GIRO’22 Stage 15: Courageous Ciccone Solo Victory

Giro Stage 15 Race Report: Giulio Ciccone courageously left the ‘break of the day’ with 18 kilometres to go to the finish in Cogne for a solo win. Behind him the peloton were happy to stay together as INEOS Grenadiers piloted the pink jersey of Richard Carapaz into the final week.

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The final kilometre of stage 15

‘Better than wearing the yellow jersey’ – Giulio Ciccone takes another Giro stage win

Giulio Ciccone was the winner of Sunday’s mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia finishing in Cogne. The Trek-Segafredo climber, who rode the last 18 kilometres solo, was the best of a leading group of 25 riders in stage 15. This is Ciccone’s third stage win in the Giro. There were no problems for Richard Carapaz’s pink jersey. Only Guillaume Martin managed to get time on the rest of the favourites.

Carapaz in the pink

The Route:
A colossal Alpine stage across the Aosta Valley. Initially, the route runs through the Canavese and the Dora Baltea valley, all the way to Aosta. The stage course then takes in three long consecutive ascents to Pila, Verrogne and Cogne. At over 10km each, these climbs are on wide and well-paved roads, with a number of hairpins in-between. Each is followed by a fast-running descent, with the same features. At over 22km, the sharp closing climb eventually becomes a long false-flat, all the way to the finish.

Final kilometres
Over the last 4km, from the centre of Cogne (with a short stretch of flagstone) all the way to the finish, the gradient hovers around 2.5% (kicking up a little just outside Cogne). The home straight is 300m long.

The leader’s jersey at the start-line

The big battles of the day came in the first 80 kilometres of the stage. After the hard day in Turin, many riders knew that a break would have a chance on the mountainous road to Cogne. Due to some nervousness in the peloton, there was a crash in the peloton early in the stage. Among the fallers was the pink jersey Richard Carapaz, but there was no problem.

Another tough day with three big climbs

Due to the many attacks at the front, several groups got away including Harm Vanhoucke, Lennard Kämna, Sylvain Moniquet, Alessandro De Marchi, Sam Oomen, Mauri Vansevenant and Giulio Ciccone. But all those attempts were pulled back by the peloton.

The peloton going out through the start town of Rivarolo Canavese

Before the first climb of the day, a large leading group, consisting of 25 men, escaped. Among them Mathieu van der Poel, Dries De Bondt, Julius van den Berg, Koen Bouwman, Sam Oomen, Gijs Leemreize, Thymen Arensman, Martijn Tusveld and Bauke Mollema, along with David De la Cruz, Santiago Buitrago, Hugh Carthy, Iván Ramiro Sosa, Giulio Ciccone and Davide Formolo.

Stage 15 of 177 kilometres to Cogne

Before Pila-Les-Fleurs (12.2km at 6.9%), the leading group had gained a 4 minute lead from the INEOS Grenadiers led group. Carapaz’s team kept the gap small; Arensman was closest on the overall at 11:47. Bouwman was not happy with the speed in the leading group and went solo in the hunt for KOM points. With a lead of 50 seconds, the stage winner in Potenza came over the top to take 40 mountain points. The peloton followed 5 minutes after Bouwman.

Simon Yates and Richard Carapaz both got caught in an early crash

After a long descent, Bouwman had a short ride in the valley before the Cat 1 climb to Verrogne (13.8km at 7.1%). Van der Poel and Tusveld rode a fast descent and joined Bouwman just before the climb. The three had 1:30, after which the group behind exploded on Verrogne.

Carapaz looked okay after the crash

Ciccone, Buitrago and Antonio Pedrero got together and joined Tusveld and Van der Poel 8 kilometres from the top. Bouwman, who was now the KOM, had done enough and after a double attack from Ciccone, Van der Poel and later also Tusveld were dropped. Ciccone, Buitrago and Pedrero were left out front, although Carthy came across before the top. Rui Costa was close behind, but was struggling.

Into the proper mountains

In the peloton, there was an attempt by UAE Team Emirates to pick up the pace on the Verrogne, but INEOS Grenadiers countered. Then it was Guillaume Martin, one of yesterday’s losers, who attacked. The Frenchman ended up in a group with the dropped Arensman.

Bouwman went looking for KOM points

The final climb to Cogne (22.4km at 4.3%) had steep sections especially in the first 8 kilometres. Six riders started that climb, because Tusveld and Costa managed to join on the descent. This was about 6 minutes ahead of the favourites group with the pink jersey. Ciccone used the steep opening section of the final climb to split the leading group. He succeeded and only Carthy could follow him.

The break was getting smaller

The peloton was happy to let the stage go

At 18 kilometres from the finish, Ciccone managed to shake off Carthy. In no time the Italian had a 40 second lead over Carthy and Buitrago, while also widening the gap to the peloton to more than 8 minutes. Little happened on the final climb in the elite group. INEOS Grenadiers set the pace, but there were no attacks.

INEOS led the peloton

Up towards the French border

At the front Ciccone extended his lead. Five kilometres from the finish, he had a lead of more than 1:30 on his only pursuer, Buitrago. Bahrain’s Colombian climber crossed the finish line in second, ahead of Antonio Pedrero and Hugh Carthy. Martijn Tusveld was in fifth place, more than 4 minutes from Ciccone.

Guillaume Martin attacked to move into the top 10 overall

Ciccone soloed the final 18 kilometres

The favourites group crossed the finish line just under 8 minutes after the stage winner. Guillaume Martin managed to take 1:46 minutes back on the other competitors with his attack. The Frenchman is now in the top 10 overall. The pink jersey remains on the shoulders of Richard Carapaz.

An emotional win for Ciccone

Stage winner, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo): “This is my most beautiful win, it is better than the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, better than my first wins at the Giro because I went through difficult times in the past two years, with crashes, illnesses and Covid. Today I felt strong. I chose to attack solo with 19km to go because it was the steepest part of the climb and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to drop everyone later on.”

Carapaz safe in the peloton

Maglia Rosa, Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers): “I had a small crash at the beginning of my first day in the Maglia Rosa but with no consequence at all. I just had to change bike. Then it went smoothly. The scenario of the race was pretty good. The first part was hard. Then we had it under control.”

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Carapaz – Pink for a week?

Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 4:37:41
2. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:31
3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 2:19
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-EasyPost at 3:09
5. Martijn Tusveld (DSM) DSM at 4:36
6. Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 5:08
7. Natnael Tesfatsion (Eri) Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli at 5:27
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 6:06.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers in 63:06:57
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) BORA-hansgrohe at 0:07
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:30
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 0:59
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 1:01
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-Victorious at 1:52
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:58
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Qazaqstan at 3:00
9. Juan Pedro López (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 4:04
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 8:02.

Watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free coverage of the Giro d’Italia 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream original and exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.

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