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BLOCKHAUS, Italy (VN) – David Brailsford went into his depot and dusted off the Team Sky train at the Giro d’Italia on Sunday.
Brailsford’s Ineos Grenadiers unleashed a vintage mountain train that tightened the screw on the GC classification and fired a warning shot low over the head of its nearest rivals.
Fittingly enough, the rider that was at the center of many of Team Sky’s pummeling pain-processions was the driver of the bruising Ineos assault on the Blockhaus.
Richie Porte delivered a long and ruthless turn that showed who’s hot and who’s not at this year’s Giro.
“It felt good,” Porte told reporters at the finish. “We all believe in Richard [Carapaz], he’s a great leader. We’re all here to do the job for him. We really believe he can finish it off.”
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Porte finished the job that Ben Tulett and then Pavel Sivakov started on the relentless Blockhaus summit.
A searing tempo fractured the group and detached maglia rosa rivals like Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) before Carapaz uncorked the first major attack of the day’s Appenine onslaught.
“It was a proper hard day and you know, I think it really shows where everybody’s at,” Porte said.
Keep pushing guys 👊 pic.twitter.com/aDTsQLPn8m
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) May 15, 2022
Carapaz didn’t land the sledgehammer victory Ineos Grenadiers might have liked after being marked out by the GC pack. But the Olympic champion and former Giro winner now sits 15 seconds back and within touching distance of Juanpe López’s (Trek-Segafredo) tenacious grip on the pink jersey.
“Of course, you’d like to whittle it down to just a few, but with two more weeks ago, Richard’s in a good place,” Porte said. “I mean, hats off to López, who’s defended the pink jersey. Trek has done a really great job there.”
Ineos Grenadiers’ bulldozing on the Blockhaus set the tone for what to expect in the mountains to come and the chance for Carapaz to try again where he didn’t quite deliver Sunday.
A slew of transitional and sprint stages in week two will give Porte and Co. the opportunity to oil its carriages and rivals the chance to recover before an attritional third week in the high Alps.
“We’d have liked me to be there a little bit further on than what I was, but it was just the leaders left by the time I got out of there,” Porte said. “So it’s a good day and it’s awell-earned rest day tomorrow. So I’m looking forward to that.”
As if the sight of a Team Sky-style train wasn’t enough, the Giro went full time-warp Sunday.
When 37-year-old Porte was hammering on the front, the grizzled faces of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qasaqstan), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) were contorted in pain close behind.
“I felt it,” Porte said of his age. “You know, Valverde got up there further than me, and Nibali. So I’ve not quite got the ‘Masters Cup’ yet.”