Giro d’Italia Stage 15: Thrilling Finale in Bergamo21. May 2017, Bergamo (ITA) — Road Team
Despite being billed as a day for the breakaway, stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia was anything but, with the peloton facing one of the fastest days of racing that ended with a battle of the General Classification contenders in Bergamo.
With an average of more than 50km for the first two hours of racing, the peloton set a frantic pace as they looked to control a five-rider breakaway that went clear after 30km.
The peloton refused to let the quintet gain a significant advantage and the gap continued to hover between 10 and 35 seconds for more than 70km, creating a tough situation for both the breakaway and peloton.
As soon as the race came back together with 95km remaining, a new breakaway of 10 riders, including Silvan Dillier, formed and for the first time all day, the peloton relaxed their grip on the race situation and allowed the group to gain more than 2’30”.
With the two categorized climbs to come, the peloton started to chase harder and 50km before the finish line the gap was under one minute.
On the ascent of the category 2 Miragolo San Salvatore climb, the breakaway split and Dillier found himself back in the bunch just before the summit.
Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) and Rudy Molard (FDJ) forged on ahead towards the category 3 Selvino climb and behind, the peloton set a flying pace to bring the trio back.
As the race reached the cobbled uphill section 4km before the finish line, the reduced peloton brought the race back together.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team) made the first move and soon it was a small group of General Classification contenders left to sprint for the win on the run into the finish.
Bob Jungels (Quickstep-Floors) took the win and 25 seconds later, Ben Hermans and Tejay van Garderen crossed the line. Hermans moved up two places overall to now sit in 15th, 10:51 behind race leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Quotes from the Finish Line
“The start was really hectic. I think two breakaways were gone and they were both caught and then there was a third one that succeeded. Finally, we averaged something like 45km/hour for the whole stage so it was a really hard stage. I think we almost caught the breakaway in the descent before the Selvino climb but then Nairo Quintana crashed so we all waited.”
“The final part was really hard. Everyone went all in. I just couldn’t follow the wheels. Tejay van Garderen was with me and he tried to limit the time loss. 25 seconds is not too much and for sure other GC guys were even behind me. I’m feeling good. Of course, everybody was feeling tired today and it was a hard stage for everyone. But, I’m looking forward to the mountains and I hope to be up there and maybe play with minutes in my favour and not seconds in time loss.”
Silvan Dillier on the fight to make the breakaway:
“As a Swiss Army soldier I can just say you have two choices: to shoot with a machine gun a thousand times and eventually you hit the black target, but I prefer to be like a sniper and observe things. So I tried to make the breakaway once full gas and luckily I made it. But, afterwards it is up to the peloton to decide if they let us go or not.”
“The gap came down pretty quickly towards the climb so I knew I had to go my own pace because otherwise I would blow up. This is what I did, I played my game and they caught me on the first climb. But, I think nobody could survive from the breakaway as it was really a day where they didn’t want to let the breakaway go.”
Stage 15 Valengo > Bergamo (199km)
Top 3: 1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), 2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), 3. Thibau Pinot (FDJ).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 18. Ben Hermans, 21. Tejay van Garderen, 51. Joey Rosskopf
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.