Emanuele Sella (CSF) completed a rare double in the Dolomites on Sunday, winning the 15th stage to the summit of the Passo Fedaia with another lone attack just as he did on Saturday when he won the stage to Alpe di Pampeago.
Behind the little Italian, the overall contenders again watched each other closely, with only the climb to the finish inspiring serious attacks and causing some time gaps.
Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) was not at his best because of a cold but accelerated three times and managed to carve out a hundred metre gap.
Sella?s team mate Domenico Pozzovivo finished second at 2-05 and Ricco was third 2-11. Danilo Di Luca (LPR) was fourth at 2-20, Gilberto Simoni (Diquigiovanni) was fifth at 2-27 and Alberto Contador (Astana) was sixth in the same time.
Contador pulled on the pink jersey and now leads Ricco by 33 seconds, with Di Luca third at 55 seconds. Bruseghin, Menchov and Simoni, are all still within 1-26 and so the Giro is still a six-rider race.
Monday?s 12.9km individual mountain time trial to the ski station of Plan de Corones could see those time gaps open even more.
The stage was ‘only’ 153km log but the five tough climbs in the Dolomites and cold and rain on the last two climbs tested the riders.
SIX BRITS SURVIVE SECOND DAY IN DOLOMITES
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) worked hard for his team mates on the terrible Passo Giau and caused the first real selection in the front group. He caused Andreas Kloden and Levi Leipheimer (Astana) to be dropped and sent everybody else deep into the red. Unfortunately neither Franco Pellizotti or Vincenzo Nibali were able to take advantage.
Wegelius was dropped after giving his all and finished the stage in 65th place, 21-12. All the other British riders finished in the main gruppetto at 35-17.
Mark Cavendish (High Road) again used a compact SRM chainset on the climbs and finished 123rd. He is now likely to continue in the Giro and perhaps go all the way to Milan.
Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) celebrated his 22nd birthday suffering in the Dolomites. He was 104th, just behind team mate Steve Cummings, who was 99th, but was happy to survive another day in one of the hardest editions of the Giro d’Italia for years. David Millar (Slipstream) was 119th and Bradley Wiggins (High Road) was 141st.
Britain’s Charly Wegelius set a high pace in the mountains
Emanuele Sella does a rare mountains double: winning two consecutive stages in the Dolomites
Albert Contador takes the race lead
All photos by Graham Watson
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage
Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule