Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani) was the winner on an eventful stage 14 at the Giro d’Italia.
Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) held onto the pink jersey, but lost a handful of time to most of his closest rivals.
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Battaglin was one of the riders to have formed the day’s first breakaway, but didn’t look in contention for the win until the final 500 metres. Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) had attacked the group on the previous descent and led for much of the climb, but was caught with two kilometres to go by Dario Cataldo (Sky) and Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia).
This duo then attacked each other but could not be separated, and a subsequent decrease in pace allowed Timmer, Jan Polanc (Lampre) and – just 500 metres from the finish – Battaglin.
The sprint was a nip and tuck affair, with Pantao and then Cataldo looking as though they would win, before Battaglin came from several bike-lengths behind to pass them both on the line. The win is his second in the Giro, having won stage four of last year’s Giro.
Earlier still, on the stage’s penultimate climb, Nicholas Roche had gone for glory with a solo attack from the break, but was caught on the descent and could only finish fifth.
It was a significant day in the pink jersey to, with Uran being exposed after a peerless display yesterday. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r) attacked with just under four kilometres to go, and only Nairo Quintana (Movistar) could follow. The pair worked together well, and ultimately put a few seconds into GC rivals Fabio Aru (Astana), Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), and over twenty seconds into a visibly spent Uran.
Uran was so tired that he was unable to sprint to the line, allowing Cadel Evans (BMC) – who also failed to go with the attacks – to put five seconds into him, and move just 32 seconds behind him in the overall.
Pozzovivo and Quintana’s move also saw them finish just a handful of seconds behind Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar), who had both launched an attack on the penultimate climb in an attempt to gain some time and move up the GC. They both have indeed moved up slightly, but will have wanted a bigger gap for a more significant a reward for their efforts.
Tomorrow’s stage includes another mountain top finish. Given Uran’s relatively weak ride today, the favourites may sense another opportunity to put yet more time into him.
Giro d’Italia 2014, stage 14: Aglie-Oropa, 162km
1. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF 4-34-41
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at st
3. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia at 7 secs
4. Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida at 17 secs
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 22 secs
6. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 26 secs
7. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 28 secs
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 33 secs
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 39 secs
10. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEdge at 54 secs
Overall Classification after stage 14
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep in 57-52-51
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 32 secs
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-35
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale at 2-11
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2-33
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3-04
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3-16
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 4-01
9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5-07
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 5-13