Giro d’Italia #15: O’Connor moves into 12th in the GC

It was another stage for the general classification contenders as Simon Yates (Mitchelton Scott) took his third win at the Giro d’Italia. Second place was secured by Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) was third. Ben O’Connor placed 16th on the stage, just 1:20 behind stage winner Simon Yates.

Today’s stage was another mountainous day, stretching 176km from Tolmezzo to Sappada. The peloton kept a watchful eye over the many break attempts, neutralising all the attacks for the first 70km. With a 100kms to go, a break of about 25 riders went clear. As the road started to twist upwards, the break started to split, leaving only Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF), Dayer Quintana (Movistar), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Nico Denz and Mickaël Cherel (both AG2R La Mondiale) out in front.

The remaining peloton was a selection of the GC favourites, with Ben O’Connor riding superbly to represent Team Dimension Data. As pace increased, the group was split in two, with Ben sitting in the second group. Yates attacked and soloed to victory. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) was second over the line, followed by Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). By finishing 16th on another ruthless stage, O’Connor moved up to 12th on the GC.

Unfortunately, Igor Anton, after a brave ride yesterday, abandoned the race due to stomach issues.

Ben O’Connor- Rider
“Today was meant to be a day for the breakaway and that wasn’t so! It took almost 2hrs for the break to form – and then soon after a chase by EF, they brought the break back on the Tre Coci climb to close enough distance. The GC men then decided have a go again. Jacques and Ben (King) were able to help support and bring me to the front before the 2nd last climb. The last few kms were very hard and it essentially came down to the top 20 guys. After a nasty fast descent a gap opened up immediately on the final climb. I was able to hold onto Froome and co as they had the incentive to chase. So on the final run up the valley to the finish, I was able to place well in 16th. I could have done no more today and each day for me to be up the front is a revelation. It may sound like that every day but it truly has been wonderful. Now for some good rest on Monday and the a reunion with the TT bike Tuesday!