Giro d’Italia Stage 16: Senni in the Breakaway, Hermans Abandons23. May 2017, Bormio (ITA) — Road Team
Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia, the queen stage of the 100th edition, saw Manuel Senni make the breakaway and Ben Hermans forced to abandon due to illness.
Despite an ascent of the Mortirolo climb and a double ascent of the Stelvio climb across 222km to come, the peloton set a blistering pace of 50km/hour in the opening hour of racing and refused to let the early breakaway attempts go clear.
In the second hour of racing, 25 riders, including Senni, managed to open a gap on the bunch as they approached the base of Mortirolo.
Despite the group gaining more than one minute, the teams that missed the breakaway were quick to pull them back and on the early slopes of the Mortirolo the race looked set to come back together. Instead, multiple attacks came from the bunch to form a new group of 26 riders with Senni remaining in the breakaway.
The newly-formed breakaway opened a two-minute advantage but on the first ascent of the Stelvio riders, including Senni, started to drop from the group.
As Senni was caught with around 85km remaining, Tejay van Garderen attacked from the Maglia Rosa group and tested his legs towards the summit.
Van Garderen was eventually pulled back just before the summit as the peloton made their way down the 48 switchbacks before preparing for the final ascent from the Swiss side.
As expected, it was a battle of the General Classification riders on the Umbrail Pass and attacks from Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team) split the group.
Eventually, a small group closed the gap to solo leader Mikel Landa (Team Sky) on the descent towards the finish line in Bormio but it was Landa and Niabli who went head to head for the win, with the latter taking the honors.
Unfortunately, Ben Hermans was forced to withdraw from racing after 77km having fallen ill on the third rest day with gastrointestinal problems. BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini provided an update below.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Today, my legs were starting to feel really good and it was the queen stage so I wanted to try something good. I was in the first breakaway but we didn’t have much luck. A lot of strong guys came from the bunch in the climb, and I was able to stay with the strongest to be part of this group of 26 guys. On the first time up the Stelvio I lost the wheel and then I wasn’t able to stay with the Maglia Rosa group. In the end I made it to the finish but I hope that my legs continue to feel good for the rest of the Giro d’Italia.”
“I know the roads here very well. Not necessarily the first 50km of the race but after that, I know the climbs really well. I have to see tomorrow how my legs recover, but I think I will try something everyday. I have nothing to lose.”
“During the stage on Sunday I started to feel already that something wasn’t right but the first real symptoms started after the race on Sunday night. I developed bad gastrointestinal problems that night. I didn’t train yesterday and wanted to see how I was. I felt better this morning and wanted to try and race. On the flat roads I was feeling ok but then we started to go harder towards the Mortirolo and my stomach started to feel bad and I couldn’t continue. Already staying with the group on the Mortirolo wasn’t possible. If you have to do seven hours on the bike today, it’s not possible and it’s hard to recover. I hope I heal quickly and I can focus on my next race, the Criterium du Dauphine.
BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Giovanni Ruffini on Ben Hermans:
“Ben Hermans developed some gastrointestinal problems after stage 15 and was quite ill on Sunday night and Monday morning. Ben took things easy yesterday on the rest day and we agreed that he would try and race today. However, as the stage started to reach the climbs, Ben lost contact with the group and didn’t feel well enough to continue racing. Fortunately, with gastrointestinal problems like this, all that is required is a few days of rest and Ben should be able to resume training at his usual level.”
Stage 16 Rovetta > Bormio (222km)
Top 3: 1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team), 2. Mikel Landa (Team Sky), 3. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 29. Tejay van Garderen, 38. Manuel Senni, 40. Silvan Dillier
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.