By Jonny Long
Filippo Ganna dominated the stage 14 individual time trial at the Giro d'Italia, beating team-mate Rohan Dennis by 26 seconds to take his third and Ineos' fourth stage victory of this Italian Grand Tour.
The Italian world time trial champion looked peerless in the race against the clock, as UAE Team Emirates' Brandon McNulty moved up to fourth on GC with a strong third-place finish on the stage, 1-09 down on Ganna.
João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) extended his race lead with a sixth-place finish, 1-31 down, taking 16 seconds out of the man behind him in the overall classification, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), who came ninth on the day.
As for the other GC contenders, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) had a better time than in the opening day's race against the clock, finishing 50 seconds slower than Kelderman. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) and Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) were 16 and 17 seconds further back respectively, soon followed by Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT) and then Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
Almeida extends his lead over Kelderman to 56 seconds, then Pello Bilbao in third, 2-11 back, with Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) up to fourth. The young American, Nibali, Majka and Pozzovivo all now within 20 seconds of the podium.
How it happened
The stage 14 individual time trial was a lengthier prospect than the opening race against the clock, a 34.1km undulating course to test the GC contenders at the end of the second week before the big mountain day on stage 15.
Israel Start-Up Nation's Alex Dowsett and Matthias Brändle, who had teamed up in the breakaway to deliver victory on stage eight, were among the early starters, as UAE Team Emirates' Juan Sebastián Molano suffered a nasty-looking crash into a roadside banner as he sped around a bend.
Brändle finished in 45-23, six seconds faster than Dowsett, to set the early benchmark, before Rohan Dennis (Ineos) set off and went through the first time check 22 seconds quicker than the early best time.
Hour-record holder Victor Campenaerts (NTT) then came through with a new fastest time of 44-46, as Ganna rolled out of the start hut and went slightly faster than his Australian team-mate at the top of the climb for the first time check.
Josef Černy (CCC) then beat Campenaerts' best effort, but didn't hold the provisional lead for long as Rohan Dennis came across the finish line in 43-06. Not long after he had arrived in the hot seat, his Italian team-mate then went five seconds faster at the second time check, before extending that advantage to nearly 18 seconds at the third stop of the watch.
Ganna was storming past riders who had set off earlier than him, Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabù - KTM) and Chad Haga (Sunweb) among the five men who were left in his wake.
Across the line, Ganna had broken the 43-minute barrier, setting a blistering time of 42-40 that was unlikely to be beaten, with the GC guys still waiting to start.
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) then put in a respectable performance that delivered him provisional third place, as Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) found himself going well, only five seconds down on Ganna at the first time check, his losses holding as the went through the second having only lost an additional 10 seconds to the world TT champion.
The American, 11th overall at the start of the day, was proving the strongest of the riders ahead of him in the GC by the first time check, gaining 24 seconds on Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) 35 seconds in arrears and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) shipping 47.
Meanwhile. second-place Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and race leader João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) were underway, and by the second time check the GC winners and losers of the day were becoming clearer.
Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) were faring a lot better than the rest of the top 10 on GC, having shipped only 26 and 13 seconds to McNulty respectively.
Kelderman was reducing his deficit to Almeida by the third time check, to within four seconds, but by the finish line Almeida had powered through to take 16 seconds out of the Dutchman and move his lead out to nearly a minute.
McNulty's third place on the stage, a minute slower than Ganna and 22 seconds quicker than Almeida, moved him up to fourth on GC, 12 seconds behind Bilbao, as Nibali, Majka and Pozzovivo all found themselves bunched up a further 10 seconds back.
Giro d'Italia 2020, stage 14: Conegliano to Valdobbiadene (34.1km - ITT)
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 42-40
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 26 seconds
3. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-09
4. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 1-11
5. Josef Černy (Cze) CCC, at 1-16
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 1-31
7. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Pro Cycling, at 1-33
8. Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-44
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb, at 1-47
10. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-McLaren, at 2-00
16. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-37
22. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 2-53
23. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 2-54
27. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT, at 3-01
29. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 3-13
General classification after stage 14
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 54-28-09
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb, at 56 seconds
3. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 2-11
4. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-23
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 2-30
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-33
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT, at same time
8. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 3-11
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 3-17
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb, at 3-33
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Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
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