Jan Hirt continues to climb up in the general standings of Giro d’Italia, moving up to 18th after stage 15.
Info: Stage 15, May 21st, Valdengo – Bergamo, 199km
Course: undulating (one cat. 2 and one cat. 3 late in the stage)
How it unfolded
Profile of the stage suited breakaway. Start was fast, as many riders wanted to slip into the main escape. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors), Moreno Hofland (Lotto Soudal), Jan Barta (Bora – Hansgrohe), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia) went clear early, but for the next 90 kilometers peloton was chasing hard, since few teams were not happy with the composition of the leading group. The pace in the first two hours of racing was extremely high, as it exceeded 50km/h.
The breakaway was reeled back in halfway through the stage, sparking new attacks. Finally 10 riders were given a “green light” to go away – Gaviria, Deignan, Moreno, Battaglin, Janse van Rensburg, Dilier, Barbin, Molard, Shalunov and Petilli. They built up a 2-minute advantage.
On first categorized climb to Miragolo San Salvatore (cat. 2) the break split and Janse van Rensburg (DImension Data), Philip Deignan (Team Sky) and Rudy Molard (FDJ) were the only riders to crest the top ahead of the peloton.
Later they were joined by Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale), who attacked from the reduced pack. When they bridged the gap, the bunch was just 50 seconds behind. Quintet got caught on the last hill in Bergamo, 3,5 from the finish, when GC contenders put the hummer down. After that move an 8-man leading group, which included most of the favorites, emerged in the front. They arrived at the line together and Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) won the sprint. Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and Thibault Pinot (FDJ) finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Jan Hirt lost contact with the first group on the climb in Bergamo, when he couldn’t answer to fast attacks launched by his opponents. He came in 40 second behind the winner, in 26th. Czech moved up another two spots in GC though, to 18th, after Tanel Kangert (Astana) had to abandon the race due injury suffered in a crash and Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates) lost few minutes on the stage.
Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) maintained his pink jersey.