Giro d’Italia: Ciccone climbs to stage win as leader Carapaz shakes off crash

Carapaz was helped through three long climbs by his Ineos Grenadiers team after falling from his bike during a mass crash

Giulio Ciccone claimed a third career Giro d’Italia stage victory at the summit finish of Cogne, while Richard Carapaz retained his overall lead despite an early crash.

Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) added victory on stage 15 to previous Giro joy in 2016 and 2019. The Italian escaped from breakaway companions Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) to ride the final 18km alone.

Buitrago and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) completed the podium, finishing 1m 31s and 2m 19s behind Ciccone.

The eventual stage winner worked with Buitrago and Pedrero to cover an early break and the pressed up the Verrogne climb. Carthy, Martijn Tusveld (Team DSM) and Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) formed a chase group 30 seconds behind, with the former catching the leaders by the time they reached the summit with 40km remaining.

Ciccone’s attack at the base of the final climb cracked Tusveld, Costa and Pedrero, before another burst of acceleration accounted for Buitrago and Carthy. He threw his sunglasses into the crowd before crossing the finish line to huge cheers from watching spectators.

“This is my most beautiful win,” he said afterwards. “It’s 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.”

Ciccone completed the 178km stage in four hours and 37 minutes.

Carapaz, wearing the pink jersey for the first time this year after taking ownership of it on Saturday, was helped through the day’s three long climbs by his powerful Ineos Grenadiers team after falling from his bike during a mass crash early in Sunday’s stage.

Carapaz, the 2019 Giro champion and an Olympic gold medallist last year, said afterwards there was “no consequence at all” from the crash. “I just had to change bikes,” he said. “Then it went smoothly. The scenario of the race was pretty good. The first part was hard. Then we had it under control.”

Seven seconds

The Ecuadorian leads Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) by seven seconds in the general classification, and is 30 seconds in front of third-placed João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates).

Almeida was unhappy after the race, believing that Carapaz’s Ineos teammate, Pavel Sivakov, had sat up early to try and help the race leader gain a couple of extra seconds.

“It was just a tactical thing. I was on the wheel and his teammate was braking, that’s why I took the gap,” Almeida told Cyclingnews. “It was two seconds and that’s something, but in the end there’s nothing I could do about it. It is what it is.” Carapaz did not see the incident, but did not ultimately gain any time on Almeida.

After the race’s final rest day on Monday, the Giro resumes with one of the sport’s toughest climbs up the Mortirolo along the 202km leg from Salò to Aprica. The race ends next Sunday in Verona.