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GIRO’23 Stage 14: Double Denz – Armirail Takes Pink!

A strange profile for a strange day

Stage Report: Nico Denz won stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia after winning two days ago. The German of BORA-hansgrohe sprinted to victory from the early break. Derek Gee finished second for the third time, Alberto Bettiol was third. Bruno Armirail was part of the early break and took enough time to take the jersey pink from Geraint Thomas.

Giro d’Italia 2023 | Stage 14 | Last KM

The stage 14 route
The stage tackles a challenging climb early on, followed by 150km of downhill and flat terrain. After cresting the Simplon Pass, the route features a technical descent leading back to Italy, with several tunnels. The roads are wide and straight in the first part, from the border to Lake Maggiore, and more intricate along the lakeshore. The route is somewhat rougher in the final part, past Sesto Calende, but still on well paved roads. Common traffic calming devices will be found in urban areas.


Final kilometres
The stage finale is played out mostly in urban areas, with no particular impediments. The roads are straight, with hardly any curves. The pitch over the final kilometre hovers just below the 3% mark. The home straight (300m) is on 8m wide tarmac.

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Primoz Roglič at the start of another ‘transition’ stage

The stage had opportunities for the sprinters, but there was also a big chance for a break. From the start there was a battle to get in the escape. Eighteen riders originally got away, but that wasn’t the end as several riders tried to cross. Lennard Kämna and Thymen Arensman, 6th and 8th overall, also tried to join the front split.

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The break started small, but soon grew

Jumbo-Visma didn’t want that to happen and almost closed the gap to the break, Kämna and Arensman then dropped back. The chasing eleven join the front group in the first kilometres of the Passo del Sempione. There was now 27 riders in the leading group. Mattia Bais and Mirco Maestri made the jump later, bringing the total to 29 riders.

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Alessandro De Marchi made it into the break again

The break of the day: Pieter Serry, Davide Ballerini (Soudal Quick-Step), Nicolas Prodhomme, Larry Warbasse (AG2R Citroën), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Luis León Sánchez (Astana Qazaqstan), Andrea Pasqualon, Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Nico Denz (BORA-hansgrohe), Mirco Maestri, Mattia Bais, Davide Bais (EOLO-Kometa), Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Laurenz Rex (Intermarché-Circus Wanty), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Simon Clarke, Derek Gee, Stephen Williams (Israel-Premier Tech), Michael Hessmann, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Carlos Verona, Fernando Gaviria, Will Barta (Movistar), Warren Barguil, Thibault Guernalec (Arkéa-Samsic), Marius Mayrhofer (DSM), Alessandro De Marchi (Jayco AlUla), Otto Vergaerde, Bauke Mollema and Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo).

The lead of the large group on the Passo del Sempione increased to about 7 minutes as the rain started to fall again. INEOS Grenadiers kept the gap stable for a while, but let it increase again later. Bruno Armirail was the best placed at the front. He was at 18:36 behind pink jersey wearer Geraint Thomas at the start of the stage.

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The break was building up a nice lead

Movistar had Gaviria in the break and controlled the pace of the escape on the climb. Only just before the top of the Passo del Sempione was there an acceleration. Davide Bais sprinted to take the 40 mountain points and pass Thibaut Pinot in the KOM classification.

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That man Denz was in the break

Back on the flat, the escape took more time. Their lead was just under 11 minutes with about 90 kilometres to go. At the intermediate sprint, Derek Gee was third and came even closer to Pascal Ackermann who is 2nd in the points classification.

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The weather in Switzerland wasn’t bad

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Back in Italy and back to the terrible weather

At 60 kilometres from the finish, Bettiol made a strong attack. Denz, the stage winner on Thursday, jumped to the Italian, but the two were unable to make it stick. When they were caught, Rex took off next. He had Oldani with him and they were joined by Ballerini and then also Skujiņš.

It was cold and wet… again

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So, you want to be professional bike rider?

In the chase group, the men of Movistar took on the work. They were helped by Williams, who had two teammates with him; Gee and Clarke. Sütterlin also worked for Pasqualon. EOLO-Kometa also had a man on the front. The difference increased to about 50 seconds. On a small climb, 16 kilometres out, Gee attacked on his own.

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Laurenz Rex was in the group of four that split off the front of the break

Toms Skujins looked to be the strong man in the group

The chasing group split. Mayrhofer then attacked from the front, which led to a reaction from Gee. Meanwhile, Rex was dropped from the front group. The Belgian of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty was caught by Gee and Mayrhofer, who had also been joined by Bettiol and Denz. A third group including Mollema and Armirail, who was now wearing the virtual pink jersey. The difference between the peloton and the front of the race was more than 19 minutes.

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The chase was on in the second group

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INEOS let the break go to nearly 20 minutes – Did they want to lose the pink jersey?

The second group was about 10 to 15 seconds behind the three front runners for a long time, but the gap was even smaller when they entered the last kilometre. Oldani started the sprint very early… too early. Skujiņš and Ballerini closed him down as the second group pulled them in. It was now a sprint from a larger group and Denz was the fastest. Gee came up strongly, but again had to settle for second place. Bettiol took third place ahead of Laurenz Rex.

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It was a close sprint, but Denz just beat Gee to the line

Another stage win for Nico Denz

Stage winner, Nico Denz (BORA-hansgrohe): “I felt supergood today and so I managed to get again into the breakaway. We were lucky to close the gap just inside the final km. I felt very good and when Bettiol launched his sprint I followed him and then I went full gas until the line. It was a very tough day but it ended well for me.”

Geraint Thomas is now second overall at 1:41

The Maglia Rosa, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ): “The plan this morning was more about the stage win. We had spoken with my team-mate Rudy Molard. We thought one day the Maglia Rosa could be up for grabs. But we didn’t think it would be today. I had tried on stage 4 and I was disappointed that I wasn’t on a good day. Only once Geraint Thomas crossed the line, it became a reality in my mind but it’s hard to realise. It’s nice for the team after Thibaut Pinot’s second place yesterday.”

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Bruno Armirail – The first Frenchman in pink since 1999

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Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Nico Denz (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe
2. Derek Gee (Can) Israel-Premier Tech
3. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-EasyPost
4. Laurenz Rex (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty
5. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Soudal Quick-Step
6. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
7. Marius Mayrhofer (Ger) DSM at 0:10
8. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 0:20
9. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 0:50
10. Mirco Maestri (Ita) EOLO-Kometa.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 56:17:01
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:41
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 1:43
4. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 2:03
5. Andreas Leknessund (Nor) DSM at 2:23
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 3:09
7. Lennard Kämna (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:33
8. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Jayco AlUla at 4:13
9. Thymen Arensman (Ned) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:26
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) INEOS Grenadiers at 4:49.

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