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Roglic took a big win in the 40km rolling time trial through Chianti. Brambilla had to fend off his teammate Bob Jungels, which he did by one second to keep Pink. They have a big gap on GC.

Photo: Team LottoNL-Jumbo

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GIANLUCA BRAMBILLA

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PRIMOZ ROGLIC

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15.05.2016 @ 17:22 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Primoz Roglic showed he can be one of the best time triallists in the world after he took a big win in the Giro’s 40km rolling time trial through the Chianti region. The big action came behind, as Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) looked poised to take pink from Etixx-QuickStep’s Gianluca Brambilla. The Russian had a mechanical and two crashes and fell away from the hunt for pink today. In the end Brambilla had to fend off his teammate Bob Jungels, which he did by one second to keep Pink.

 

A lot of the TT specialists were either off very early or one of the last starters to go on the technical 40km time trial through wine country in Chianti. Matthias Brandle of IAM was the fastest of the early starters, taking a huge 1:24 off notable tester Jack Bobridge’s (Trek) time and he would spend a long time on the hot seat.

 

The time trial was made even harder by the arrival of rain well before any rider had finished. Meanwhile, two good testers, Cancellara and Katusha’s Anton Vorobyev had gone through the first check just 13 and 11 seconds behind Brandle.

 

Brandle was the first rider home with a time of 51:55. Vorobyev and Cancellara were losing more time to the Austrian, down 15 and 20 seconds respectively at check two. At this point, Brandle’s teammate Vegard Stake Laengen went fastest at check one but he soon faded. Primoz Roglic of LottoN;-Jumbo, third on the opening TT, was just 14 down on Brandle at check two.

 

Cancellara was clearly still recovering from his illness, but recovered well to go from 29 seconds down on Brandle at check three to finish just 18 seconds behind at the finish line, posting the second fastest time. The next batch of good testers to start were Giant-Alpecin’s Chad Haga, who went well in the opening stage and Jos Van Emden of LottoNL, who was a favourite for stage one but crashed, and Ignatas Konovalovas of FDJ, who won a TT in the 2009 Giro, beating Bradley Wiggins. Meanwhile, Vorobyev finished 20 seconds back on Brandle to go third. After a bad second sector, Laengen got himself together once more and crossed the finish line just seven seconds behind Brandle to go second fastest. Meanwhile, the rain had now stopped.

 

One of the big favourites for the stage was BMC’s Stefan Kung. He was active in the stage seven break and looked really strong. He had suffered the same fate as Van Emden, crashing in the opening TT. Kung opted for the unusual combo of no aero over shoes, and no socks either, just wearing his normal race shoes. Then it was two home favourites, Tinkoff’s Manuele Boaro and Moreno Moser, fifth on stage one, of Cannondale. Swede Tobias Ludvigsson, fourth on day one and a previous wearer of the White Jersey was also due to start. The final big names set off at the one interval markers were Ludvigsson’s teammate Georg Priedler and stage four winner Diego Ulissi. This signalled the GC battle commencing, but things would be made hard as the rain had returned.

 

Roglic, second on day one by less than a second, proved he is a great time triallist and last Friday was no fluke when he went fastest at the finish, beating Brandle’s time by ten seconds. Meanwhile, Haga was not able to replicate his stage one performance and Van Emden could only manage sixth, over a minute behind his teammate Roglic. At the first check, the rain was absolutely hammering down and this tipped the stage into the balance of Roglic. 

 

Despite his unorthodox shoe choice, Kung had survived the wet first part of the course and was just 15 seconds down at check one and was heading onto dry roads. However, he began to lose out and was 33 seconds down at check two. Ludvigsson was also looking good, catching his minute man less than 20 minutes into the TT.

 

With the start of Gazprom-Rusvelo’s Sergey Firsanov, this signalled the riders who were setting off at three minute intervals. Meanwhile, Kung was very disappointed to just take sixth at the finish line, but he was heavily hampered by the rain. Ludvigsson had now caught his two minute man, Valerio Agnoli (Astana). Favourites for the stage Andrey Amador (Movistar), Bob Jungels (Etixx) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) had no started, while Mikel Landa (Sky) signalled the beginning of the top ten riders on GC starting their race against the clock.

 

Boaro stopped the clock 1:31 behind Roglic, good enough for provisional ninth. Jungels was making light work of the course, coming across the first check just one second behind Laengen despite riding in much wetter conditions. Despite collecting lots of riders on the course, Ludvigsson finished almost 2:30 down on Roglic. Amador, a very good descender in the wet, went fastest at check one, knocking six seconds off Laengen’s time.

 

Four GC contenders who could challenge for the stage, Rigo Uran (Cannondale) Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) were now on the road. Pink Jersey Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep) was the last rider to leave the start ramp. Dumoulin had come across the first check 15 seconds down on Amador. Landa had started well for a rider who time trials like he does, coming in just 31 seconds down to Amador at check one. Jungels was now 15 seconds down at the second check.

 

Meanwhile, it had started to rain at the finish and already riders were falling off at the final corner, a hairpin bend with lots of white lines on it, which would severely hold up many of the riders left to finish. Despite clearly taking risks, Amador was 25 seconds down at the second check. Dumoulin was 50 seconds down at check two while Uran had lost a lot of time at the first check. Chaves was 44 seconds down at check one.

 

Landa was clearly confident in the rain, 1:05 behind Roglic’s time and just 15 seconds behind Dumoulin at the second check. Hesjedal was the first GC contender to finish, almost three minutes down on Roglic. Nibali was looking good at check one, just 25 seconds behind Amador. Majka was struggling at the second check while Kruijswijk was up there with the likes of Valverde at check one. Uran was almost two minutes down at check two.

 

The rain really hampered Jungels, as he finished sixth provisionally, just 45 seconds behind Roglic, who at this point looked guaranteed to win the stage. Brambilla was 44 seconds behind at check one. Amador also faded towards the end of the TT, finishing provisionally in tenth, 1:19 behind Roglic. Meanwhile Nibali was looking imperious, just 59 seconds down at check two and only losing nine seconds to Dumoulin. Valverde was also strong, two seconds clear of Nibali at check two.

 

Dumoulin was clearly not on his best day, finishing 1:58 behind Roglic in 15th. Zakari, who was already the provisional maglia rosa after the first check, was the best of the GC men at check two, only 55 seconds down. Landa was very ginger round the final corner, but was a fantastic 2:20 behind Roglic in provisional 18th. 

 

Disaster for Zakarin arrived in the form of a mechanical, but he did a very quick bike change and was back on almost before the cameras could catch him. Brambilla was 27 seconds behind him at check two. Pozzoivo lost 3:39 at the finish line. Landa’s great time was emphasised when Nibali was slower than the Basque rider at check three. Valverde was nine seconds behind Landa at the same check.

 

Zakarin’s day got worse as he fell on a corner, and he had to change his bike again. Uran had a similarly bad day, finishing 4:12 down on Roglic.  Uran’s compatriot Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) had started really well but faded, finishing 3:48 down on Roglic. Nibali powered along the course to take 18th provisionally, 2:13 behind Roglic. Kruijswijk was looking good, up on Valverde and Nibali at check three. 

 

Valverde was next to finish, just a little slower than Nibali, coming across the line in 20th, 2:24 down and behind Landa. Kruijswijk was next to finish, one second clear of Valverde and in 20th place. Zakarin crashed again in the final corner and this really ended his chance on the stage. He finished 3:51 behind Roglic. Brambilla did fantastically, taking 17th, just 2:05 behind Primoz Roglic.

 

Roglic won the stage but no one really focussed on him as everyone was wondering if Brambilla had held on to Pink. He duly obliged, holding off teammate Bob Jungels by just one second. Third overall was Amador, who was 32 seconds down. The rest of the top ten on GC is as follows: Kruijswijk (+51), Nibali (+53), Valverde (+55), Dumoulin (+58), Landa, (+1:18), Majka (+1:45) and Fuglsang (+1:51).

 

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