia rosa group by 0:39 with three km left. Aru joined the pair, taking Uran and Quintana with him. The Italian surged again, and no one could follow.
Quintana attacked the maglia rosa group, and eventually Duarte attacked the group as well. Duarte caught and dropped the Movistar man. He set out after Aru, who would not be caught.
The stage was a standing shaker. Uran took 0:21 out of Evans and 0:20 out of Majka. Quintana took 0:20 out of Uran and 0:51 out of Evans. With a week’s racing to go, Uran is in a strong position.
Aru surprised himself with his stage win. “Today, I didn’t know how I’d be on the final climb,” Aru said. “When I attacked, I didn’t know how much energy I had left. I can’t explain how it felt. It felt great to be climbing with riders like Quintana and Uran. When I was alongside them on the climb, my hairs stood on end. Then, in the final km, it was incredible. I felt new sensations today, ones which I have never felt before as a professional rider.”
In the overall, Uran leads Evans by 1:03 and Majka by 1:50. Tomorrow will be the Giro’s final rest day. The last and hardest week of the Giro d'Italia will begin on Tuesday with Stage 16, a short but painful high mountain stage. The 139-km ride from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal will take the riders over the Category 1 Gavia Pass and the hors categorie Stelvio Pass before they tackle the first category climb to the finish. Who will win? Who will don the maglia rosa? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!