João Almeida clings onto Maglia Rosa as Teo Geoghegan Hart wins atop Piancavallo
Almeida struggles on the brutally steep slopes of Piancavallo and finishes 37 seconds behind and keeps the Maglia Rosa by just 15 seconds. British rider Teo Geoghegan Hart wins his first Grand Tour stage
The British rider outsprinted Kelderman to the line to take Ineos’ fifth stage win of the race. In the battle for the Maglia Rosa Kelderman took back 41 seconds on Almeida, while the Dutchman’s teammate Jai Hindley finished third.
Almeida kept the Pink Jersey by just 15 seconds, with Keldermann in a very dangerous 15 seconds behind overall, and GC contender Geoghegan Hart fourth overall at 2:57.
Wilco Kelderman's right hand man Jai Hindley at Team Sunweb is up to third place at 2:56 overall.
Tao Geoghegan Hart said to the press after his stage victory, "I lost some time in the prologue and the plan for the whole team was to support Geraint (Thomas) for the victory and I really think he would have been on the podium if not better," he said.
"Etna was a very strange stage for us. We stood for five minutes with G on the floor in the neutralised zone and the day wasn't great. I’m behind on GC but I really wanted to win today. I’ve only won a few races in my career and so this is something truly incredible."
"This team is extraordinary and we are all showing what we're capable of stage by stage, everyone knows what a great influence Nico Portal had on the team and for me in particular: everyday we ride, we are remembering him.”
Riders will be relieved as the Giro d'Italia reaches the second rest day tomorrow, Monday, ahead of a mountainous final week before the run into Milan.
How It Happened
The 185km parcours covered four categorised climbs, including a first category summit finish, featuring an average gradient of 7.8% over its 14.5km length, with maximum gradients hitting 14% in the mid-section. There were attacks on the final climb from the GC contenders, who will use the race’s second and final rest day tomorrow to recover from their efforts.
After the fighter jets had put on a display with the green, white and red of the Italian flag, it was straight into racing, with eleven riders striving to form the day’s break and the peloton doing all they could to stop them. Eventually, the bunch couldn’t hold them, and this group set about building a lead that hit 6:30 at its peak, and while there were some strong riders in this group, the peloton had their eye on the finale and so set about reducing their lead, hitting three minutes with 50 km to go.
Out front, Rohan Dennis attacked his breakaway companions and solo'd towards the finish with 30 kms to, he was caught by the bunch with around 10 kms to go.
Attacks came quicky and four GC groups formed up the climb. Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) lost contact on the steepest gradients with 8km to go as the lead group was whittled down to just seven riders, including Almeida, Kelderman and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers).
After 12 days in the Pink Jersey, Almeida began to show the first signs of weakness and lost contact with the front of the race, while Jai Hindley carried Kelderman away up the climb, with Tao Geoghegan Hart the only rider able to keep pace of he two Sunweb riders.
Almedia put in a heroic effort to try and keep his race lead, holding the gap at 30 seconds by the end of stage.
VIDEO: 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 15 Highlights
2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 15 Top 10
1 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 4:58:52
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:02
3 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:04
4 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:37
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:22
6 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:29
7 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:01:36
8 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
2020 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 15
1 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 59:27:38
2 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:15
3 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:02:56
4 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:57
5 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:03:10
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:18
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:29
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling 0:03:50
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:09
10 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:04:12