May 19, 2013 – Giovanni Visconti won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday after a mountain finish in the snow following a 149km ride from Cesana Torinese to Col du Galibier. The Italian from the Movistar team held off a charge from the depleted peloton, made up of race favorites, to take his maiden Giro stage by 42 seconds from Carlos Betancur and Prezemyslaw Niemiec.
Ahead of the second and final rest day, Vincenzo Nibali held onto the leader’s pink jersey after coming home in seventh, 54 seconds down.
The finishing line had been brought 4km down the mountain due to the adverse weather conditions at the top of the Galibier. But given the thick sheet of snow around the riders as they tackled the final climb, and snow flakes peppering their faces, that would have been something of a relief.
Having broken clear of his six fellow breakaway companions on the penultimate climb up the Telegraphe, Visconti reached the Galibier with a couple of minutes on his chasers. And the 30-year-old Sicilian held on up to the finish at 2,301 meters, alongside a monument to former Italian champion Marco Pantani, before collapsing exhausted after the finishing line.
Any hopes of fireworks amongst the overall contenders failed to materialize on the draining final climb. Nibali briefly stretched his legs but gained little and was quickly reeled back in before the favorites all came home in the same bunch. Australian Cadel Evans remains second at 1min 26sec with Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran third at 2min 46sec.
“They were extreme conditions, I tried to shake things up at the end but it was very difficult because of the cold,” said Nibali. “It really was very cold. It was an important day but the result is good. I have a good advantage, although it would have been better iof I’d gained a bit of time. Evans is still very close and Uran still needs to be taken into consideration.”
Results From Stage 15:
1. Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 4hr 40min 48sec
2. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM) at 42sec
3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (POL/LAM) same time
4. Rafal Majka (POL/SAX) s.t.
5. Fabio Duarte (COL/COL) 47
6. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 54
7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) s.t.
8. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) s.t.
9. Mauro Santambrogio (ITA/VIN) s.t.
10. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) s.t.
11. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/RSH) s.t.
12. Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN) 58
13. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/AND) s.t.
14. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BLA) 1:00
15. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) s.t.
Selected others: 16. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 1:06, 17. Danilo Di Luca (ITA/VIN) 1:09, 23. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 1:39, 26. Robert Gesink (NED/BLA) 1:52, 148. Mark Cavendish (GBR/OPQ) 27:54.