Jan Hirt claimed the first grand tour stage win of his career on a gruelling day in the mountains as Richard Carapaz saw his overall lead at the Giro d’Italia cut down to just three seconds.
Featuring three category one climbs and over 5,000 metres in vertical elevation, the 202-kilometre trek from Sala to Aprica was considered by many as the toughest in this year’s race.
Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) had been part of the main breakaway group, before attacking on the final ride up the Valico di Santa Cristina, eventually finishing 7sec clear of Thymen Arensman (DSM).
“I’ve had a few problems during the stage. My chain dropped, I cramped, but I never gave up,” Hirt said following his victory. “I’m glad I managed to go solo. I always said that my biggest achievement would be to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia and I could stop after that, but I won’t stop now.”
Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) – who had started the stage 7sec seconds behind in the overall standings – brought the rest of the chasing group home, with Ineos Grenadiers rider Carapaz among them.
Hindley’s third place saw the Australian pick up crucial bonus seconds which moved him closer behind Carapaz in the battle for the leader’s pink jersey.
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) kept hold of his third spot, but lost some time and now sits 44sec behind Carapaz having been unable to respond on the final climb.
Carapaz said: “It’s been a hard stage and at the end I’m happy. I thought I was going to win the sprint for third place. I eventually didn’t, but it’s still a good day for me. I’ve lost a few seconds on Hindley, but I gained more on Almeida so the balance is positive.”
The Giro d’Italia continues with the 17th stage on Wednesday, the 168km run from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone, and concludes in Verona on Sunday.
Giro d’Italia stage 16: As it happened . . .
Hindley wins sprint for third!
Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) opened up the sprint from 150 metres or so out. Maglia rosa Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) glued himself to Hindley’s wheel before attempting to go around the Australian, but the Bora-Hansgrohe rider held on to take third and earn himself what may turn out to be a crucial 4sec time bonus. As a result, Hindley closed the gap on overall leader Carapaz to just 3sec.
“It’s been a hard stage and at the end I’m happy,” said Carapaz. “I thought I was going to win the sprint for third place. I eventually didn’t but it’s still a good day for me. I’ve lost a few seconds on Hindley but I gained more on Almeida so the balance is positive.”
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) rolled over the line in eighth place, 14sec down on Hindley meaning the Portuguese now trails Carapaz by 44sec. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) finished in ninth spot, but moved up to fifth on general classification.
Hirt wins stage 16 at the Giro d’Italia!
Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), 31, takes the biggest win of his career in one of the toughest stages at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Thymen Arensman (DSM) hold on to take second.
“I’ve had a few problems during the stage. My chain dropped, I cramped… but I never gave up,” explained Hirt following his win. “I’m glad I managed to go solo. I always said that my biggest achievement would be to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia and I could stop after that but I won’t stop now.”
1km to go
Jan Hirt takes a 10sec lead into the final uphill section of this long and testing climb. I think the Czech Republic rider is going to do this.
1.5km to go
Thymen Arensman pushes on, can the young Dutcmna – a second year neo-pro – do anything on the final kick up to the finishing line?
2.5km to go
Jan Hirt appears to be taking the corners a little slower than if these roads were dry, his advantage over Thymen Arensman drops to 10sec.
3km to go
Jan Hirt slips and slides a little, but thankfully he stays upright.
4km to go
Jan Hirt leads his way down the descent with a 17sec lead, but it has been raining and the roads are wet. Not iideal conditions to race in, especially when racing for a stage win or to keep your general classification hopes alive. Praying they all keep the rubber side down.
5km to go
Jai Hindley rides beyond team-mate Lennard Kämna, the Australian is looking calm and composed. Joao Almeida is around 12sec down on his general classification rivals. As mentioned earlier, Almeida’s not the best descender and may lose more time on the incoming descent.
6.5km to go
Thymen Arensman is digging deep, refusing to go down without a fight.
7km to go
Hugh Carthy has been caught by Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley and Mikel Landa who are 1min 41sec off the pace of stage leader Jan Hirt. Thymen Arensman is 15sec off the front, but remember there’s that short descent incoming so he may be able to make time up on the downhill before the final kick up to the finishing line in Aprica.
7.5km to go
Jan Hirt manages to shake off Thymen Arensman, the Dutchman looks to be struggling. Does he have anything left in the tank? Further back, Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley and Mikel Landa appear to be working together, knowing a concerted effort may put Joao Almeida out of the picture.
8km to go
Richard Carapaz rises out of his saddle, ready to launch an attack. But Jai Hindley is more than a match for him, Mikel Landa holds the wheels fairly comfortably. Joao Almeida is not throwing the towel in.
8.5km to go
Lennard Kämna cracks. Thymen Arensman and Jan Hirt push on.
9km to go
Joao Almeida, a decent time trial rider, is inching his way towards his general classification rivals Mikel Landa, Richard Carapaz and Jai Hindley – but is this a case of too little, too late?
9.4km to go
Mikel Landa launches an attack. Richard Carapaz jumps onto his wheel, as does Jai Hindley . . . but Joao Almeida has lost contact. Back near the front of the race, Jan Hirt has bridged over to Thymen Arensman, the trio just a handful of seconds behind Lennard Kämna.
9.5km to go
Alejandro Valverde has caught Hugh Carthy.
Not 100 per cent sure what happened, but Pello Bilbao may have had a touching of wheels with his team leader Mikel Landa. Either way, that will have upset the rhythm of that group. Bilbao gets a push from a roadside spectator and will have to work hard if he is to regain contact with Lana and Wout Poels.
10.5km to go
Hugh Carthy drops Alejandro Valverde, but the veteran Spaniard doesn’t look too concerned – he just keeps tapping away at a steady rhythm. Thymen Arensman continues to gain on Lennard Kämna, the Dutchman trails by 25sec.
11km to go
Thymen Arensman trails stage leader Lennard Kämna by 35sec, the Dutchman who has yet to land a professional win is doing a grand job at nibbling away at the German’s advantage. Hugh Carthy and Alejandro Valverde are around 1min down, with the Bahrain Victorious-powered peloton at 2min 44sec.
12.5km to go
Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) has been dropped by the peloton. Jan Hirt, meanwhile, has kicked and dropped Hugh Carthy and Alejandro Valverde. But there’s an awful long way of this tough climb to go.
13.9km to go
Woet Poels has joined forces on the front of the peloton with his friends from Bahrain Victorious. Further up the road, Thymen Arensman has gone off in pursuit of stage leader Lennard Kämna. Can the young Dutchman contest the stage win?
14km to go
Thymen Arensman, Hugh Carthy, Jan Hirt and Alejandro Valverde trail Lennard Kämna by 51sec, back in the peloton Mikel Landa has two Bahrain Victorious team-mates on the front, while the maglia rosa has three riders dressed in Ineos Grenadiers’ jerseys protecting him.
15km to go
A few spots of rain are starting to fall. Lennard Kämna is onto the final climb on the day, the category one Valico di Santa Cristina, and his lead keeps growing (50sec). Bahrain Victorious continue to pull on the front of the peloton which trails by 3min 10sec.
17.5km to go
Lennard Kämna, who has already won a stage at this year’s Giro, is flying and has managed to gain over 40sec on the chasing group. Wout Poels, meanwhile, has sat up. Not sure if his legs have given up the ghost, or he is under instruction to wait for his team-mate who are still drilling it on the front of the peloton.
20km to go
Lennard Kämna has pressed on, the German the lone leader on the stage. The gap between the Bora-Hansgrohe rider and the peloton in 3min 6sec, while he leads the chasing five-man group by 17sec.
25km to go
Guillaume Martin has been spat out of the back of the peloton. Not a great day for the Frenchman. The stage leaders – Thymen Arensman, Hugh Carthy, Jan Hirt, Lennard Kämna, Wout Poels and Alejandro Valverde – are descending now on twisty and narrow roads. Their advantage, by the way, has dropped to a shade over 3min.
28km to go
Bahrain Victorious assume position on the front of the peloton. They will be working for Mikel Landa who won a stage in Aprica in 2015.
😉 Sabemos que llevas tiempo esperando a que llegue éste día, por eso, hemos diseñado esto para ti.
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) May 24, 2022
30km to go
Guillaume Martin and Simon Yates are back in the main peloton. Lorenzo Fortunato is fighting tooth and nail, but he looks doomed too and will soon be caught. Koen Bouwman, meanwhile, is over 2min down on the stage leaders, with the maglia rosa 3min 38sec down the road, suggesting the pace has increased. With a 12.7km long climb at an average gradient of 8.1% to follow, you have to wonder if Ineos Grenadiers or Astana Qazaqstan are thinking of the stage win, or are they going to have their own general classification battle?
31km to go
Hugh Carthy presses on again. It looks as if the rangy rider from Preston is testing the rest of the leading group, gently turning the screw to see if anybody snaps. As it stands, nobody has.
32km to go
Chris Hamilton is caught by the peloton which has Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan) pulling on the front, a bike length ahead of the aforementioned Ben Tulett. Back at the front of the race, Hugh Carthy does a short turn on the front before dropping back into the group.
32.5km to go
Koen Bouwman drops off the back of the leading group on these steep slopes of the Teglio. Thymen Arensman, meanwhile, is out of his saddle once again when the road pitches up. Alejandro Valverde would become the oldest winner of a Giro d’Italia stage if he were to prevail today and the 42-year-old is looking relatively fresh.
34km to go
Guillaume Martin’s chasing group are going backwards, just one minute separates them and the reduced peloton. It looks like young Ben Tulett is riding on the front for Ineos Grenadiers now. Not a bad grand tour debutant for the 20-year-old from Sevenoaks.
35km to go
Here’s what the incoming Teglio climb looks like. Bizarrely, it is unclassified which seems a little cruel. Some very, very narrow roads that ramp up to 16% in its steepest section .
38km to go
Guillaume Martin continues to pull on the front of the chasing group at 3min 20sec. Astana Qazaqstan, meanwhile, have a man on the front of the reduced peloton (at 5min 23sec) sitting ahead of a sextet of Ineos Grenadiers riders. That group, by the way, contains all of the general classification contenders.
42km to go
Some great work from Ineos Grenadiers who have somehow managed to get five riders to surround Richard Carapaz’s maglia rosa. The television pictures, sadly, didn’t show how and where they shifted their way to the front of the field. Regardless, they did it and are back in control.
45km to go
The chasing seven-man group looks fairly disorganised, it looks as if only Guillaume Martin really wants to chase. As a result, the gap to the stage leaders has grown out to almost 3min.
50km to go
The seven-man group of Thymen Arensman (DSM), Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lead the stage by 1min 54sec.
The septet of chasers, includes: Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco).
Ineos Grenadiers have regrouped now they are on the flattish valley road that goes to the Teglio climb, the vastly reduced peloton trails by 5min 5sec. The Teglio, by the way, is a very steep and narrow climb that, in places, is barely wide enough for a Fiat Cinquecento to squeeze through and so there may be a battle for position on the incoming climb.
56km to go
Giulio Ciccone sits up, it looks as if he is waiting for the next group on the road to sweep him up, the Italian hoping to thumb a lift.
64km to go
Hugh Carthy has managed to bridge over to the stage leaders. They still hold a 1min advantage over the chasing group (Giulio Ciccone and Chris Hamilton), while the maglia rosa is 4min 23sec down.
67km to go – the Shark attacks!
Vincenzo Nibali has dropped the entire group of riders he rode over the top of the Mortirolo with, forcing Richard Carapaz to chase. He may have dropped them, but with a valley road to follow on the way to the Teglio climb this should not cause the magila rosa too much to worry about. It will, though, sow a seed of doubt or two into the minds of his rivals.
68km to go
Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) crashes in the reduced peloton on the descent, but the pint-sized Italian is soon back up and back in the saddle. Further up the road Hugh Carthy has lost contact, the Preston-born rider is taking each corner gingerly. You can hear those disc brakes squeaking on ever corner.
68.5km to go
Richard Carapaz has just one Ineos Grenadiers team-mate for company, the maglia rosa is sat on the wheel of Pavel Sivakov on the approach to the summit. Vincenzo Nibali is floating around, but is he going to attack?
70km to go
Joe Dombrowski is pulling hard on the front of the peloton as they inch up the Mortirolo, received wisdom is that Astana Qazaqstan are setting Vincenzo Nibali up for an attack on his final edition of the Giro d’Italia before he retires at the end of the year. A few splits are forming in that group, with Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) hanging on at the back.
72km to go
Huge crowds out on the summit of the Mortirolo today. Koen Bouwman crests the climb first, ahead of Lennard Kämna, with Thymen Arensman taking third. As predicted, Bouwman extends his lead in the mountains classification.
73.5km to go
Chris Hamilton loses contact with the stage leaders as the road pitches up to 16%. Thymen Arensman is out of his saddle, riding shoulder-to-shoulder with Koen Bouwman who should extend his lead in the mountains classification at the top of this category one climb.
74km to go
According to reports, Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) is isolated in the reduced peloton meaning he has no team-mates to help him out should he endure any mishaps. As you may have seen during Saturday’s stage, the Portuguese is not the best descender in the world, unlike Vincenzo Nibali who is widely regarded as one of the best. There could be fireworks once over this horrible climb.
76km to go
Chris Hamilton continues to pull on the front of what now is an eight-man group, including the Aussie’s DSM team-mate Thymen Arensman who is the de facto leader following Romain Bardet’s withdrawal last week.
76.5km to go
Giulio Ciccone has lost 28sec on the stage leaders.
77km to go
Having instigated the move out of the chasing group, Giulio Ciccone has been dropped by Hugh Carthy and Jan Hirt who have duly bridged over to Alejandro Valverde et al. Carthy is riding himself into form in the third week.
Those with good memories, will recall that when Giulio Ciccone won a wet Mortirolo stage back in 2019 he beat a certain Jan Hirt in a sprint for the line . . . the two are, of course, riding together again here today.
79km to go
Astana Qazaqstan take over on the front of the peloton. Is Vincenzo Nibali planning on applying the pressure on the descent once over the other side of the Mortirolo? The riders may be going up the easier side here today,but that means the descent will be down the gnarly side of the mountain: all narrow and twisty roads, with an uneven surface in places.
80km to go
Simon Yates and Lorenzo Fortunato bridge over to Guillaume Martin and Wilco Kelderman, the quartet now trails the stage leaders by 1min as they tackle a 12% section of the Mortirolo. Hugh Carthy, Giulio Ciccone and Jan Hirt – the second group on the road – meanwhile, are 38sec down on Alejandro Valverde et al.
81km to go
Hugh Carthy, Giulio Ciccone and Jan Hirt are working well together for the moment, the trio trails the stage leaders by 35sec now. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) are a few second sfurther back, while the maglia rosa is over five minutes down the road.
83km to go
Giulio Ciccone rises out of his saddle, and similarly to Sunday’s stage is showing his cards very early. Off he goes, but Hugh Carthy follows the Italian along with Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). Simon Yates, however, is unable to respond and is riding along with Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) around 10 bike lengths down the road. A few rain drops are falling on the road, possibly the first we have seen at this year’s unseasonably warm and dry Giro.
83.5km to go
Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) has been dropped by what is now a six-man leading group, which is being pulled along by Aussie climber Chris Hamilton. The chasing group, by the way, have closed the gap slightly but still trail by 45sec. Dario Cataldo has pulled the pin, he appears to have done his work for the day.
85km to go
Alejandro Valverde does not appear too happy with the rest of the leading group. A few hand gestures came after Chris Hamilton had drifted off up the road before he dropped back a few moments later. Next up, Wout Poels accelerated out of a steep hairpin bend, but nobody was able to hold his wheel. Once he flicked his elbow to let the others know it was their turn, nobody was there. The Dutchman duly dropped back into line.
86.7km to go
Dario Cataldo peers over his left shoulder while taking the pressure off his pedals for a few strokes, allowing the second group on the road to drift up towards him. Once reunited, Cataldo positions himself at its head and gets to work pulling hard for the group containing his climbing team-mate Giulio Ciccone.
87.5km to go
Dario Cataldo (Trek-Segafredo) drops out of the leading group as the road continues to ramp up, they are now very much on to the lower part of the Mortirolo. I’m assuming Cataldo is going back to help team-mate Giulio Ciccone who is in the group a little over a minute back.
90km to go
And the leading group sees it advantage grow to 1min, the peloton is 4min 30sec down .
94km to go
Richard Carapaz is spotted riding through the team cars, the maglia rosa has Jonathan Castroviejo for company and both are looking fairly relaxed. The peloton, however has lost a little more time and now trails the eight-man group on the front by a shade over 4min.
95km to go
Thymen Arensman (DSM), Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Dario Cataldo (Trek-Segafredo), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) are in the leading group – 40sec. Not sure how that split was caused, it may have been something as simple as a rider losing the wheel in front of him rather than an organised push.
100km to go
The next key point in the stage is the first intermediate sprint of the day in Edolo, which goes straight into the Mortirolo. Somehow a split has been created in the group and Simon Yates missed the move.
105km to go
Sterling effort from Wilco Kelderman and Mattia Bais who have managed to bridge over to the breakaway. The reduced peloton, meanwhile, appeared to have slowed down for a short while, but they are back on it now: at 2min 33sec.
110km to go
Wilco Kelderman and Mattia Bais have closed the gap slightly, 37sec behind the breakaway now.
115km to go
Ben Swift, the British national champion, pulls his Ineos Grenadiers team-mates along the false flat that leads into the Mortirolo. The gap between the maglia rosa and stage leaders is just 2min 40sec. It has barely grown and looks like Richard Carapaz may be hoping to contest the stage today. In order to do that, of course, he and his team-mates will have to catch the break first. Given Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) and Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) are up the road, Ineos Grenadiers will, more than likely, have to do all of the heavy lifting in any chase.
120km to go
Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) hangs off the rear of the stretched out breakaway and he is taking almost every tight corner a little too wide. It’s heart in the mouth stuff. I’ve not noticed his apparent lack of descending skills before, but it is quite worrying. On each corner he loses a few metres, meaning that on each corner he needs to use more energy than he ought to be. On one short descent that may not mean much, but over a long day in the mountains with lots of downhill sections, it can have a cumulative effect.
125km to go
Wilco Kelderman was forced to sit up and take a wheel from neutral service and has subsequently lost contact with the breakaway. The Dutchman is descending alongside Mattia Bais (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), the pair trail by amin 5sec, while the Ineos Grenadiers-powered peloton is at 2min 30sec.
As it stands . . .
As has been the case in numerous stages over the past week, the riders wasted little time in making their intentions known in this long and hard day in the mountains. Following a flurry of attacks, a six-man group comprising Mark Cavendish (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Chris Juul-Jensen (BikeExchange-Jayco), Nans Peters (Ag2r-Citroën) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) clipped off up the road. The sextext gained around a minute, but were reined back in on the approach to the day’s first climb.
That approach, though, was all uphill. Other than the descents, there is barely a flat stretch of road during the stage. After around 50km of racing, a big group containing some strong climbers formed at the front of the race. Interestingly, Bora-Hansgrohe managed to get two riders – Lennard Kämna and Wilco Kelderman – into the breakaway. While Kämna may have had his eyes on some points in the mountains classification, having him in the leading group may also benefit team-mate Jai Hindley later this afternoon.
Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) all made the move, as did a number of other strong climbers such as Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) who won on Monte Zoncolan last year. The breakaway initially formed with 23 riders, by by the time it reached the summit of Goletto di Cadino, the first categorised climb of the day, that had whittled down to just 18 riders.
Ciccone dropped the hammer around 250 metres from the summit and was chased down by Bouwman. It was the Italian, though, who took maximum points in the mountains classification, picking up 40 points and move up to second behind the Dutchman.
That breakaway in full . . .
Thymen Arensman (DSM), Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost), Dario Cataldo (Trek-Segafredo), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Sylvain Moniquet (Lotto-Soudal), Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Mauri Vansevenant (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco).
The highest-placed rider from this group on general classification is Martin (10th; 8min 2sec), while Kelderman started the stage 10min 34sec off the pace of race leader Richard Carapaz, but the Dutchman will not be too concerned about his position, instead focusing his efforts on team-mate Jai Hindley.
What’s on today’s menu?
The peloton may be tackling the easier side if the Mortirolo in today’s hellish looking stage, but do not let that fool you into believing there is anywhere for the riders to hide. With in excess of 5,000 metres in vertical elevation – I’ve read anything between 5,047m and 5,440m – raced over three category one climbs, and the often overlooked uncategorised Teglio, this is going to be one of the toughest tests the riders will face over three weeks of racing. It is, in short, a monster of a stage. Riders will crack and lose time, other will find their climbing legs and excel. I expect there will be a huge battle in the race for pink, but will a breakaway rider prevail and take the stage?
Once again, it is difficult to say whether the stage will be contested by a breakaway rider or a group of general classification contenders. I suspect an awful lot of riders will be hoping to get into a breakaway, including some that may be looking to act as satellite operators later in the day – when they drop back from the break, or sit up, and assist their team leader – but that may be easier said than done. Should a breakaway form, then the likes of Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), who won in the rain here in 2019, may fancy another crack. The Italian looked sprightly on Sunday and had Monday to recuperate, but was that long enough for him to fully recover?
Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) went well in this region in that 2019 stage, too, but was unable to match Ciccone on the final climb on Sunday, but again, much will depend on his powers of recovery. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) stands a good chance of making it a third stage win, but the Briton will have to ride a canny race, balancing up whether he needs to get into a breakaway or hang with the general classification group. Yates, of course, offers no threat to the general classification riders and so if the stage is contested by them he can simply ride in the wheels saving his legs for the finale. Sounds easy when written out like that, but trust me it is anything but – this is not PlayStation cycling.
Of the general classification riders, you would have to say course appears to favour Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) or Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), and it will be fascinating to see how both teams tackle the stage: it would be great to see some more aggressive riding from one of them, much like we saw in Saturday’s stage to Turin, but I fear they will adopt a more conservative approach on what is only the first day of an extremely tough third week.
So, what does the stage look like?
Here’s what the roadbook says about the stage…
A queen stage across the Alps, with over 5,000m vertical altitude gain. The stage begins in Valsabbia, going up, and takes in a long climb (nearly 30km) leading to the 2,000m Goletto di Cadino (below).
The route drops into the Val Camonica (with a few level crossings along the way) and goes up again, reaching Edolo. The route then tackles the Passo del Mortirolo (below) coming from Monno. Three kilometres before the summit, the road narrows and the gradients rise.
A technical descent follows, leading to Grosio on narrow road (quite steep at points). After a flat stretch, the route goes up again, heading for Teglio (on narrowed roadway, with gradients even exceeding 15% at points – see below), and then descends rapidly towards Tresenda, before the closing ascent up the Valico di Santa Cristina.
The road, wide and well-paved in the first part (with two short tunnels along the way), narrows as soon as it switches towards the summit. The route winds its way in hairpins through the woods, with sharp gradients, dropping sharply and rapidly into the finish.
The descent from the Valico di Santa Cristina to the ‑1,500m marker is highly technical, on narrow road and with sharp gradients. In the closing stretch (below), the route rises steadily at around 3% all the way to the finish (on Tarmac).
Live coverage of stage 16 to get under way at 12.30pm (BST)
Catch up: Highlights from Sunday’s stage
Saturday’s stage was always going to be a tough act to follow, and though interesting enough, there was very little to get too excited about from a general classification perspective. I am sure, though, that stage winner Giulio Ciccone and his Trek-Sefagfedo team, who the previous day lost the maglia rosa with it slipping off the shoulders of Juan Pedro López and into the arms of Richard Carapaz, found little reason for complaint. Indeed, after suffering a fairly miserable period off the bike, Ciccone was back to his brilliant climbing best and put on a superb display as he soloed away to his first stage win at the Giro d’Italia since 2019. Watch the highlights . . .
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 16 at the Giro d’Italia, the 202-kilometre run from Salò to Aprica.
Following Monday’s rest day, the third and final week of the Giro gets under way later today with a brutal mountain test that features 5,250 metres in vertical elevation gain. While the general classification appears evenly poised at the top of the standings, this last week include no fewer than four mountain stages, along with the final day time trial in Verona. Hopefully the next few days will provide some exciting stages and engaging battles for the various jerseys up for grabs. But what do the standings currently look like?
Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) will be be dressed in the maglia rosa – the leader’s pink jersey – for the second consecutive day having taken top spot in the general classification in Saturday’s barnstormer of a stage, won by Simon Yates (BikeExhange-Jayco).
Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) will again wear the maglia ciclamino (cyclamen jersey) as overall leader in the points classification, a competition the Frenchman won in 2020.
Having already won a stage, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) climbed to the top of the standings in the mountains classification after taking maximum points at the summit of the first of the three climbs on Sunday. As a result, the Dutchman will wear the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey, during today’s stage.
Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) will wear the maglia bianca, the white jersey, for the 12th successive day, but only the second by right as overall leader in the youth classification – the Portuguese previously wore it on behalf of Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo).