Nico Denz Wins Stage 14 of Giro d’Italia 2023
Saturday’s stage 14 of Giro d’Italia 2023 welcomed the peloton to a 194-kilometer battle on a route from Sierre to Cassano Magnago that included a Category 1 Simplonpass climb. From the top of the climb the riders would face a descent followed by approximately 100 kilometers on virtually flat terrain. The scene was set for a stage that on paper appeared attractive for breakaway hopefuls.
The hostilities started early as many riders attempted to form breakaway groups. Multiple attacks were launched from a plethora of teams, and it did not take long for large groups to form. Meanwhile, the main peloton reduced its speed following a decision made and coordinated by Giro race leader Geraint Thomas and his Ineos-Grenadiers team. The slow speed and broad front in the main peloton allowed the front groups to build a larger gap.
On the Category 1 Simplon pass a front group featuring 29 riders had formed. The group had a 06:36 minute lead over the main peloton. Noteworthy participants included Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Clarke (Israel-Premiertech), Derek Gee (Israel-Premiertech), Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team), Carlos Verona (Movistar Team), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic), Alessandro de Marchi (Jayco-Alula), and Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema.
Meanwhile, the weather conditions had worsened as it had started raining. The advantage of the front group had increased to 09:15 minutes with 85 kilometers left of the stage. The main peloton had still decided to take an easy day in the rainy saddles, while the breakaway riders were preparing their later attacks to shake up the group and increase their chances of taking a noteworthy stage victory.
With 50 kilometers left of today’s stage 14 Giro d’Italia challenge, four riders had escaped from the front group. The quartet featured Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Laurenz Rex (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), and Trek-Segafredo’s Toms Skuijns.
Meanwhile, Denz, Bettiol, Gee and Team DSM’s Marius Mayrhofer were trying to bridge the gap to the front group. They reduced the gap to fifteen seconds. The front group increased its pace in an attempt at avoiding getting caught, this caused Rex to be dropped from the front with eleven kilometers left. He later joined the chasers.
With one kilometer to go it appeared as if the stage winner would be one of the three riders in the front group.
Oldani launched an attack. Skuijns closed the gap closely followed by Ballerini. Meanwhile, group two were catching the front trio. Bettiol launched his sprint, but alas the distance left was too long for him, so he got caught.
Denz and Gee launched their sprints and passed Bettiol. Denz passed Gee and Bettiol to take his second stage victory of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.
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