Giulio Ciccone booked a stage victory at the Giro d’Italia for the third time in his career on Sunday. On a difficult mountain stage, the 27-year-old Italian was the best climber in a large leading group, which included no fewer than eight Dutchmen.
Koen Bouwman, Gijs Leemreize, Sam Oomen, Thymen Arensman, Martijn Tusveld, Mathieu van der Poel, Bauke Mollema and Julius van den Berg had a good run on the 15th stage, but they couldn’t guarantee Dutch success.
Ciccone was clearly the strongest in the long final climb to Cogne. Mollema’s Trek-Segafredo teammate released everyone and crossed the goal line a minute and a half ahead of second-placed Santiago Buitrago.
Tossfeld scored 4.36 minutes, and the best Dutch player in the score was fifth. Mollema finished eighth and Limeries ranked ninth.
The final climb was long (22.4 kilometers), but not steep (4.3 percent on average), so the rating riders decided not to attack before the second and final rest day.
Richard Carapaz, who fell at the start of the stage, crossed the line with his rivals in 7.48 minutes of Ciccone and retained the pink leader jersey. Bowman regained the top spot in the mountain rankings from Diego Rosa.
Result of stage 15 Giro d’Italia
- 1 – Giulio Ciccone (ETA)
- 2. Santiago Buitrago (Colonel) +1.31 min
- 3. Antonio Pedriro (Spa) +2.19 min
- 4. Hugh Carthy (GB) +3.09 min
- 5. Martin Tusfeld (Ned) +4.36 min
- 6. Luca Covelli (ETA) +5.08 minutes
- 7. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) +5.27 min
- 8. Bok Molyma (Ned) zt
- 9. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) zt
- 10. Guillaume Martin (FRA) +6.06 min
Van der Poel, Bowman and Tusfeld together in the lead
The riders had a very tough stage on Saturday in the hills around Turin and a rest day on Monday, but she went really fast again on Sunday in the first part of the 15th stage.
Only after 75 kilometers a leading group gained space and peace arose in the peloton. With Baumann, Limerez, Sam Omen, Thaymin Ahrensmann, Tusfeld, Matthew van der Poel, Mollema and Julius van den Berg, there were at least eight Dutch out of the 27 refugees.
On the first climb of the day, the first class Pila-Les Fleurs seemed to be getting better for Dutch cycling fans. Baumann accelerated and took a lot of mountain points by climbing first, after which van der Poel and Tussveld joined him on the descent. At the foot of the Verrogne River (13.8 kilometers at an average of 7.1 percent), the Dutch trio made a one-and-a-half minute lead over the pursuers.
That margin quickly disappeared in the second pass of the day. While Mollima and Arinesman had to be released, Ciccone, Hugh Carthy, Buitrago, and Antonio Pedrero found the connection with the leaders. The pace was immediately too high for Baumann and van der Poel. Tusveld could have held out longer, but the Team DSM rider had to give up hope of a stage victory when Ciccone accelerated at Cogne’s start.
Ciccone continued the attack on the last climb and was able to release all of his fellow refugees, as a result of which the Italian booked a stage victory on his home tour, just like in 2016 and 2019.
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