Monte Bondone meets expectations: Almeida takes the victory, Thomas wears pink and Roglic loses 25 seconds

Road 23/05/23 17:42 Migue A.

Almeida won on the legendary Monte Bondone after a tough stage in which the favorites were finally visible. Thomas joined the attack of the Portuguese and although he could not beat him in the final sprint is the new maglia rosa. Roglic was weakened by the attack, but he saved the day and kept the time lost to just 25 seconds.

Almeida touches the sky on Monte Bondone after a great performance and Roglic loses 25 seconds

The sixteenth stage of the Giro promised to give us a nice fight between the overall contenders, who until then had reserved their strength for days like today's: a route of those that can make the difference with 203 km and no less than 5,200 meters of elevation gain.

The first moments of the race took place on a placid flat terrain, a foretaste of the five climbs of the day: two of first category, including the Monte Bondone at the end.

So began a stage that started off a bit bumpy with the crashes of De Plus, Kuss and Fortunato, which had no major consequences. Only a few minutes into the race when the peloton began to work and, although there was some interesting movement, everything cooled down to a tense calm.

Breakaway attempts continued to appear intermittently, although the pedal stroke was not hard enough to leave the peloton behind. But it was only a matter of time before it happened. And it did with 160 km to go, when a breakaway of 17 riders consolidated.

Shortly after, the lead group increased to 26 riders at the start of a stage in which a devastating pace had been set.

In that context came the first pass of the day. Passo di Santa Barbara, 12.8 km at 8.3%. At the halfway point of the climb, the breakaway's lead was slightly reduced to 3.5 minutes. Healy, one of the most repeated names in this Giro, crowned and virtually became the leader of the mountains.

With hardly any rest came the Passo Bordala, a third category climb. After the climb, the breakaway, which had lost Stojnic, held on with a 3-minute gap. It was time for Jonathan Milan to shine again in an intermediate sprint and then drop out of the breakaway.

And then Pronskiy and Scaroni attacked from the breakaway to open a gap of 1:37 minutes. Behind, the peloton was 5 minutes behind. The breakaway group was forced to increase the pace, leaving only 17 survivors at the top of the Matassone.

78 km to the finish. Marcellusi, and later Gabburo, had the legs to attack and went in pursuit of the two stage leaders. Pronskiy had to recover from a flat tyre, while Jumbo and Groupama shared the job of pulling the peloton.

Gabburo and Marcellusi's adventure ended before they caught the Astana duo, at which point Benedetti attempted a more successful chase. The Italian came within two minutes, but was eventually caught by the chasing group.

The chasers broke into several groups. 52 km to go. The front chasers -Verona, Paret-Peintre, Haig, Konrad, Healy, Gee, Zana, Swift, Skujins, Ulissi and Lastra- caught Pronskiy and Scaroni. The Serrada pass fell for Movistar as Verona crested first, shortly before Scaroni gave way with the group.

The descent gave way to the part before the end of the stage. Jumbo was still leading the peloton, which was riding at 3:40.

And then came Monte Bondone. 21.4 km at 6.7% with ramps up to 15%. Verona and Zana put in an extra gear and took off but were caught soon after. The group formed by Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Pronskyi, Haig, Konrad, Swift, Ulissi, Verona and Zana had at that moment the peloton at 2:24.

The peloton took out the scissors to cut the gap little by little. 10.5 km to the finish and the gap was already 1 minute.

Armirail's maglia rosa was losing steam and was distanced from the peloton, which was around twenty-something riders. Swift and Ulissi dropped off shortly before UAE Team Emirates pushed the pace to prepare for the arrival of Almeida, with Roglic and Thomas among others.

The selected group was able to neutralize the escapees. Thomas, Kuss, Roglic, Dunbar and Almeida formed the leading group, with the Portuguese rider pulling at the front.

Almeida attacked with 6 km to go, a move that allowed him to open up a gap on the rest. It looked like the bleeding could be serious but the chasers were able to freeze the bleeding, although without closing the gap.

The hardest part of the Monte Bondone placed Thomas with Almeida, both with the same mission of taking seconds off Roglic who was suffering and losing ground. The Slovenian had Kuss, who worked for his leader, and Dunbar, who closed the chasing trio.

The collaboration between Almeida and Thomas continued. Past the worst point, the road reduced in gradient, Roglic cut back and the stage leading pair pedaled hard to gain as many seconds as possible.

Almeida won the final sprint to close a great stage for the Portuguese; Thomas came second but took the maglia rosa. Roglic came third, 25 seconds behind.

Stage 16 Classification

  1. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) 5h53’27’’
  2. Geraint Thomas (INEOS-Grenadiers) +00’’
  3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +25’’
  4. Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AIUIa) +25"
  5. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) +1'03"
  6. Ian Van Wilder (Soudal-Quick Step) +1'16"
  7. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) +1’16’’
  8. Einer Rubio (Movistar) +1'16"
  9. Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers) +1'16"
  10. Thymen Arensman (INEOS-Grenadiers) +1’16’’

General Classification

  1. Geraint Thomas (INEOS-Grenadiers) 67h32'35"
  2. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +18"
  3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +29’’
  4. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) +2’50’’
  5. Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AIUIa) +3'03"
  6. Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +3’20’’
  7. Bruno Armirail (Groupama FDJ) +3'22"
  8. Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM) +3’30’’
  9. Thymen Arensman (INEOS-Grenadiers) +4’09’’
  10. Laurens De Plus (INEOS-Grendiers) +4’32’’



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El Monte Bondone cumple: Almeida se corona, Thomas se viste de rosa y Roglic cede 25 segundos