Giro d'Italia 16: Dario Cataldo Campionissimo (and GC fireworks)

Awful weather: cold, rain and snow. All together till the start of the Gavia climb, the the fight for the Blue Jersey points:  1) Chalapud 2) Arredondo 3) Pantano.
Behind riders scattered all over the road: gaps of minutes. Vuillermoz, Cataldo and Pellizzotti jump in front. Others join. But Dario Cataldo attacks, all are dropped, Cima Coppi is conquered: 1) Cataldo 2) Chalapud 3) Dupont 4) Pantano Gomez 5) Geniez
Down the slippery descent Cataldo doesn't stop. Riders changes clothes atop the Stelvio. 
It's 50 km to go for the man solo in front: descent, flat and a long nasty climb to Valmartello. It's bloody hard but he goes. 
Behind it's fight for pink: Quintana dropped Uran and the main favourites' group. In the middle Vuillermoz, Dupon and Pantano.
The Giro has never been so open!!

SITUATION 24 km to go:
Cataldo -> Dupont, Vuillermoz, Pantano -> Hesjedal, Quintana, Rabottini, Rolland, Sicard, Izaguirre -> Calapud Gomez -> Bunch

The final climb of the day has started for the first riders in the race. Val Martello (1st cat): 22.3 km, 6.4% average, 14% max. It's going to be devastating!

Quintana attacks with Rolland: they join Cataldo who hangs on. Hesjedal comes and they are four in front, 2' ahead Uran's group with all the main favourites. 

Cataldo resists, gets slightly dropped. Not easy for him to follow climbers like Quintana and Rolland.... Hat off for the rider from Abruzzo! No matter how it will finish for him: he made the race.

OPQS, Astana and TFR point out that they slowed down in the Stelvio descent because thinking it was neutralized while Quintana attacked passing the 'safety motos'. Nervous people on teams cars. A big polic is on the way...
Here you have Giro's tweet: 

Wrong communication: no neutralization for the descent from the Passo dello Stelvio. Sorry for the wrong information.
But Radio Corsa didn't talk of 'neuralization', just of 'safety motos' to lead riders down the descent... Hard to say how it really went but almst all DS agree on the 'safety motos' thing as 'nutralization' and they are angry.. Maybe there was an unofficial agreement among teams and somebody broke it?

Dario Cataldo caught by Uran's group remains there strong and steady while the attacks in front keep high the pace, while the road goes brutally uphill..

Fight for Pink: on the last ramps Nairo Quintana wins, 2nd Ryder Hesjedal, 3rd pierre Rolland. Behind Pozzovivo drops Uran and Evans.
Fight for White: Wilco Kelderman duels with Rafal Majka. Fabio Aru is up there. "We rode in incredible conditions. We are all champions" after the finish breathless he says.

What Dario Cataldo said: 
"...never mind , I'll try again!!!
My move was right, legs also. It's a pity that behind they were chasing each other full gas in two groups. If they were all together and as it normally  happens they looked each others in the vally and in the first part of the climb, then the victory would have been possible.
But to make it you must try.... and I'll try again, and again!"

What nairo Quintana said:
"This gives me confidence and confirms that I can achieve great things in the present and in the future. I dedicate it to my team. I owe them all this victory.
At no time was there an attack on the descent, and we heard nothing of neutralisation, neither from the race organisation nor from the team car. I don't understand why there is controversy. Besides, we entered the split, but the biggest gap was actually made into the final climb towards Val Martello."

What Alxis Vuillermoz said:
"Dantesque stage with rain, snow and three high mountain climbs! Feeling wasn't the best pas but my roots from Jura allowed me to do very well in the descent in those hard conditons and that allowed me to join the break-away!I got a bit dropped in the end but  finished 13th and am back to 11 in GC!"

What Domenico Pozzovivo said:
"It has been hard for me in the descent because of the rain. I was feeling definitely better in the climbs. In the finale I prefered to wait  the last 2 km to attack and to not get slow on the flat. In the overall I'm just 2' from the 2nd place. We are all in a very small gap and all is still possible."

What cadel Evans said:
"In the final, I started cramping. I was limping on one leg all the way home. It is a pity. Normally I am reasonably good in these extreme conditions. But when I can't see the road, I can't descend down it. When I have to pedal with one leg, I can't go uphill. So it was really a day of conservation and survival.
The first climb, I was over-dressed. The first descent, I couldn't see through the snow. The second climb – the Stelvio – I was fine. But on the downhill I started getting cramps. It seems ridiculous today – it is below zero and I am dehydrated. But we were either going uphill or downhill, so the opportunities to drink were limited.
We came here with big intentions and we came here to give absolutely our best. We have all worked very, very hard. I think we have seen in the last couple of days that anything and everything has happened in this Giro. And anything can still happen. That is what makes the Giro so dramatic."

What Ben Swiftsaid:
"I have never disliked descending and looked forward to climbing as much as I did today. #snowman"

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"Our guys got stuck into it today and no-one really struggled out there. We had a lot of personnel on the side of the road giving out warm clothes and drinks and things. That allowed us to be active and Dario put in a really brave ride. He was a bit unlucky that there had been the split in the GC group because it meant Quintana, Rolland and Hesjedal went 100% until the end. Otherwise he might have stayed away. Even so, he can be really proud of his performance today, as can Swifty, Philip [Deignan] and Sebastian.Sebasitan did really well to be part of a really select group on the third and final climb, and I'm sure he will remember this day for many years to come. It's one of the first times he's ever been up there with the big guys and that will give him a big boost in confidence moving forwards. He's still only 20 years old and has a big future ahead of him."

What Wilco Kelderman said:
“The final climb suited me really well, and after a number of attacks by others, I felt that I was one of the strongest in our group. I accelerated and distanced the rest easily. Then I just kept going until the line.
It was a very special day. I’m happy you don’t often experience days like this. The climb of the Gavia was not too bad, but during the descent, it started too snow very heavily. It was terribly cold and my hands felt like lumps. It was dangerous, as well, because I could no longer see through my glasses.
While climbing the Stelvio, I warmed up again. At the top, I took my time to put on a raincoat as the jury had announced that the downhill would be neutralised. When I made my way back to the main group, however, Quintana, Hesjedal and Rolland were gone. Looking back on that, it’s a bit unfair because I wouldn’t have stopped if I hadn’t heard about the neutralisation. Rolland is now ahead of me in the overall. Normally, I think I could have followed him.
With a little bit of luck you can move up quickly. But everything is still possible. A top ten remains my main goal" 

Trek Factory Racing DS Adriano Baffi: 
“Robert was good in the first downhill, and he went away with 11-12 riders; he never pulled, he just stayed there since it was too far from the end still. Then at the top of the Stelvio there was a misunderstanding - most of the teams understood that the moto with the red flag was a safety car to not pass because of the snow. This did not happen, but what can you do? It’s like that. [Race leader Rigoberto] Uran lost the most because of this announcement from radio tour. For us, I am a little disappointed because Robert showed he was good in the first descent so I think he could have followed this attack of Quintana, Rolland and Hesjedal.
We knew from a few days ago that this could be bad weather conditions, and it happened. It was already a very hard stage without the weather and this made it three times harder than normal. The plan going into today was to score some mountain points with Julian and save Robert’s GC place. Julian suffered a lot today, but he did get second in the Gavia’s GPM. His race [today] was finished after this - he had to stop, as did a lot of riders, because of the cold to put on more clothes. After this he was in survival mode to the finish.
Despite all what happened today, with all the conditions, we finished with all nine riders. Now tomorrow we will look ahead to win the stage with Giacomo.”

"We had a good rest day yesterday. We were stayed up quite high at 1900 metres. We rode down one side of the mountain, had a coffee and rode back up the other side. It was a good little hit out to keep the body moving and be as prepared as possible for today’s stage.
Today, it was just survival for us. It was the toughest day of the Giro and the hardest day to make the time cut. The last group will only have made it by a couple minutes.
Aside from the 60-odd kilometres of climbing, we had snow and temps of one degree Celsius. It was a tough day for sure. Ivan touched down on a descent, and we had to do a couple clothing changes to stay warm, but we survived. We’ll have some opportunities tomorrow and Sunday – and maybe Santa can do something on Saturday."



1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 4:42:35
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:00:08
3 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:01:13
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:03:32
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:37
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:40
7 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:08
8 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky 0:04:11
9 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:04:48

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 68:11:44
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:41
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:21
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:26
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03:28
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:34
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:49
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:06
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:04:16
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:02

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