Giro Stage 15 – Breakaway Victory

On a day that saw GC contender Emanuel Buchmann crash out (with others) of the Giro, it was a stage for the breakaway from which Victor Campenaerts won the stage; Egan Bernal is still in Pink

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Giro Stage 15 – Breakaway Victory

On a day that saw GC contender Emanuel Buchmann crash out (with others) of the Giro, it was a stage for the breakaway from which Victor Campenaerts won the stage; Egan Bernal is still in Pink

Belgian time trial specialist Victor Campenaerts won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia from the day’s breakaway with a scintillating attack out of the break and then a winning sprint to beat Oscar Riesebeek, his only rival for the victory on the line.

After the punishing 14th stage to the Monte Zoncolan, the GC teams and others let the 15-man breakaway loose on what appeared to be a recovery ride for most of the overall contenders after a crash-hit start. Emanuel Buchmann’s hopes of a good GC position in the Giro came to a crashing hault in a mass pile-up that forced organisers to neutralise the race for 15 minutes inside the opening two kilometres.

Buchmann, who was sixth overall, abandoned alongside Dutchman Jos van Emden and Erythrea’s Natnael Berhane, with Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro withdrawing later.

Victor Campenaerts “It was just an amazing day with the team. We don’t have the guys in the team that will do the uphil finishes, and the coming days are extremely hard, so we decided to go all in today, riders as one, ‘Ubuntu,” “I am because we are.” We gave everything that we had from the first kilometres. It was quite a dramatic start, with a big crash, in the beginning, and we were already at the front with half of the team.”

“When they restarted the race, we did the same thing, and the rest was just fantastic. I have to say Lukas [Łukasz Wiśniowski] and Max [Walscheid] had 100% faith in my performance. It gave me a little bit of pressure but I’m happy to finish it off, and the guys both also did a crazy result for a team like ours, Qhubeka-Assos. This is fantastic. We have a Giro with three victories [Mauro Schmid at Montalcino, Giacomo Nizzolo at Verona, and Victor Campenaerts today].”

“We struggled to stay alive as a team, but we managed to stay alive. We are looking for a big sponsor, and I think with three victories at the Giro, we make a great statement. We are racing for a greater purpose, we will always race for a greater purpose, no matter what sponsor will join the team, and we hope we will have this sponsor and stay alive for a long, long time, and bicycles change lives. Bicycles in Africa give chances for better education and a better life.”

Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin Fenix): “I’ve missed an opportunity perhaps the opportunity of a lifetime. I just made a mistake, I don’t know if I made amistake or… of course, he was really strong. It’s hard after 15 days to find something good [to say] about it. At the minute I am very disappointed. Yeah, it was really, really slippery in the last 10 km. It was unbelievable, so, of course, we took some risks. But I tried to stay on the wheel and just come back in the last K, and from the 2nd wheel try to sprint. I had to try, but I had to go too fas on the saddle, and Campenaerts came and I can’t say anything about it any more.”

Nikias Arndt (3rd on stage) (DSM) “We thought there might have been a chance of crosswinds at the start today so we were prepared for that but nothing happened,” explained Arndt. “It was then a super fast restart and I was able to make it into the breakaway which was nice. We rode well together out front but then the games started towards the finish and two guys got away. I think maybe we might have had a higher chance of catching them if it was dry but they were strong. I hoped that on the last two climbs that we would be able to come back to them but in the end the guys out front were strong and we weren’t able to make it. Unfortunately, it meant that for us we were sprinting for third place but we managed to get another podium finish here which is a nice result.”

Quinten Hermans (5th on stage): “We received a generous advantage from the peloton, and from there I knew some riders on the breakaway would start to save energy. With a smaller lead, everyone would have done their share of the work and calculated less. It’s a shame because it allowed some riders to arrive fresher in the final. I had decided to try my luck on the last ascent of Gornje Cerovo. There, I made a good move, but Campenaerts and Riesebeek were already out of reach. I had a good feeling on the climbs but didn’t receive a lot of help. Chapeau to the two men who fought for victory. Next week I can see myself trying something in the stage leading to Stradella. But first, we’ll have to survive tomorrow’s stage.”

Stefano Oldani (13th): What a hard day in the saddle that was! Before the race was neutralized, I already had to race almost over my limit to be part of that first breakaway and maybe I paid for that in the end. Unfortunately, we missed the decisive move as those three guys attacked in the final and to be honest, I also didn’t have the best legs. But I am really happy that we keep racing aggressively in this #Giro! Tomorrow will most likely be a grupetto day for me.”

Monday’s 16th Queen stage is a 212-km mountain trek from Sacile to Cortina d’Ampezzo.



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