GIRO’21 Stage 15: Victor Campenaerts the Victor!

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Giro d’Italia Stage 15: The World hour record holder Victor Campenaerts won stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia in the Slovenian town of Gorizia. The Qhubeka Assos rider out-sprinted Oscar Riesebeek of Alpecin-Fenix on a wet day. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) finished in the peloton to hold his pink jersey.

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The Grand Tour stage win for Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts won stage 15 of the Giro after 147 kilometres, which was neutralised for a while due to an early big crash. The Belgian from Qhubeka Assos was the best of the early break at the finish in Gorizia. He beat Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) in a two man sprint.

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No problems for Egan Bernal

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Giro stage 15 route: A short stage with a cross-border circuit between Italy and Slovenia of approx. 40km. The route begins flat, all the way to Sagrado, and then clears the Monte San Michele climb. Starting in Mossa, the circuit features three passes over the steep, 2km long Gornje Cerovo climb (each awarding KOM points), and a succession of tough climbs and descents. After the third lap, the route goes back to Italy through San Floriano del Collio, passes north of Gorizia and crosses the border again, passing through Nova Gorica. The last 5km are raced partly in Slovenia and partly in Italy. Past Piazza Europa, the route ascends for nearly 1 km at 14% max. gradients, and then takes a technical descent leading back to Italy. Over the final kilometre, the route covers a short stretch on stone pavers. The home straight is 300m long, on tarmac road.

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Maglia Rosa – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), Maglia Ciclamino – Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Maglia Azzurra – Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) and Maglia Bianca – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), worn by Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech)

After a very quick start, the riders had to stop after a massive crash in the peloton, the organisers decided to neutralise the stage. There were several victims who required medical assistance. Jos van Emden, Emanuel Buchmann (sixth overall), Natnael Berhane and Ruben Guerreiro all had to abandon. Immediately after the restart, there was a massive attack.

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The peloton leaves Grado

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The road into Slovenia

xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

Fifteen riders escaped: Oscar Riesebeek, Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Simone Consonni (Cofidis), Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Dario Cataldo, Albert Torres (Movistar), Nikias Arndt (DSM), Max Walscheid, Victor Campenaerts, Lukasz Wisniowski (Qhubeka Assos) and Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates).

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The race had to be stopped due to a big crash

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Emanuel Buchmann, Jos van Emden, Natnael Berhane and Ruben Guerreiro had to abandon

A group with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R Citroën), Filippo Tagliani (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) counter-attacked, but they couldn’t join the front group. There was no team in the peloton that was ready to chase. Peter Sagan had already indicated that he would be defending the points jersey, and not on the stage victory. As a result, the work was left up to INEOS Grenadiers, which had no reason to catch the leading group.

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Sunday morning horse ride

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The fans were out to see the Giro in Slovenia

The leading group soon had more than 12 minutes on the men of the pink jersey. The riders had to climb the Gornje Serovo (2.5km at 7%) in Slovenia three times. The Slovenian cycling fans knew the route and had turned out in their hundreds. De Bondt took the most mountain points on the first two climbs.

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The Gornje Cerovo climb looked quite normal for the Giro

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The peloton wasn’t too interested in the chase – At nearly 13 minutes

In the last thirty kilometres, the games for the stage victory started in the leading group, although it had started to rain in the border area between Italy and Slovenia. Campenaerts, Riesebeek and Torres started with a lead of 30 seconds on the third and last climb of Gornje Serovo. Riesebeek and Campenaerts managed to drop Torres just before the top and continued their effort together. Hermans attacked from the chasers and crossed the top in a group including Mollema, Consonni, Vanhoucke, Arndt and Cataldo, 23 seconds behind the two leaders.

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The rain won’t help those vines

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The break had a big gap

In the pouring rain, Riesebeek and Campenaerts still had half a minute, while Torres was swallowed up by the Hermans group. At the front, Campenaerts took a lot of risks on the wet descent, but Riesebeek kept with his companion. With the Cerovo climb (1km at 5.6%) in sight, the pursuers got closer. Riesebeek and Campenaerts were looking at each other to lead. Several times the Dutchman and the Belgian tried to force the other to the front.

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It was great to see the fans roadside

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The win was going to come form the break

With a lead of 15 seconds, the two started the Cerovo, with ramps up to 14%, Riesebeek again opened the attack. Campenaerts reacted and took a few meters away from Riesebeek at the top, but the Alpecin-Fenix ​​rider was not surprised. In the chase, Mollema, Hermans, Arndt and Consonni were the strongest, but they were still at more than 10 seconds.

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Would you bet on Campenaerts winning the sprint?

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A very happy Victor Campenaerts

On the wet, technical run into town, it was again Campenaerts who took all the risks. Each time he got 20 meters, but each time Riesebeek managed to close the gap. In the streets of Gorizia it was going to be a two-up sprint on the cobblestones of the city centre. Riesebeek pushed Campenaerts to the edge, but it was the Belgian who won the stage. Seven seconds later, Arndt sprinted to third place, ahead of Consonni and Hermans. The peloton did not take any risks in the rainy final and came wet but safe.

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Third place went to Nikias Arndt (DSM) ahead of Simone Consonni (Cofidis)

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The wet peloton came in 17 minutes later

Stage winner, Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos): “It was just an amazing day for the team. As we don’t have climbers for the next few stages in the mountains, we decided to go all in today. We rode as one: ubuntu – ‘I am because we are’. We gave everything from the first few kilometres, what a fantastic day. We did a great job and I am so happy I could finish it off. Now we have three victories in the Giro, which is simply fantastic for a team that struggled to stay alive. We’re making an important statement as we are racing for the greater purpose of changing lives with bicycles: to provide bicycles in Africa for better education and better lives.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka Assos in 3:25:25
2. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM at 0:07
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:09
8. Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar at 0:44
9. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 1:02
10. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka Assos
11. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
12. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Qhubeka Assos
13. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
14. Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
15. Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:09
16. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 17:21
17. Filippo Ganna (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
18. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) INEOS Grenadiers
19. Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers
20. Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) BikeExchange
21. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
22. Gianni Moscon (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers
23. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers
24. Michael Hepburn (Aus) BikeExchange
25. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 62:13:33
2. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:33
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 1:51
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:57
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 2:11
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:03
7. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:52
8. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:54
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 4:31
10. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 5:37
11. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 7:49
12. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 7:50
13. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 8:32
14. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 9:52
15. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange at 10:15
16. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 11:48
17. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 14:25
18. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 16:04
19. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 16:07
20. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 16:43
21. Tanel Kangert (Est) BikeExchange at 18:53
22. Gianni Moscon (Ita) INEOS Grenadiers at 19:45
23. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 24:30
24. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 24:49
25. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) eolo-Kometa at 28:33

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