Giro d’Italia returns to Sappada after 31 years
Elia Viviani heads into the final week of the race with the cyclamen jersey on his shoulders.
Stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia was punctuated by five climbs – Passo della Mauria, Passo Tre Croci, Passo di Sant'Antonio, Costalissoio and Sappada – and the uphill start from Tolmezzo made for a really tense opening hour, with dozens of riders trying to book a place in the breakaway, which by the time it had formed, counted no less than 26 men.
One of these was Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar, who won the first intermediate sprint of the day and took pulls at the front to help the group increase their advantage to three minutes. It looked like the peloton would give the leaders green light to go all the way and contest the win, but with some teams having missed on the breakaway, the bunch began a fierce forcing which resulted in the last escapees being brought to heel on the penultimate ascent.
That was the place where pink jersey Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked, gapping all his rivals and taking a solo victory on Sappada – which returned in the Giro d'Italia after more than three decades – ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Elia Viviani safely concluded the stage protected by his teammates and kept the iconic maglia ciclamino which he will wear for the 14th time at this edition. The 29-year-old Quick-Step Floors rider, a triple stage winner at the Corsa Rosa and the most successful sprinter of the season, has a hefty lead in the points classification and finds himself in pole-position to take the jersey all the way to Rome, where the race will conclude for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Giro d'Italia will resume on Tuesday after the third rest day, with a 34.2km-long individual time trial between Trento and Rovereto, which has last hosted a stage finish in 2005.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images