Fabio Aru (Astana) has won the fifteenth stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
The Italian attacked in the final kilometres of the Plan di Montecampione, the brutal 19km slope that closed today’s 225km run from Valdegno.
His initial move was shadowed by race leader, Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma Quickstep), and brought the pair into contact with a two-man break comprised of Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Fabio Duarte (Colombia).
When Aru attacked a second time, however, neither Uran, nor the two climbing specialists had an answer for the 23-year-old, who rode clear to claim a career best victory.
He said: “At 3km to go, I looked around and saw I was a bit stronger than the others. I attacked to see what I could do.”
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) presented the greatest threat to Aru, but the Italian eventually disposed of the Tour de France runner-up in the final kilometre.
Quintana crossed the line some 21 seconds after Aru, and one second behind countryman, Duarte, to round out a top three comprised of two Colombians. Their compatriot, the race leader, Uran, was a further 20 seconds down the road
More pleasingly for Uran, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), his principal rival, lost time, and finished 1.13 behind stage winner, Aru.
An altered general classification sees Uran enter the second rest day with an advantage of 1.03 over Evans. Poland’s Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is third at 1.50, while Aru’s heroics have boosted him to fourth, 2.24 behind Uran. Quintana is fifth at 2.40.
The race is finely poised as the riders prepare to take a well-earned rest day. The GC could be blown apart when racing resumes on Tuesday, with stage 16 containing three brutal climbs, including the iconic Gavia and Stelvio.
Giro d’Italia 2014: stage 15 – result
1) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana – 5.33.06
2) Fabio Duarte (COL) – Colombia +21″
3) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +22″
4) Pierre Rolland (FRA) – Europcar + ST
5) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +42″
6) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff-Saxo +57″
7) Franco Peillizotti (ITA) – Androni Giocattoli +1.08
8) Daniel Moreno (ESP) – Katusha – ST
9) Ryder Hesjedal (CAN) – Garmin-Sharp +1.13
10) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing – ST
1) Rigoberto Uran (COL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep – 63.26.39
2) Cadel Evans (AUS) – BMC Racing +1.03
3) Rafal Majka (POL) – Tinkoff-Saxo +1.50
4) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana + 2.24
5) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Colombia +2.40
6) Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +2.42
7) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin +3.04
8) Pierre Rolland (FRA) – Europcar +4.47
9) Robert Kiserlovski (CRO) – Trek +5.44
10) Wout Poels (BEL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +6.32