Italy’s Giulio Ciccone on Tuesday won the rain-lashed 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia as race favorite Primoz Roglic lost 1 minute, 20 seconds to his main rivals in pink jersey-wearer Richard Carapaz and two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali.
The veteran Italian Nibali sparked a highly aggressive day of racing. While he was unable to drop Ecuador’s Carapaz, Roglic, who was isolated from his teammates, was no match for the attack — even if Roglic would not admit it.
“This Giro isn’t over yet,” Roglic said. “Anything can happen.”
The 2013 and 2016 Giro winner Nibali launched his assault on the day’s final challenging climb, about 8km from the summit, which he crossed about 90 seconds ahead of the flailing former ski-jumper Roglic.
Overall leader Carapaz, aided by his powerful Team Movistar captain Mikel Landa, caught Nibali before the summit and formed the group that powered over the final rolling kilometers in blustery rain.
“To beat Carapaz, I’ll have to work out a new plan,” Nibali said afterward. “Today, we worked together to take out Roglic.”
Carapaz said that he was feeling relaxed now that Roglic had finally let go after a long struggle.
“This was a perfect day for us,” Carapaz said. “We did very well and we can relax a bit now.”
Ahead of them was the day’s escaping pair of eventual winner Ciccone and the man that he beat to the line, the Czech Jan Hirt, who finished 1 minute, 41 seconds ahead of Nibali’s group.
About 3 minutes off the pace were Britain’s Simon Yates and Bauke Mollema, the Dutch outside hope. The two lost ground on the mountainous run, crossing the line with Roglic.
Team Jumbo-Visma director Addy Engels admitted that his rider Roglic suffered on Tuesday.
“This time you saw a difference in level between Roglic and riders like Nibali, Carapaz and Landa. When they went, he was unable to follow,” Engels said. “And there’s more climbing to come.”
Nibali, who is 1 minute, 47 seconds behind Carapaz, has moved up to second place, followed by Roglic in third at 2 minute, 9 seconds and Landa in fourth at 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
Stage winner Ciccone was seen shivering after the race and had stuffed newspapers into his shirt on the descent of the main climb.
“I couldn’t put my top on at the Mortirolo. The sleeves were too narrow and my gloves were wet,” said Ciccone, who is top of the climb points standings for the blue jersey.
Today’s run offers relative respite to the peloton as there are no real mountains to climb, even if there is very little flat terrain on the 181km run near the Austrian border that finishes in a 5km ascent.
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