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Victor Campenaerts - Victor Campenaerts take Giro d'Italia stage win as breakaway prevails again - GETTY IMAGES

Victor Campenaerts – Victor Campenaerts take Giro d’Italia stage win as breakaway prevails again – GETTY IMAGES

  • Campenaerts wins his first grand tour stage

  • Bernal retains leader’s jersey after quiet day

  • Buchmann forced to abandon after crash

  • Berhane and Van Emden also abandon

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia at the end of a breakaway, a 147-km bumpy ride from Grado as Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) retained the overall leader’s maglia rosa on Sunday.

Campenaerts outsprinted breakaway companion Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) after the duo had pulled clear late in the stage, which saw Bernal keep the lead with a 1min 33-second advantage over Briton Simon Yates (BikeExchange).

After a body-punishing 14th stage to the Monte Zoncolan, the peloton let the 15-man breakaway loose on what appeared to be a recovery ride for most of the overall contenders after a crash-hit start.

Emanuel Buchmann’s (Bora-Hansgrohe) hopes ended in a mass pile-up that forced organisers to neutralise the race for 15 minutes inside the opening three kilometres.

Buchmann, who was sixth overall, abandoned alongside Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma) and Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) , with Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo) withdrawing later after being unable to cope with the pace of the peloton.

Monday’s 16th stage is a 212-km mountain trek from Sacile to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Reuters

03:35 PM

Bernal retains leader’s pink jersey

The peloton comprising the maglia rosa and all of the general classification contenders finish over 17 minutes behind Victor Campenaerts. It’s a massive day in the Dolomites tomorrow and so I imagine those riders will already be thinking about drying up, getting their recovery under way and plotting their various strategies for a day that may determine the outcome of the Giro.

03:31 PM

Meanwhile, back in the race for pink . . .

. . . nobody is taking any risks as the peloton taps away on the approach to the finish line. Filippo Ganna is still riding on the front.

03:16 PM

Campenaerts wins stage 15 at the Giro!

He’s done it! Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) has won the first grand tour stage of his career and that was a thoroughly deserved win for one of the hardest workers in the peloton. The Belgian has not always enjoyed the best of luck at the Giro d’Italia and there was nothing lucky about that win which is the third for the team that almost went out of business last year. Heartbreak for the Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) who finishes second after he is beaten relatively easily by Campenaerts on the cobbled streets of Gorizia.

Nikias Arndt (DSM) wins a sprint from the chasers to take third.

Speaking afterwards, stage winner Campenaerts said: “It was just an amazing day for the team. As we don’t have climbers for the next few stages in the mountains, we decided to go all in today. We rode as one: ubuntu – ‘I am because we are’.

Victor Campenaerts - GETTY IMAGESVictor Campenaerts - GETTY IMAGES

Victor Campenaerts – GETTY IMAGES

“We gave everything from the first few kilometres, what a fantastic day. We did a great job and I am so happy I could finish it off. Now we have three victories in the Giro, which is simply fantastic for a team that struggled to stay alive,” the world hour record holder added.

“We’re making an important statement as we are racing for the greater purpose of changing lives with bicycles: to provide bicycles in Africa for better education and better lives.”

03:15 PM

500 metres to go

Victor Campenaerts or Oscar Riesebeek for the stage?

03:14 PM

1km to go

Victor Campenaerts and Oscar Riesebeek are back together. They have 22sec on the chasing group and will surely win this stage.

03:14 PM

2km to go

Victor Campenaerts leads Oscar Riesebeek, but the Dutchman is not too far behind.

03:12 PM

3km to go

Victor Campenaerts attacks just short of the summit to gain a few bike lengths Oscar Riesebeek, while further back Bauke Mollema attacks off the front of the chasing group.

03:11 PM

3.5km to go

Oscar Riesebeek attacks as the road rises again (see below) in the countdown to a downhill . rolling finale.



03:10 PM

4km to go

Victor Campenaerts and Oscar Riesebeek lead by 15sec.

03:09 PM

4.5km to go

Despite all the playing around from Oscar Riesebeek, the leading pair’s advantage is holding at around 18sec.

03:09 PM

5km to go

Oscar Riesebeek goes again, before Victor Campenaerts assumes the time trial position to reel the 28-year-old Dutchman back in.

03:08 PM

6km to go

Oscar Riesebeek appears to put in a little attack on Victor Campenaerts, but the Qhubeka-Assos man soon closes him down. The chasing group is 19sec down the road.

03:06 PM

7km to go

Victor Campenaerts and Oscar Riesebeek’s advantage is dropping, down to just 15sec now. They really need to start working together if they want to hold of the chasing group that has swelled in numbers.

03:04 PM

8km to go

Victor Campenaerts is doing the lion’s share of the work here, I’m not too sure what sort of rider Oscar Riesebeek is but I do know he has no professional wins to his name.

03:02 PM

10km to go

Nikias Arndt (DSM), a fast finisher, and Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) are in pursuit of the leading pair. Eurosport is saying it is raining at the finishing line.

03:00 PM

12km to go

Visibility is poor and these smooth roads, when covered in water, don’t look quite as appealing. Victor Campenaerts and Oscar Riesebeek lead by 32sec, while the Ineos Grenadiers-powered peloton is another 12 minutes down the road.

02:57 PM

15km to go

It has been threatening for sometime, but the heavens have opened and this race is suddenly looking more like the national swimming championships. Rivers of water are flowing across the road, and it is windy too just to add to the chaos.

02:54 PM

16km to go

Victor Campenaerts is powering up this climb, Albert Torres is in a whole world of pain, while Oscar Riesebeek is hanging on. Campenaerts, though, is unable the shake them off … no, Torres has cracked. That huge effort from Campenaerts has whittled the head of the race down to just two riders and the rain in teeming down.

Victor Campenaerts, Albert Torres and Oscar Riesebeek - GETTY IMAGESVictor Campenaerts, Albert Torres and Oscar Riesebeek - GETTY IMAGES

Victor Campenaerts, Albert Torres and Oscar Riesebeek – GETTY IMAGES

02:50 PM

18km to go

Victor Campenaerts, Oscar Riesebeek and Albert Torres have increased their lead on the chasing pack of 12 riders, they now lead by 30 seconds as they hit the bottom of the final ascent of the Gornje Cerovo, but what will that gap by by the time they reach the top?

02:47 PM

20km to go

The leading trio of Victor Campenaerts, Oscar Riesebeek and Albert Torres gained over 10 seconds on the breakaway, though that has now dropped. The rain has started to fall near the finish line where there are those large smooth paving stones so common to old Italian towns. In the wet these stones, along with the smooth cobbles at the finishing line can become very slippery when wet.

02:45 PM

23km to go

Victor Campenaerts is sat towards the rear of the breakaway, allowing himself a small gap on the rider in front of him before the world hour record holder launches himself. Oscar Riesebeek and Albert Torres, the latter of whom races the Madison on the track and so has a decent kick on him, manage to jump on his wheel.

02:35 PM

28km to go

Nothing came from that attack from Lukasz Wisniowski, but one suspects that may be a signal of what is to follow in a short while. Worth noting that Qhubeka-Assos are not the only team with multiple riders in the breakaway: Alpecin-Fenix have two (Dries De Bondt and Oscar Riesebeek), Movistar two (Dario Cataldo and Albert Torres) and there are a pair of Lotto-Soudal riders (Stefano Oldani, Harm Vanhoucke), so Qhubeka-Assos will not be the only team hoping to benefit from having numbers in the 15-man breakaway.

02:33 PM

30km to go

Lukasz Wisniowski puts in a little attack, the Qhubeka-Assos rider testing the mettle of his breakaway companions, possibly on behalf of his two team-mates in this group that is surely going to take the stage win.

02:31 PM

Get out of that saddle Simon . . .

. . . get out of that saddle son.



02:19 PM

42km to go

Ineos Grenadiers stalwarts Salvatore Puccio and Filippo Ganna remain on the front of the peloton as they weave through through the huge crowd that has mobbed the Gornje Cerovo. The deficit on then breakaway has grown out to beyond 12 minutes and there are dark clouds overhead so we may be seeing some rain before the day is out.

02:08 PM

De Bondt adds to his tally

As predicted, Dries De Bondt rolls off the front just shy of the summit to add a few more points to his account, but Bauke Mollema was second so the Belgian only gained a single point more than the Dutchman in the mountains classification. Interesting to note that Qhubeka-Assos have been doing much of the heavy lifting on the front of the breakaway, presumably planning on making an assault on a third stage win at this year’s race.

02:02 PM

50km to go

The breakaway is inching its way up the second ascent of the Gornje Cerovo, Dries De Bondt is sat at second wheel no doubt thinking about the points on offer at the top of this category four climb. The Belgian national champion started the day fourth in the mountains classification, 10 points behind Bauke Mollema who is also in the break but doesn’t appear as concerned over the points as De Bondt.

The breakaway tackles the Gornje Cerovo - GETTY IMAGESThe breakaway tackles the Gornje Cerovo - GETTY IMAGES

The breakaway tackles the Gornje Cerovo – GETTY IMAGES

01:47 PM

60km to go

Salvatore Puccio takes over from Filippo Ganna on the front of the peloton, while up the road the breakaway zips along on the flat circuitous section that links the first and second ascent of the only categorised climb in today’s stage, the Gornje Cerovo.



01:37 PM

67.5km to go

Not a great deal happening out on the road right now: the breakaway has lost a few seconds, but nothing too serious to worry about.

Fans line the route - GETTY IMAGESFans line the route - GETTY IMAGES

Fans line the route – GETTY IMAGES

01:28 PM

74km to go

If the peloton was unsure about where exactly it was, the numerous Slovenian flags atop the Gornje Cerovo climb will give them a clue. Ineos Grenadiers, as they have done for the best part of today’s stage, are sat on the front with that man Filippo Ganna pulling. It is a fairly narrow road with a decent surface and may be where an assault on the stage is launched later this afternoon, I’m guessing on the third and final ascent – though this is just idle speculation.

Flags - APFlags - AP

Flags – AP

01:18 PM

78km to go

Having hauled themselves over the summit of Gornje Cerovo, the breakaway’s lead has grown out to a shade below 12 minutes.

01:17 PM

80km to go

The breakaway is onto the first of three ascents of the Gornje Cerovo climb which pitches up to 15% in gradient. Large crowds are out on the Slovenian climb, but I don’t think they will be getting a rider from Slovenia winning today’s stage as there’s just one remaining – Jan Tratnik – who will have burnt a few matches on Monte Zoncolan yesterday where he finished second to Lorenzo Fortunato.

01:05 PM

85km to go

That quartet of riders who were stuck in no man’s land have given up the chase, while the breakaway has increased its lead to almost 11 minutes. It is quite windy out in northern Italy as the race edges towards the border with Slovenia and so riders and their teams will be on alert to any crosswinds causing splits in either group.

12:46 PM

100km to go

Following the chaotic start to the stage, things have thankfully calmed down a little in the peloton which has allowed the big breakaway to increase its lead to a shade below 10 minutes. It is very much starting to look like today’s stage winner will be another breakaway rider, which has become a bit of a trend this year.

Indeed, of the 14 stages completed, seven of those have been won by a rider from the breakaway – Taco van der Hoorn (stage three), Joe Dombrowski (stage four), Gino Mäder (stage six), Victor Lafay (stage eight), Mauro Schmid (stage 11), Andrea Vendrame (stage 12) and Lorenzo Fortunato (stage 14) – five ended in sprints and the opening day was the time trial in Turin while just one, stage nine, was won by one of the general classification contenders (Egan Bernal).

12:30 PM

As it stands . . .

Afternoon folks, unfortunately three riders have already abandoned the Giro d’Italia today after a huge pile-up forced race organisers into neutralising the stage for over half-an-hour.

Natnael Berhane (left) and Jos van Emden - GETTY IMAGESNatnael Berhane (left) and Jos van Emden - GETTY IMAGES

Natnael Berhane (left) and Jos van Emden – GETTY IMAGES

Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma), Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech), Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Matthias Brändle (ISN), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Marton Dina (Eolo-Kometa), Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma), Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo), James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) all went down before the race, much to the initial consternation the breakaway that had been created thanks to the work of Qhubeka-Assos team-mates Victor Campenaerts and Max Walscheid, was halted. It was later reported that the entire medical team on the race were attending to the fallen and so, understandably, it was deemed unsafe for the stage to continue.

Giro d'Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates - GETTY IMAGESGiro d'Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

As riders staggered and rolled around in pain, the medical staff patched them up and checked them over for concussion before they were allowed to get back on their bikes. ​Berhane, Buchmann and Van Emden, however, were unable to continue. Buchmann was the highest placed rider on general classification, the German starting the day sixth overall and looking good for a top five finish.

Emanuel Buchmann - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates - GETTY IMAGESEmanuel Buchmann - Giro d'Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates - GETTY IMAGES

Emanuel Buchmann – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 15 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

Guerreiro appeared, to my untrained eye at least, a little wobbly on his feet but was allowed to continue, though shortly afterwards it was announced the Portuguese had abandoned which will come as a blow to both the rider himself and his EF Education-Nippo team-mate Hugh Carthy who is targeting the general classification. The Briton has now lost two team-mates that would have been helpful to him in the high mountains after Jonathan Caicedo abandoned during stage 11, the race over the strade bianche of Tuscany.

Anyhow, once racing resumed another breakaway clipped off the front resulting in 15 riders getting a gap on the peloton.

That group containing ​Nikias Arndt (DSM), Lars van den Berg (Groupama-FDJ), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), Dario Cataldo (Movistar), Simone Consonni (Cofidis), Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates), Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Stefano Oldani (Lotto-Soudal), Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Albert Torres (Movistar), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-Assos) and Lukasz Wisniowski (Qhubeka-Assos) leads by 7min 45sec with 110km of the stage remaining.

There’s a four-man group comprising Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Filippo Tagliani (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) in pursuit, but they may have missed that particular train as they flounder in no man’s land.

10:56 AM

Today’s menu . . .

Here’s what the roadbook says about the day ahead: “A short stage with a cross-border circuit between Italy and Slovenia of approx. 40km. The route begins flat, all the way to Sagrado, and then clears the Monte San Michele climb.

Stage 15 mapStage 15 map

Stage 15 map

“Starting in Mossa, the circuit (see above) features three passes over the steep, 2km long Gornje Cerovo climb (see below), and a succession of tough climbs and descents. After the third lap, the route goes back to Italy through San Floriano del Collio, passes north of Gorizia and crosses the border again, passing through Nova Gorica.

Stage 15 profileStage 15 profile

Stage 15 profile



“The last 5km are raced partly in Slovenia and partly in Italy. Past Piazza Europa (trg Evrope), the route ascends for nearly 1km at 14% max. gradients, and then takes a technical descent leading back to Italy. Over the final kilometre, the route covers a short stretch on stone pavings. The home straight is 300m long, on tarmac road.”

Stage 15 finaleStage 15 finale

Stage 15 finale

09:20 AM

Catch up: Highlights of yesterday’s stage

09:20 AM


Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 15 at the Giro d’Italia, the 147-kilometre roller-coaster from Grado to Gorizia.

The morning after the night before in which fortune shone on the relatively unknown Italian Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa), the Giro puts behind it Monte Zoncolan and the hyperbole associated with one of the hardest climbs in world cycling and heads over the border to Slovenia. But before we have a look at today’s stage, let’s remind ourselves about the standings in the top classifications.

Lorenzo Fortunato - GETTY IMAGESLorenzo Fortunato - GETTY IMAGES

Lorenzo Fortunato – GETTY IMAGES

Despite a little shuffling of the general classification pack that saw Simon Yates (BikeExchange) move up to second, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 24-year-old Colombian, in fact extended his lead and will wear the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey, for the sixth day.

There were no changes of note in the points classification, meaning Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) keeps hold of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as leader in that competition.

Yesterday’s stage winner Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) may have opened his account in the mountains competition with 40 points atop Monte Zoncolan, the first category one climb of this year’s race, but that was not enough to see the young Italian break into the top three. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) did, however, dislodge Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) from third spot but Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën) kept hold of his maglia azzurra and will again wear the blue jersey as overall leader in the mountains classification.

Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will again wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.