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Giro d'Italia 2019: Carapaz wins Stage 14 to take over pink jersey

Movistar make the numbers game count as key rivals trip over themselves

Martin James
25 May 2019

Movistar's Richard Carapaz took his second win of the 2019 Giro d'Italia, conquering a mountainous Stage 14 to cross the line alone and take over the race leader's pink jersey for his troubles.

Carapaz attacked on the penultimate climb of the day and made the most of his advantage as those behind started watching each other.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took second, recovering after again looking suspect in the mountains to break clear of those who had ridden away from him earlier in the day for a morale-boosting result. Italy's Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) got the consolation of third place and a time bonus, finishing with fellow favourites Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and Carapaz's Movistar teammate Mikel Landa.

Roglic had looked nailed on to take over the race lead from Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), who had fallen away on the climbs, but didn't seem interested in chasing Carapaz down, and seemed happy enough not to have the added pressure of the pink jersey on his shoulders going into the final week.

He now sits tidily in second place, seven seconds down. Nibali lies third, while Yates moves back into the top 10 overall.

How the stage unfolded 

Finally the Giro d'Italia has arrived in its favourite playground - the mountains. After taking on the Colle del Nivolet yesterday, today had five more climbs on the menu.

The pick of them was the first-category climb to Verrogne near the halfway mark of the 131km stage, followed by the feared Colle San Carlo, a 10.5km brute averaging nearly 10% and with several ramps at considerably more.

Coming 25km from the end, with only a small climb to the finish coming after the descent, there was plenty to be gained for anyone getting their timing right.

The obligatory breakaway soon established itself at the front, a group of eight then swelling to 12, though never being more than a couple of minutes clear of the peloton, which as being paced by the Jumbo-Visma team working for Roglic, who was looking to take over the race lead from a fading Polanc.

Also in the group were key personnel deployed by several of the GC men - Andrey Amador of Movistar (for Landa and Carapaz), Damiano Caruso of Bahrain-Merida (for Nibali) and Ion Izagirre of Astana (for Miguel Angel Lopez), as well as Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), who was looking to hoover up some more points and bolster his lead in the mountains competition.

And he duly did so, and so it was on to the feared Colle San Carlo. Two things happened almost immediately. First, Bahrain-Merida pushed past the yellow Jumbo-Visma ranks to start setting the pace in the GC group.

And secondly, the maglia rosa of Polanc was quickly dispatched out the back.

And the significance of Bahrain-Merida's move to the front became apparent almost immediately when Nibali shot off the front, and barely 1km into the climb the GC group had been cut to just a handful of riders: Nibali, Roglic, Carapaz, Landa and Lopez.

It was already looking like another long day in the saddle for Yates, plus two of the key animators on the Nivolet yeterday - eventual stage winner Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Wtih Nibali's move countered, the pace dropped, providing fresh hope to Yates, who had kept the leaders in view. But as soon as he was about to make contact, someone else would attack again and he'd lose ground again.

By now the group had grown in size after Caruso, Amador and Izagirre dropped back to join their respective team leaders Nibali, Landa and Lopez. He climbed back to within seconds of getting back on terms, but was again distanced when Carapaz launched a blistering attack and quickly opened a gap of 15 seconds on Roglic, Nibali, Lopez and Movistar teammate Landa.

The breakaway group was now a thing of the past, and Carapaz was first over the top of the Colle San Carlo, 31 seconds clear of Nibali, the Italian launching a cheeky dig right at the summit to take second place ahead of Landa. By now Majka had regained contact, and Yates himself wasn't too far back.

The majority of the remaining 25km went by quickly, as the chasers set about trying to close the gap down to Carapaz.

And for a while it looked like they would catch him, yet with nobody fully commited to taking the initiative on the modest climb to the finish, suddenly the gap started growing again, reaching just on a minute with 6km to go.

The drop in pace finally allowed Yates and several others to rejoin the group, and Yates promptly decided to go off the front, though he was reined in before long.

By now Carapaz had the stage win in the bag, and the size of his lead meant he was now within a minute of the virtual race lead.

The punch and counter-punch among the favourites continued, then Yates had another go, and this time got his timing right,  

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