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by Abby Mickey
October 18, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
Ineos Grenadiers’ management team said before the stage 14 individual time trial that they were expecting some strong performances, and they were not disappointed. World ITT Champion Filippo Ganna rode the course 26 seconds ahead of his teammate, former World Champion Rohan Dennis, and remained in the hot seat until the rest of the riders had finished. For the third time in this year’s Giro, Ganna bounded onto the podium to accept stage honors.
With all eyes on the general classification contenders hoping to unseat João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quickstep), who had been wearing pink for eleven straight stages prior to the ITT, the question was, would Almeida keep pink? The answer: yes. Almeida finished sixth on the day, gaining time over his closest rival, Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb), who finished 16 seconds behind Almeida in ninth.
Young American Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) had an exceptional ride, finishing behind Ganna and Dennis in third, and moving into fourth in the general classification.
The GC had shuffled minimally since stage 3 when the race finished on Etna. As the Giro approached its final week, the 14th stage individual time trial looked to be an opportunity for some riders to gain the time that has eluded them so far.
The 34.1-kilometer course featured some ups and downs, with the Muro di ca’ del Poggio, a 1.1km long climb with an average grade of 12.3% and max grades at 19%, coming early on in the route. Into the finish of the TT, the roads got technical as the course made its way through Valdobbiadene.
Unfortunately, Giulio Ciccone of Trek-Segafredo was forced to withdraw from the Giro before the start of stage 14 with acute bronchitis. Ciccone had COVID-19 in September and all tests since have come back negative, but the team doctor said in a statement that his condition was not optimal for a Grand Tour and the team would like to avoid overloading his “already tired physique.”
TT specialists like Dennis, De Gendt, and Kangert fought for the top step on the day, but just like the opening stage of the Giro, no one could come close to World Champion Ganna, who completed the course in 42:40. Dennis was 26 seconds behind in second and McNulty took third, 1:09 back.
The GC top three remained in the same order after the stage, and Vincenzo Nibali remained 5th, while McNulty gained seven spots, moving into fourth overall. Pozzovivo lost a little time and dropped into sixth, while the rest of the top riders gained or lost on each other but stayed within the top 10. All in all, the biggest GC wins on the day were Almeida and McNulty.
“I did better than what I thought. I am super happy with the result, and I think in the end it was a very positive day,” Almeida said at the finish. With a brutal stage on tap following the ITT, Almeida was confident he would keep pink. “I think so far I have been a good climber and (tomorrow) will be a hard day, but you know I have a minute for Kelderman so I can keep it easy and go easy, just doing my climb, so we start tomorrow with no pressure.”
With three riders in the top 10 including the top two steps, Ineos will swim in Prosecco after the stage.
1. Filippo Ganna IGD, 42:40
2. Rohan Dennis IGD, +0:28
3. Brandon McNulty UAD, +1:09
4. Thomas de Gendt LTS, +1:11
5. Josef Cerny CCC, +1:16
6. João Almeida DQT, +1:31
7. Tanel Kangert EF1, +1:33
8. Jonathan Castoviejo IGN, +1:44
9. Wilco Kelderman SUN, +1:47
10. Jan Tratnik TBM, +2:00
1. João Almeida DQT
2. Wilco Kelderman SUN, +0:56
3. Pello Bilbao TBM, +2:11
4. Brandon McNulty UAD, +2:23
5. Vincenzo Nibali TFS, +2:30
6. Rafal Majka BOH, +2:33
7. Domenico Pozzovivo NTT, +2:33
8. Fausto Masnada DQT, +3:11
9. Patrick Konrad BOH, +3:17
10. Jai Hindley SUN, +3:33