In what can only be described as a classic weekend of racing at the Giro d’Italia, the race finished on the much-anticipated Monte Zoncolan near the Austrian border on Saturday, before racing through Slovenia on Sunday.
And while the climb up the Zoncolan offered plenty of fireworks as race-leader Egan Bernal consolidated his grip on the pink leader’s jersey, others, like Alexander Vlasov and Remco Evenepoel struggled.
The following stage 15 boasted postcard-like beauty as the Slovenian fans greeted the Giro with enthusiasm.
Egan Bernal proved to be the big winner up the much-anticipated Monte Zoncolan. The Colombian dropped all of his nearest opponents and consolidated his hold on the pink jersey.
Meanwhile, Alexander Vlasov was one of the weekend’s biggest losers, as he faded on the Monte Zoncolon, slipping from second to fourth on the overall standings. But, the Russian climber will have plenty of opportunities to fight back in the mountainous final week in Italy.
Dutch rider Bauke Mollema was busy in the breakaways this weekend, jumping into both and staying away on both stages.
Snow awaited the riders at the top of the Monte Zoncolan.
But there was plenty of sunshine on hand at the start in Grado, a small port town on the Adriatic Sea.
Race leader Egan Bernal enjoyed a final moment of downtime as he led the pack out of the neutral start in Grado.
Egan Bernal was most definitely one of the featured attractions when the pack climbed into Slovenia.
And not even a heavy spring rain could deny the Belgian Victor Campenaerts a long-awaited stage victory. Second twice already on the stage in the Giro, Campenaerts finally scored big on stage 15, giving his Qhubeka-Assos team its thirds victory in less than a week here.
It was hard to separate the cyclists from the fans on this jam-packed climb towards Gornje Cerovo in Slovenia.
And the crowds stayed back until the last riders passed, giving them all a special cheer.