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TURIN, Italy (VN) — Bora-Hansgrohe showed that it was not going to wait for other teams to make the GC battle at the Giro d’Italia as it blew the race apart in a thrilling circuit race around Turin.
With the overall classification still very tightly packed after nearly two weeks of racing, the German squad saw the heavy temperatures and the undulating, mountainous circuit of stage 14 as a chance to light a fire under its rivals.
It was all hands to the pump, as the team started stringing the peloton out with more than half of the stage still to go. After less than 20k of hammering it on the front, the team had already reeled in the breakaway and it was shedding GC contenders, fast.
“It was a crazy day. We came in with a pretty bold plan to light it up pretty early and try to isolate the other GC guys,” an exhausted Jai Hindley, who finished second on the stage, said moments after crossing the line. “Like you guys saw, the team were great today, like ridiculously good.
“I’m disappointed to not take the win but the guys showed we’re not here to play around, and I can’t thank the team enough. They put it on the line for me and it was just a phenomenal day for me, and it was a tough day out.”
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While Hindley might be a little disappointed that he wasn’t able to convert the stage win, which went to Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), he’s done his GC prospects a world of good. Only about 11 riders remained in the front group with 65 kilometers to go.
Bora-Hansgrohe wasn’t the only instigator of the day and an attack from Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) with around 25 kilometers to go whittled down the group even more. Only Hindley, Yates and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana-Qazaqstan) could bring back the Ecuadorian rider.
Once again, Hindley proved the quickest from the small group — as he had been when he won on Blockhaus — and he took second, including the time bonuses that came with it. Following the massive reshuffle of the overall standings, Hindley is in second place and just seven seconds behind Carapaz.
“I didn’t know if Carapaz was making faces on the Superga but he didn’t look super strong. Actually, I was pretty surprised when he put that attack in,” Hindley said.
“I thought it was still quite a way to go with this last steep climb. I just waited and kept patient and I could ride with the group a bit and we could work together and I could save a lot of energy compared to being out solo.
“We hit this last climb and I knew it was going to be all in and I knew Nibali was looking pretty good and I knew he would try something. I was waiting and then he went, I followed and we bridged to Carapaz quite quickly and down this crazy descent to the finish. It was a really crazy day, it was like a one-day race. I’m really proud to be a part of this team.”
Wilco Kelderman had come to the Giro d’Italia with GC intentions but lost out on stage 9 when he suffered a mechanical problem on the descent of the Passo Lanciano. He has had to recalibrate his plans over the last week and played a pivotal role in putting Bora’s rivals to the sword.
The Dutchman was the last domestique standing for the team and set up Hindley and Emanuel Buchmann perfectly. Buchmann was eventually gapped and lost just under a minute to the lead GC men but he remains well inside the top 10, for now.
“We had a plan to make it hard and also to crack some teams and I think it went well. For sure, Jai and Emu need to be really good to also do something and today was the day,” Kelderman said.
“Maybe it’s not always like that, today we were strong but Ineos is also strong. Next week we need to see what we can do. I think it will be a fight for the pink with three or four guys, it’s not over yet. This was just a crazy stage, but the real mountains are still to come.”