The names on the final results sheet weren’t all that surprising: Simon Yates, Jai Hindley, and Richard Carapaz in the top three. It was a medium mountain stage, after all. But the time gaps behind were shocking.
Four minutes to 10th place, and ten minutes to 17th. Hugh Carthy was once a GC contender, but he had lost 17 minutes on this stage 14, and still finished 32nd. The grupetto was nearly 40 minutes behind, having gone out the backdoor with over 80km to go. This wasn’t a 230km high mountain stage at the Giro d’Italia – so how did this happen?
Also read: Power analysis: 2022 Giro d’Italia week 1
Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia took on 3,000 meters (9,842 ft) of climbing in just 148km, yet the longest climb of the day was just 5.1km. But the gradients were steep, the roads were narrow, and the climbing was relentless. Many expected one or two GC riders to crack, and that an early breakaway would win the stage. But no one predicted Bora-Hansgrohe taking the reins at 80km to go and blowing the peloton apart.
In fact, the early breakaway had hardly been established by the time Bora-Hansgrohe began driving the pace around 100km to go. American Joe Dombrowski was one of the main protagonists in establishing this lead group, having gone clear on the Il Pilonetto, a 3.2km with an average gradient of 7.2 percent. The day was a hot one too, with Dombrowski’s head unit clocking a temperature of nearly 100°F (38°C) at the time of his attack.
Dombrowski – Il Pilonetto
Average Power: 402w (6.4w/kg)
Peak 6 min Power: 417w (6.6w/kg)
It wasn’t long until Bora-Hansgrohe surprised everyone when they went to the front on an unclassified climb with nearly 80km to go around the Parco del Nobile – the same climb that Simon Yates would later use as a launchpad to stage victory.
At 1.6km and 8.1 percent, it was a steep climb that could split the group, and that was surely Bora-Hangrohe’s intention. Emanuel Buchmann was one of the riders in line, and the German was still in the draft as his teammates lit up the front of the race.
Buchmann – Parco del Nobile
Average Power: 420w (6.8w/kg)
First 90 seconds: 483w (7.8w/kg)
Bora-Hansgrohe’s pace continued all the way to the Superga climb, which the peloton would tackle twice on the way to the finish. Stage 14’s route consisted of two finishing circuits ending in Torino, with each lap including the Superga climb followed by the Colle della Maddelena whose first two kilometers averaged over 11 percent.
There weren’t many attacks for the next 50km of racing, but rather a steady stream of riders popping off the back of the peloton under the immense pressure of Bora-Hansgrohe. Their once-GC leader, Wilco Kelderman, took up the pace-making for many kilometers, and pushed up the climbs at over 6w/kg. The Dutchman made it all the way until 32km to go before finally pulling off.
Here’s what it takes to decimate the field at the Giro d’Italia.
Buchmann – Bora-Hansgrohe decimating the field on the first finishing circuit
Average Power: 268w (4.3w/kg)
Normalized Power: 309w (5w/kg)
Superga: 370w (6w/kg) for 15:20
Colle della Maddalena (steep section): 373w (6w/kg) for 6:20
Jai Hindley of Bora-Hansgrohe looked to be the team leader as he attacked off Kelderman’s wheel on the Superga. But the Australian was closely marked by Richard Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali, the latter showing the brilliant form of his younger years. We can do some calculations to see just how many watts these riders were pushing on the last passage of climbs.
On the first of two finishing circuits, Buchmann climbed the steep section of the Superga in 13:09 and the full Colle della Maddalena in 10:45. With the group stretched thin, Nibali climbed the Superga in 13:08 on the second lap, and did a 10:26 up the Colle della Maddelena (which also happens to be the new Strava KOM on this climb). On such horribly steep gradients, we can assume little to no drafting effect given to the riders, which means that their watts per kilo calculations should be nearly the same whether they were solo or in a group.
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Looking a serious threat to the GC, Nibali was climbing with the best on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia. In fact, on the Colle della Maddalena, Nibali put more than 20 seconds into Buchmann who was pushing 6w/kg.
Nibali – Second finishing circuit
Estimated Average Power: 6-6.1w/kg
Colle della Maddalena (steep section): 10:26
Estimated Average Power: 6-6.2w/kg
Simon Yates made the front group with Carapaz, Hindley, and Nibali, and it wasn’t long before he attacked and rode away to the stage win. Behind, Domenico Pozzovivo was best of the rest, finishing just 13 seconds behind Nibali in fourth. Buchmann finished only 1:10 down after having spent most of the final kilometers alone. After that, the gaps were minutes rather than seconds. With the high mountains looming in the third week of the Giro d’Italia, anything could happen with the top five riders separated by less than a minute.
Power Analysis data courtesy of Strava
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