Esteban Chaves (Orica Greenedge) won stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia by out sprinting Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and George Preidler (Giant-Alpecin) after an extremely tough stage in the Italian Dolomites. Kruijswijk would also take over the race lead after his efforts today.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also had an incredibly good day and specifically Kanstantsin Siutsou, who had a magnificent ride. After a really fast start, the break of the day took near on 50km to go clear and when it did, 35 riders were in the move. Siutsou was part of the escape and he had every intention of going all the way to the line.
With 6 categorised climbs that took in over 5000m of climbing and most of the climbs peaking above 2200m in altitude, it was one of the hardest day’s on a bike that many of our riders had ever experienced. Due to the difficulty of the stage, there was almost a natural selection that took place as riders were dropped from both the big break and the peloton simultaneously.
The race defining action took place on the penultimate climb, the Passo Giau. Going over the top, just 2 from the break of 35 were surviving, Siutsou and Atapuma while Preidler was just a few seconds behind the leading duo as well. The peloton had exploded on the climb with Chaves, Kruijswijk and Nibali all riding away from the rest of the favourites.
On the final categorised climb of the stage, the cat 2 Passo Valparola, Atapuma went clear and Siutsou joined up with Preidler. Right at the summit though, Chaves and Kruijswijk joined Siutsou and Preidler with Nibali a further 25 seconds back. On the descent, Siutsou lost the wheel of the 3 chasers who had Atapuma at 25″ with 8km to go.
The 3 chasers eventually caught Atapuma just 2km from the finish and they would sprint it out for the stage victory. Nibali got across to Siutsou in the final kilometers of the stage and Siutsou followed the Italian champions wheel all the way home to secure a fine 6th place on the stage for our African Team. After spending 160km in the break, Siutsou was rewarded by moving up to 9th on the overall classification.
Jean Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
The day went as planned, we had wanted someone in the big break and Kanstantsin was there. We moved up to 9th place in the overall and a top 10 in the Giro d’Italia is always a nice moment.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
For over 3 hours we were the virtual leaders of the Giro d’Italia and this was a really nice experience. We went over some climbs right at the front of the race so absolute respect to Kanstantsin, he was fighting like crazy for the stage win and a good GC result.