Almeida in a pink T-shirt even after the ascent to Piancavallo

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22-year-old Joao Almeida will be wearing a pink T-shirt for the thirteenth time in a row on Tuesday. Photo: AP

Geoghegan Hart was the strongest in the finish line of the trio, who together rode to the top of the first category climb. The Dutchman was two seconds behind Wilco Kelderman, two more seconds Australian Jai Hindley.

Almeida was 37 seconds behind the winner. In the overall standings, he still has a 15-second advantage over Kelderman.

This is a special victory. This year’s season of big three-week races is full of ups and downs for us. But here on the Giro we have the remarkable Filippo Ganno, and Rohan Dennis. All of us on our team have been among the top four in the stages so far, I am proud to have added a bit to these successes and to be part of this team, “said the 25-year-old Briton after Ineos’ fifth victory at the Giro.

The 185 km long stage, which started at the Italian Air Force base, after more than 4,000 meters of altitude, was expected to bring new shifts in the overall standings. After Saturday’s time trial, Kelderman was not expected to take over the T-shirt of the leading cyclist on the Giro before a free Monday, but he came very close to that.

At first, the majority dropped 11 fugitives, but with a not very big advantage, they chased more points for the ranking of the best mountaineer. The world chronometer champion of 2019, the Australian, remained in the forefront for the longest time Rohan Dennis. At the foot of the last ascent, a group of the best caught him and began to dictate a strong rhythm.

The Sunweb team was especially numerous for Kelderman, who became the first favorite for the final victory after Saturday’s time trial. Rhythm quickly shot both ahead of this stage of third in the overall standings, the Spaniard Pella Bilbaa as a Dane Jakoba Fuglsanga, while the leading Almeida still kept in touch with the best.

In the first, steepest part of the climb, it fell off again Vincenzo Nibali, thus the hopes of Italian cycling enthusiasts for a final victory on the Giro floated on the water after it had already fallen away Domenico Pozzovivo.

Kelderman’s first assistant Hindley continued to break rivals. The pink Almeida, who tried to limit the damage in the last six more gentle kilometers, also dropped out. He did enough to wear a pink T-shirt for the 13th day in a row on Tuesday after the day of the break.

Cyclists and the Gira caravan are now awaiting new testing for the new coronavirus, which could further complicate the final week of the race, bringing many long alpine climbs.

DIRKA PO ITALIJI, 15. etapa            
                                       
Base Area Rivolto - Piancavallo, 185 km
 1. T. GEOGHEGAN HART  VB/IGD  4:58:52 
 2. W. KELDERMAN      NIZ/SUN    +0:02 
 3. J. HINDLEY        AVS/ING     0:04 
 4. J. ALMEIDA        POR/DQT     0:37 
 5. R. MAJKA          POL/BOH     1:22 
 6. P. KONRAD         AVT/BOH     1:29 
 7. J. KNOX            VB/DQT     1:36 
 8. P. BILBAO         ŠPA/TBM      vsi 
 9. J. FUGLSANG       DAN/AST     isti 
10. V. NIBALI         ITA/TFS      čas 
...                                    
32. D. NOVAK          SLO/TBM     9:12 
33. J, TRATNIK        SLO/TBM  isti čas
Skupni vrstni red po 15. etapi:       
  1. J. ALMEIDA         POR   59:27:38
  2. W. KELDERMAN       NIZ      +0:15
  3. J. HINDLEY         AVS       2:56
  4. T. GEOGHEGAN HART  VB        2:57
  5. P. BILBAO          ŠPA       3:10
  6. R. MAJKA           POL       3:18
  7. V. NIBALI          ITA       3:29
  8. D. POZZOVIVO       ITA       3:50
  9. P. KONRAD          AVT       4:09
 10. F. MASNADA         ITA       4:12
 11. B. McNULTY         ZDA       4:29
 12. J. FUGLSANG        DAN       5:07
 ...                                  
 61. J. TRATNIK         SLO    1:46:29
 79. D. NOVAK           SLO    2:14:23

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