THE race of truth gave the Giro contenders plenty to think about, writes JOHN TREVORROW:
FILLIPO Ganna stormed over the 34 km individual time trial to convincingly win stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia.
The Italian is the current world champion in what is known as the “Race of Truth” and won by 26 seconds from Ineos-Grenadiers teammate and former world TT champ Aussie Rohan Dennis and the very impressive young American Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates) at 1m 09 seconds back in third place.
The real battle though was with the overall contenders and the 22 year old McNulty riding his first Grand Tour was outstanding and is now fourth overall at 2 m 23 seconds. Race leader Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) finished sixth at 1.31 seconds beating Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) by 16 seconds and increased his lead over the Dutchman to 56 seconds. Spaniard Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) remains in third overall but only by 12 seconds as he lost considerable time.
Another big loser out of the GC contenders was Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) who is now 2:30 away from the pink jersey after losing 1:23 to Almeida.
Young West Australian Jai Hindley (Sunweb) would have been a little disappointed with his race against the clock finishing 34th at 3 m 39 seconds and dropping to 10th overall at 3.33 seconds. But this isn’t his favourite discipline and he could well move up in this brutal final week.
Friday’s stage 13 was predominantly flat with a couple of cat 4 climbs near the finish. The day’s breakaway never gained enough time to look really threatening and were bought back on the final climb with 17 kms still to travel by the Bora-hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan who was trying to distance Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) in their duel for the points jersey. In the end the two short sharp climbs were too much for the Slovakian and the Frenchman as the GC contenders forced the pace and the race split apart.
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) threw his bike across the line to take the win narrowly from race leader Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe).
Jhonatan Narvaez from Ecuador (Ineos Grenadiers) won stage 12 after attacking from the day’s main break riding clear with Mark Padun, the young Ukranian riding for Bahrain McLaren and Aussie Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling). Clarke cracked on one of the many climbs and left the Ecuadorian and Ukranian to battle it out. In the end a very untimely puncture decided the outcome with Padan losing only a handful of seconds with a bike change but not being able to claw his way back while Simon Clarke finished third at 6min 50.
We are now moving into the brutal final week of the Giro. The organisers are now testing every day and tightened up the protocols. With no more Covid positive cases it is looking increasingly likely that the race will make it to its conclusion next Sunday in Milan.