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As expected it was all change in the overall standings at the Giro d’Italia on stage 14 with an explosive day around the hills of Turin that produced significant gaps and a change in the maglia rosa.
Overnight leader Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) was dropped with around 29km to go and never saw the front of the race again, while Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) finished third on the stage behind Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) and moved into the overall lead. The Ineos leader now has a slender seven second advantage over Jai Hindley after the Australian’s Bora-Hansgrohe team blew the race apart at the mid-way point.
Several key contenders for the podium lost significant time on a day that saw the race turned on its head. The top ten is now separated by over nine minutes, while several riders, such as Hugh Carthy (EF Education Easy Post) and Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) have completely dropped out of contention.
Bora-Hansgrohe took control of the stage from Santena to Turin and put the hammer down with over 60km to go. Bora’s initial pace setting appeared to catch the peloton napping with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) and a host of contenders caught off-guard.
João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) was another early casualty but the 23-year-old dug deep to return to the remnants of the front group. Carapaz was quickly isolated as Wilco Kelderman set a rapid pace that saw the likes of Carthy, Arensman, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) – who crashed earlier in the stage – and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) were all distanced.
The pressure from Bora ensured that with 32km to go the lead group was down to just the remaining overall contenders and a few rare super domestiques but when Hindley attacked with on the penultimate ascent of the Superga the front group was whittled down to the Australian, the maglia rosa, Carapaz, Jan Hirt, Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana-Qasaqstan), Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Kelderman, Emanuel Buchmann, Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), and Almeida.
Immediately Landa was put in difficulty with only Hindley, Carapaz, Nibali and Lopez able to respond at first. Almeida and Buchmann made it a front six but when López faded with 28km to go, Carapaz put in a blistering attack soon after. He built up a small lead of around 25 seconds but with a concerted chase from Bora and Bahrain Victorious the Ineos leader was caught on the lower slopes of the Maddalena – the final climb of the stage – by Hindley and then Nibali and Yates.
The quartet remained intact until Yates kicked clear with just under 5km to go, with Hindley taking six bonus seconds in second place on the stage while Carapaz mopped up third place with its four bonus seconds.
Pozzovivo and Almeida came to the finish in fifth and sixth after the UAE Team Emirates rider was dropped by the veteran on the descent to the finish. Both riders limited their losses to under 30 seconds on Yates.
Landa, who came into the stage as a potential overall winner, was on the backfoot for most of the day and lost 36 seconds to Hindley on the line. The situation was far worse for Valverde, who lost over eight minutes, and Martin, who conceded close to ten. Carthy lost 17:17 on the stage and will now try to rescue his race with a stage win in the final week.
In terms of the overall standings, Carapaz is in the driving seat but his inability to make his attack stick with 28km to go will boost Hindley’s confidence. The Australian hasn’t put a foot wrong in the race so far and clearly has the strongest team going into the final week.
Despite his failings, Almeida is in third overall, and at just 30 seconds. Landa is now at 50 seconds and the Spaniard will be hoping that this is just a bad day ahead of the key stage to Conge on stage 15.
Pozzovivo remains in touch at 1:01, with Bilbao at 1:52. Nibali has moved up five places to eighth at 2:58 and must be confident of a podium in his final grand tour, but the challenges from Martin, Valverde and Carthy are all but over.