Dutchman extends his overall lead towards three minutes
The third week of this Giro d’Italia was meant to be a battle between Dumoulin and Quintana, with Dutchman trying to limit his losses, but after the first Alpine stage the Team Sunweb rider now finds himself with an extended lead of nearly three minutes.
As expected, the summit finish to Oropa saw an attack from Quintana with three kilometres remaining, a stinging acceleration that was enough to distance all of his rivals.
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) were dropped, but Dumoulin was slowly but surely able to claw his way back on to the Colombian’s wheel, making the junction with two kilometres to the line.
From there many would have expected the Dutchman to ride defensively, but instead he attacked, briefly putting Quintana in trouble.
However the Movistar rider made his way back onto Dumoulin’s wheel, bringing Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) along with him, meaning there would be four riders contesting the stage win.
Dumoulin led them into the final 300m, when Zakarin burst for the line. Dumoulin quickly jumped onto the Russian’s wheel, while Quintana, suffering from his early efforts, was distanced.
As the road turned left into the finishing straight it was a two-horse race between Zakarin and the pink jersey, and in the final 150m the former faded, allowing Dumoulin to come around the right-hand side to take a famous stage win and tighten his grip on the pink jersey.
How it happened
The shortest road stage of the Giro d’Italia, stage 14 saw the riders tackle just 131km from Castellania to Oropa. There was plenty of early action as a large number of riders fought to make it into the break.
That meant a fast start to the stage, with 53km being covered in the first half hour before Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data) was finally able to get away, with Sergey Lagutin (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Daniel Martinez (Wilier Triestina) jumping across to form a three-man escape group.
The GC teams seemed happy with that break, with FDJ and Movistar, looking after Thibaut Pinot and Nairo Quintana respectively, content to take control of the front of the peloton while Team Sunweb and Tom Dumoulin sat a little further back.
With a short stage and a tailwind all the way to the finish, the breakaway was kept on a short leash, holding a gap of 1-30 for much of the stage as the race made its way across the Po Valley.
The stage featured lots of long, straight roads meaning that the break was often within sight of the peloton, making it easy for them to judge to chase, and the catch was duly with 17.5km remaining, signalling the start of the racing proper.
Trek-Segafredo led the charge on to the climb with Jasper Stuyven putting Bauke Mollema into a perfect position while the rest of the general classification contenders were content to sit a little further back.
With 10km to go the first attack came from Diego Rosa (Team Sky), following a couple of Movistar riders who unintentionally rode off the front of the bunch before sitting up and waiting for Quintana.
Rosa quickly took around 15 seconds, but this started to fall as soon as the road really ramped up with seven kilometres to go, and Rosa was soon back in the Movistar-led peloton.
The next attack came from Igor Anton (Dimension Data), the veteran Basque climber looking to add a second Giro stage win to his one on the Zoncolon in 2014.
But Anton’s attack was short-lived as Ilnur Zakarin, 10th at the start of the day, launched the first attack from the GC contenders. The move wasn’t enough for Zakarin to open a gap, but did see Andrey Amador (Movistar) spat out of the back.
Zakarin’s attack neutralised Movistar moved back to the front with Winner Anacona, the Colombian now leading a front group of just 15 riders.
With 4.3km the next attack came from Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), the man from Bury raising the pace which put more riders in trouble including Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) and Mollema.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) went over the top of Yates, but the crucial move came from Quintana who moved across to Pozzovivo, then went clear with Zakarin.
The searing pace was enough to see off Thibaut Pinot, and the pink jersey of Dumoulin was also distanced before the Dutchman started to work his way back up to the leaders.
But before he was able to make the junction Quintana went again, this time going solo and setting off in search of the stage win with 3.3km to go.
The Colombian quickly opened a gap of 10 seconds, but Dumoulin was happy to work on the front of the chasers, followed by Nibali, Zakarin, Landa, and Yates.
With two kilometres to go the road once again ramped up to more than 10 per cent, the huge crowds lining the side of the road witnessing Dumoulin winching his way back onto Colombian’s wheel.
That left a four man group of Dumoulin, Quintana, Landa, and Zakarin to contest the win in the final kilometre.
With 250m Zakarin launched his acceleration to the line, a move that was followed by Dumoulin, but not by Landa nor Quintana, who could do nothing to follow and had to be content with limiting his losses on the cobbled final few hundred metres to the line.
Dumoulin, meanwhile, remained locked on Zakarin’s wheel, and as the Russian started to fade in the final 100m he surged around the outside, crossing the line with a comprehensive margin of victory to tighten his grip on the pink jersey.
Quintana came home 14 seconds behind Dumoulin, meaning the Dutchman’s advantage now sits at 2-47, while Thibaut Pinot paced himself well over the final few kilometres, limiting his losses to 35 seconds and moving up to third overall as Mollema lost nearly two minutes to slip down to sixth.
The 2017 Giro d’Italia continues on Sunday with a 199km stage from Valdengo to Bergamo.
Giro d’Italia 2017, stage 14: Castellania to Oropa (131km)
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 3-02-03
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 3 secs
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 9 secs
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team, at 14 secs
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 35 secs
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 41 secs
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 43 secs
8. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at same time
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo, at 46 secs
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, at same time
General classification after stage 14
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 59-31-17
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 2-47
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 3-25
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 3-40
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 4-24
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 4-32
7. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team, at 4-55
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 4-59
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors, at 5-28
10. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team, at 5-36