STAGE 15 – GIRO D’ITALIA
Stage 15 at the 2020 Giro d’Italia is a day that Team Sunweb will look back on and can be proud of.
Billed as a general classification showdown on the slopes of Piancavallo in Italy’s Dolomites region, the entirety of Team Sunweb took on the challenge and by the end of the day had impressively managed to improve both top ten general classification positions.
Thanks to a unified and determined approach from every rider in the team, Wilco raced to second place on stage, 35 seconds ahead of the race leader Almeida, meaning he now sits just 15 seconds in arrears of the pink jersey.
Deep on the slopes of the final climb – an epic 14.5 kilometre ascent with a maximum gradient of almost eight percent – Team Sunweb had three riders remaining in the reduced group of 10 thanks to the earlier work of Sam Oomen and Martijn Tusveld.
The constant pressure set by Chris Hamilton forced an even greater selection, before a surge in pace from Hindley finally resulted in race leader Almeida losing contact. In the final seven kilometres, Geoghegan Hart was the only rider in the race that could follow Hindley and Wilco, sitting on their wheels before launching an attack to take the stage victory. It was a resounding team display and one that sees the team going into the second rest day in a great position, with Wilco and Hindley occupying second and third on GC respectively.
“The team were incredible,” expressed Kelderman. “On the final climb everyone did their job. Jai did perfect work, super super strong. Too bad we couldn’t win the stage and fell just short for pink. But how we rode, it was super. I was on the limit towards the final, and we went full to the finish. It was a super hard day with narrow roads so controlling at the front was beneficial. I heard through radio that Almeida was in difficulty, but it wasn’t enough. He is just very strong. If you look at how we raced, it’s just super, also with Jai in third. It gives us a lot of confidence into the final week which will have a lot of uphill finishes. I feel super strong and the team feels super strong.”