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Richard Carapaz seizes pink after winning his second stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia

Yates reinvigorates his race with a runner-up spot

Saturday’s fourteen stage of the Giro d’Italia was the third day in the mountains and it proved to be an engrossing race as Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) earned a brace of wins and seized the pink jersey, while Simon Yates finally came good by finishing runner-up. Carapaz, winner of Stage 4, took a stage triumph and fourth place last year. He leads Primož Roglič by seven-seconds.

Thursday and Friday had gone a long way in setting the tone for the rest of the race. Mikel Landa, Bauke Mollema, Ilnur Zakarin pushed their way into contention. Vincenzo Nibali tried to psych Primož Roglič out by complaining about the Slovenian not chasing. Yates continued to stumble. The podium and top-10 battles took shape.

Here was the top 14 after thirteen stages:
1) Jan Polanc (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) 54:28:59
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +2:25
3) Ilnur Zakarin (Russia/Katusha) +2:56
4) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) 3:06
5) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/UAE-Emirates) +4:09
6) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) +4:22
7) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +4:28
8) Mikel Landa (Spain/Movistar) +5:08
9) Pavel Sivakov (Russia/Ineos) +7:13
10) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +7:48
11) Tanel Kangert (Estonia/EF Education First) +7:52
12) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +8:14
13) Davide Formolo (Italy/Bora-Hansgrohe) +8:44
14) Mikel Nieve (Spain/Mitchelton-Scott) +8:52
The next rider was 2:32 farther back.

The Course

Saturday’s route was a classic modern Grand Tour course: five categorized climbs crammed into 131 km. There were two sets of a Cat. 2 ascent combined with a Cat. 1, and the final Cat. 1, Colle San Carlo, was where the big moves would be made. Colle San Carlo was 10.5 km of 9.7 percent and peaked 25 km from the finish in Courmayeur. The descent of San Carlo led to the last climb, a mild 8.2 km of 3.2 percent.

The First Three Climbs

As soon as the flag dropped Stage 12 winner Cesare Benedetti and Marco Haller, who came close to throttling a fan who tried to pluck a bidon out of his mouth after Stage 12, scampered up the road. But on the Cat. 2 Verrayes climb it came back together. Simon Yates attacked twice but he was marked by his rivals.

Multiple moves established an octet of fugitives on Cat. 1 Verrogne, with a chasing quartet 1:18 back and the favourites 2:31 in arrears by the peak. Giulio Ciccone (Italy/Trek-Segafredo) was first over both of the first two climbs to bolster his KOM lead.

In the first kilometres of Cat. 2 Truc d’Arbe the chase reached the break to make a dozen. Yates had two men in the group, while Nibali, Landa and Lopez all had one. Ciccone once more scored the maximum points. In the peloton, Roglič’s Jumbo-Visma had taken over from Polanc’s UAE-Emirates in the pacemaking.

Colle San Carlo

The Ciccone break hit the foot of San Carlo with a 1:30 gap. Nibali put a man at the front of a peloton and Polanc popped.

Nibali then attacked, but Roglič hung tough. Landa, Carapaz and Lopez were able to respond but Bora-Hansgrohe ran down the high-powered quintet. Yates and Mollema couldn’t hold the pace.

At the business end of the race, three fugitives pushed on, but the favourites were coming. With the escapees withing touching distance, Lopez accelerated, but couldn’t shake anyone. Brave Ciccone was the last breakaway to be absorbed with 29 km remaining.

Carapaz managed to skip away with 3 km to climb. His chasers were Nibali, Lopez and Roglič with Landa sitting on.

With Carapaz increasing his lead, Nibali and company received some reinforcements, but Mollema, Zakarin, Yates and Sivakov were still behind and Polanc was out of pink. Nibali attacked over the top.

The Conclusion

Nibali plummeted off San Carlo, but could only shake Lopez momentarily. The Ecuadorian beat on ahead.

Carapaz hit the final climb with a 40-second lead. Yates and Sivakov nabbed the Roglič-Nibali gang before the road kicked back up. With Carapaz’s victory looking more likely, the other favourites threw a few haymakers that missed before Yates dashed up the road.

Carapaz was getting closer to the finish line and pink. Roglič seemed satisfied to let the race lead go to Movistar. Yates reinvigorated his Giro by coming second while Nibali took the last of the bonus seconds.

It was a good day for Carapaz and Yates, but a lousy day for Friday’s winner Ilnur Zakarin, who dropped out of the top-10 from third place overnight.

Sunday is a mini Il Lombardia finishing in Como.

2019 Giro d’Italia Stage 14

1) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) 4:02:23
2) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +1:32
3) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Bahrain-Merida) +1:54

2019 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Richard Carapaz (Ecuador/Movistar) 58:35:34 54:28:59
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:07
3) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Bahrain-Merida) +1:47
4) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:10 3:06
5) Mikel Landa (Spain/Movistar) +2:50
6) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) +2:58
7) Jan Polanc (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +3:29
8) Pavel Sivakov (Russia/Ineos) +4:55
9) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +5:28
10) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) +5:30