McNulty Wins Stage 15 of Giro d’Italia 2023
Sunday’s stage 15 of Giro d’Italia took the Giro peloton further east on a 195-kilometer route from Seregno to Bergamo. The route featured the Category 1 Valico di Valcava climb early in the stage (7.9 percent average gradient; 11.8 percent max) and three Category 2 mountains later in the stage.
Seregno is a city located in northwestern Italy, just 20 kilometers from Milan. The city is well-situated to allow for easy access to the Alps and beautiful lakes, such as lake Como – where George Clooney owns a villa and rides his bike during the summer months. Famous sights in Seregno include the Barbarossa Tower and the Odescalchi Villa.
Bergamo is an important city in Italian history and is situated in the alpine Lombardy region.
Today was Mark Cavendish’s birthday and race organizer surprised the former World Champion with a small birthday cake before the start of the stage.
Today’s route profile appealed to the interests of breakaway groups, and it did not take long before the action started. Several riders with hopes of taking a stage victory took off from the main peloton and a large attack group was formed.
The front group featured Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep), Simone Velasco (Astana), Andrea Pasqualon (Bahrain-Victorious), Francois Bidard (Cofidis), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Niccolo Bonifazio (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), Laurens Huys (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty), Sebastian Berwick (Israel-Premiertech), Marco Frigo (Israel-Premiertech), Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team), Alberto Dainese (Team DSM), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), and UAE Team Emirates’ Brandon McNulty.
Movistar’s Einer Augusto Rubio later took off solo from the main peloton and successfully bridged the gap to the breakaway front group.
At the front of the main peloton, the Groupama-FDJ team set a relaxed pace while controlling the race for their Giro d’Italia leader Bruno Armirail. Ineos-Grenadiers were monitoring the action closely behind the French team.
Rubio’s successful solo ride from the main peloton to the front group apparently inspired Martin Marcellusi (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) to do the same. By then, the forged 17-rider front group had a 06:20 minute lead over the main peloton.
Healy won the mountaintop sprint on the Valico di Valcava ahead of Rubio, despite Rubio attempting to push Healy into spectators along the side of the road. The spectators jumped for their lives, and no one got hurt. Healy was also first across the Selvino mountain pass.
One the Category 2 Roncola Alta climb the front group got split into multiple parts as some riders were unable to match the fast pace set by Rojas. The exception to the rule was Bonifazio who attacked himself and built a 30 second gap. He later decided to wait for the chasers. Frigo attacked and was joined by McNulty.
Rubio and Healy initiated a chase on the climb. EF Education-EasyPost’s Healy went solo and fired on all engines. Healy, Frigo and McNulty joined forces as they continued up the climb.
McNulty attacked and Healy closed the gap. Healy countered and built a gap to McNulty who was struggling to keep the gap as small as possible. McNulty closed the gap on the descent. They were rejoined by Frigo.
With 3.5 kilometers left of the stage, Healy launched an attack on the final hill before the finish line. Frigo was dropped, but McNulty was virtually glued to Healy’s rear wheel.
With one-kilometer left Healy and McNulty were still together. Frigo caught them and attacked solo. McNulty and Healy countered, and McNulty won the stage for UAE Team Emirates. Healy finished second behind the American while Frigo completed the podium.
Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) remains general classification leader ahead of Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma).
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