Things are getting ready to happen at this Giro d’Italia. But not yet.
The sight of Jumbo-Visma‘s butter-yellow jerseys massed at the front of the peloton on the climb to Roncola Alta briefly suggested that the finale to stage 15 might create some flutters among the overall contenders, but the moment quietly passed.
Later, were some frissons on the short, cobbled climb to Bergamo Alta in the finale, where Primož Roglič was careful to keep a tight rein on the forcing of UAE Team Emirates leader João Almeida, but the pink jersey contenders would all descend together to the finish on Viale Roma. Another stalemate.
Outside the Jumbo-Visma bus afterwards, a RAI television reporter waited for a signal in his earpiece before launching into a brief inquisition of team directeur sportif Marc Reef, broadcast live to the nation.
“The people are waiting on Primož Roglič,” he announced grandly.
Reef smiled politely in response. “Yes, I can understand,” he said. “And I think that we will see a nice Primož Roglič in the third week.” And back to the studio.
Roglič will undoubtedly be satisfied with the lie of the land as the Giro breaks for its second and final rest day. The Slovenian lies third overall, 1:10 behind Groupama-FDJ’s maglia rosa Bruno Armirail and, more importantly, just two seconds behind his key rival Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers. The situation is a reassuring one, both in light of the long road ahead in the final week and the rocky path travelled by Roglič and Jumbo-Visma to this point.
“We didn’t have to spend a lot of energy yet,” Reef told reporters after the live television interlude. “We took the initiative one time on stage 8 to Fossombrone, and Primož showed there that he was strong. And now it’s just waiting for the moment.
“So yes, we are content with how it is at the moment, the GC guys are still close together. We are two seconds away from Thomas and everything is ok for the moment.”
At the start in a rainy Seregno on Sunday morning, Roglič had suggested that the rugged stage would see skirmishes among the general classification contenders.
In theory, the terrain was there on a course that was presented as a sort of miniature version of the season-closing Monument, Il Lombardia. In practice, the long valleys between the climbs and the short gaps between the GC contenders ensured…
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