Giro Stage Report: Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren) sprinted away from Ben O’Connor (NTT Pro Cycling) on the final uphill metres in San Daniele del Friuli for the stage win. The peloton wanted an extra rest day and finished well down on the day’s winner. Joāo Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) put in a late attack for a couple of extra seconds on the overall lead.
After going solo, Tratnik still had strength left for the finish
Jan Tratnik won the sixteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia in San Daniele del Friuli. The strong Slovenian of Bahrain-McLaren beat fellow breakaway Ben O’Connor in the last steep kilometre.
How much longer can Almeida hold on to the pink jersey?
Stage 16 – Udine – San Daniele del Friuli – 229km
The stage has a very wavy profile. It starts by taking in the constant undulations of the Julian Prealps, and finishes with a closing circuit around San Daniele del Friuli. For the first 150km, the route undulates continuously, taking in three fairly challenging categorised climbs, all the way to the closing circuit. The first climb, Madonnina del Domm, is the longest and steepest one, whereas the following ones (Monte Spig and Monteaperta), despite reaching double digit peaks, are shorter. The stage is played out on relatively wide mountain roads and on straight, large roads along the plain. In Majano, the route enters the closing circuit and covers almost one full lap before passing over the finish line. The peloton takes in the steep ramp leading to the castle of Susans (approximately 1km, with rising gradients topping out at 16%). After a short descent and a brief flat drag, the route climbs up Monte di Ragogna (2.8km with average 10.4% and maximum 16% gradients), which will be crested twice more during the two laps. After a short, steep descent, the route approaches the finish following the wavy profile.
With 3km to go, the route enters the urban area of San Daniele, taking in a few punchy bits. The last one is at the final kilometre, in Via Sottomonte (maximum 20%). A short descent then leads into the 200m home straight, on 6.5m wide tarmac, with a 10% gradient.
The peloton rolled out of Udine after the second rest day
A real stage for a break and a large group left the peloton. The men of Deceuninck – Quick-Step had to keep 28 escapees in line with several strong riders were represented.
The leading group: Matteo Fabbro and Pawel Poljanski (BORA-hansgrohe), Einer Rubio and Sergio Samitier (Movistar), François Bidard, Geoffrey Bouchard, Andrea Vendrame and Lary Warbasse (AG2R La Mondiale), Salvatore Puccio and Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers), Manuele Boaro and Fabio Felline (Astana), Ben O’Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Kamil Malecki and Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Enrico Battaglin and Jan Tratnik (Bahrain McLaren), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Lorenzo Rota and Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM), Alessandro Tonelli and Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Alessandro Bisolti and Jefferson Alexander Cepeda (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal), Valerio Conti (UAE Emirates) and James Whelan and Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling).
The peloton was looking for another rest day
Guerreiro and Visconti were involved in a fierce battle for the mountain jersey. On the Madonnina del Domm (10.8km at 7.1%), Guerreiro managed to fend off mountain jersey wearer Visconti, reducing the difference (126 to 105) to 21 points. On the Monte Spig (4.7 km at 8.2%) the tables were turned and Visconti took the full points.
It was a day for a break
The difference between the leading group and the peloton fluctuated around 6 minutes, but Deceuninck – Quick-Step decided to loosen the reins a bit on the run-up to Monteaperta, a third category climb with still 100 kilometres to go. The best placed rider in the leading group, Samitier, was 20 minutes down on the overall.
Sunweb are now the team that needs to control the race
The Spanish climber of Movistar posed no threat to leader Almeida and so the break was allowed to go up the road. Visconti had no problem on the Monteaperta, as Guerreiro had to deal with a mechanical just before the top and could not sprint for the mountain points. The experienced Italian took another 9 KOM points.
The break of the day turned out to be quite big
Guerreiro did not intend to give up just like that. The EF Pro Cycling rider managed to regain his place in the leading group after a frantic catch-up race and decided to accelerate quite early on the first passage of Monte Ragogna (2.8km at 10, 4%). Visconti was unable to follow his sharp attack and so Guerreiro was the first up the Ragogna.
The peloton was not chasing too hard at over 12 minutes down
The Portuguese rider eased off after the descent of the Ragogna and this was the signal for Boaro and Tratnik to break away. The Italian and Slovenian quickly managed half a minute and on the second climb of the Monte Ragogna, Tratnik decided to say goodbye to Boaro. The Bahrain-McLaren rider had a solo of well over 40 kilometres ahead.
Not the usual amount of fans roadside, but still keen
Tratnik proved strong enough to extend the lead to 40 seconds, while Boaro was caught by a chasing group including Swift, O’Connor, Tonelli, Bouchard, Malecki and Battaglin. These pursuers had to close 40 seconds on the last climb of Monte Ragogna on Tratnik, who still made a strong effort.
The pink jersey will be glad of the ‘easy’ day
On this nearly three-kilometre climb, we saw a reaction from O’Connor and Swift. The Australian climber of NTT Pro Cycling quickly managed to halve the difference with Tratnik to 20 seconds. Swift caught O’Connor’s wheel, but was just not strong enough to keep up with the pace.
Swift blew up a bit and crossed the top of Ragogna with Malecki and Battaglin, 40 seconds from Tratnik and O’Connor. The latter manage to catch up with Tratnik, so we started the last steep kilometre in San Daniele del Friuli with two leaders. O’Connor decided to increase the pace, but it was Tratnik who made a firm attack.
It turned out to be a defining moment in the race, as Tratnik turned out to be strong enough to continue his effort. The Slovenian managed to give his Bahrain-McLaren team a first stage victory in the 2020 Giro d’Italia. O’Connor had to settle for second place. Enrico Battaglin completed the party for Bahrain-McLaren by crossing the line third, ahead of Malecki and a tired Swift.
Twelve minutes after the win of Tratnik, the favourites for the overall victory started the last steep kilometre towards the finish. Pink jersey Almeida seemed to be feeling good and decided to jump up on the steepest stretches of the Via Sottomonte. Kelderman was initially on the wheel of Almeida, but had to let go of the more explosive Portuguese rider and lost two seconds at the line.
Tratnik was looking for the win
As a result, the difference between the two is now 17 seconds. Tomorrow will be another important day for the classification riders, as the seventeenth stage finishes at Madonna di Campiglio. Along the way, the riders will also cross two first and one third category climbs.
Fast uphill sprint win for Tratnik
Stage winner, Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren): “I still can’t believe I’ve won. I attacked so far from the finish and the last climb was very hard. I didn’t think I could do it, but in the end, it was a perfect day. We are close to the Slovenian border so today my brother and my girlfriend were here. 500 meters from the finish I saw my girlfriend and I found some extra energy that allowed me to win.”
Maglia Rosa, João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Sometimes the best defence is to attack. In the end I was feeling good and I attacked, gaining a few seconds. It went well.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 16 Result:
1. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-McLaren in 6:04:36
2. Ben O’Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling at 0:07
3. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:14
4. Kamil Małecki (Pol) CCC
5. Ben Swift (GB) INEOS Grenadiers
6. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:21
7. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:25
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana at 1:33
10. Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè at 1:37.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 16:
1. João Almeida (Pol) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 65:45:08
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:17
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 2:58
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:59
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 3:12
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) BORA-hansgrohe at 3:20
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling at 3:52
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) BORA-hansgrohe at 4:11
10. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 4:24