Live Coverage of Giro d'Italia - Stage 16

Race overview:

Distance: 174km

Start Location: Pinzolo

End Location: Aprica

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia from Pinzolo to Aprica.

Live commentary by Daniel Benson

  1. 18:20:03 CEST

    Thanks for joining us today. You can find our complete report, images and full results right here. We'll be back tomorrow with stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia.. Catch you then.

  2. 18:18:37 CEST

    What an incredible stage. We've seen Contador on the ropes after Katusha and Astana put the hammer down. The Spaniard fought back and then cracked Aru before Landa claimed a second stage win of the race.

  3. 18:07:31 CEST

    Bobby can you really see Landa challenging Contador?

    Julich: Well, he is the biggest threat and seems to be on the form of his life. If he really had major GC aspirations, I would have thought that he would have driven it all the way to the line today. He slowed up there at the end during his victory salute, which he deserved, but could have waited until after he crossed the finish. When you see Alberto snatch up those 2 bonus seconds the other day and Landa loose 5 seconds during his celebration today, you can start to see the difference in their focus. Remember, GTs have been lost by seconds in the past!

  4. 18:06:01 CEST

    1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 65:04:59
    2 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:04:02
    3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:52
    4 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:05:48
    5 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:08:27
    6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:09:21
    7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:09:52
    8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:11:40
    9 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:12:48
    10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:12:49

  5. 18:02:20 CEST

    Julich: That was another epic stage. Seems like there is going to be some drama unfolding this last week. Contador put on a classy performance, but Landa made a huge impression on the race.

  6. 18:01:01 CEST

    1 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 5:02:53
    2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:38
    3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
    4 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:03
    5 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team
    6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:10
    7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:51
    8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:03:18
    9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:03:19
    10 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
     

  7. 17:55:33 CEST

    Here comes Konig, Betancur, Caruso and Geniez, at 3'21.

  8. 17:55:06 CEST

    Here comes Aru, he's giving it everything, right up until the finish line. Aru 2'50 down at the line and Landa is up to second.

  9. 17:54:15 CEST

    Here comes  Amador and Trofimov, Hesjedal a little further back. The time gap to them is two minutes.

  10. 17:53:03 CEST

    Contador wants second place but Kruijswijk comes over the top and takes second. Contador has to settle for third, around 40 seconds down at the finish.

  11. 17:52:03 CEST

    Landa takes the stage. His second of the race, Astana's third.

  12. 17:51:38 CEST

    Julich: Landa has for sure shown that he is the most dangerous to Alberto this final week! To open such a big gap so quick is quite impressive.

  13. 17:51:20 CEST

    And Contador has a new rival in town.

  14. 17:50:58 CEST

    Landa will take second overall from Aru today and he'll take his second stage of the race.

  15. 17:50:31 CEST

    But Aru has drifted out to 2'33.

  16. 17:50:02 CEST

    Landa has 30 seconds on Contador according to race radio.

  17. 17:49:28 CEST

    Landa has around 15-20 seconds on the two chasers with 2km to go.

  18. 17:49:08 CEST

    Julich: It has to be hard for Aru to hear this information through his earpiece.

  19. 17:48:57 CEST

    Contador and Kruijswijk are sharing the pace but Landa has the gap he needs with 2.3km to go.

  20. 17:48:26 CEST

    Julich: Very surprised to see Landa attacking so early. This will allow Alberto to take more time on Aru. I think that he would have been the favourite for the stage if he just sat on the wheels, but obviously the leadership at Astana has changed.

  21. 17:47:38 CEST

    Landa has the gap and he looks set to take a stage win today. Contador just didnt have the legs to close that gap.

  22. 17:46:55 CEST

    3.7km to go and Landa is on course to move into second overall.

  23. 17:46:36 CEST

    And Landa has a gap on Contador and Kruijswijk.

  24. 17:46:03 CEST

    And now Landa attacks with 4km to go and Contador has to chase.

  25. 17:45:45 CEST

    Landa closes the gap and Contador follows.

  26. 17:45:14 CEST

    Up ahead and Kruijswijk opens up a bit of a gap.

  27. 17:44:56 CEST

    Aru is now 40 seconds down on the Amador group.

  28. 17:44:35 CEST

    Now Contador drifts back behind Landa. Is he about to attack?

  29. 17:43:52 CEST

    Contador takes over on the front as he looks to put more and more time into Aru. The Italian is now losing ground on the second group on the road.

  30. 17:42:13 CEST

    The road kicks up once more as Kruijswijk sets the pace for the leaders. Just 6.9km to go.

  31. 17:41:38 CEST

    Amador is slipping off the podium at this rate with Landa in provisional third place.

  32. 17:38:36 CEST

    The gaps are holding and no one can really make any inroads at the moment. Aru needs to close that gap on the first chase group though as the road does ease up towards the finish.

  33. 17:37:54 CEST

    Julich: This final climb may not be the most difficult on paper, but it just seems to go on forever and at this stage of the race, with the accumulated fatigue setting in, is just as hard any climb they do.

  34. 17:36:02 CEST

    10km remaining from 174km

    Inside the final 10km of racing and Contador has Aru at 1'40.

  35. 17:34:44 CEST

    Julich: Just realised that before I said that this stage was in 2005, but it was in fact 2006 that Ivan Basso won and dropped Simoni. Quite the war of words between those 2 riders after that. I remember that Ivan took out a photo of his new born son and showed it to the crowd as he crossed the line. Cycling is a brutal sport, but at times this you realise how beautiful it can be as well.

  36. 17:34:16 CEST

    Landa drops back to the Astana team car for and has his saddle adjusted. As things stand Aru is keeping second place by around 20 seconds.

  37. 17:32:36 CEST

    Aru is holding the leaders at 1'48 but there's still 11.3km to go.

  38. 17:32:05 CEST

    Aru is about twenty seconds down on the Hesjedal group. He cant think about Contador yet and just needs to close the gap to the group just ahead as we see Contador set the pace.

  39. 17:31:12 CEST

    Julich: Aru has to settle in and give everything that he has left on this last climb. Time to show the “grinta” that the Italian fans love to see in their riders.

  40. 17:30:40 CEST

    Aru could drop into third by the end of today as Aru tries to close the gap to the Hesjedal group.

  41. 17:29:56 CEST

    And Aru is climbing and he's started to lose time again with the gap moving out to 1'55.

  42. 17:29:32 CEST

    Julich: Seeing how Trofimov was descending at the top, I am surprised that he didn’t close the gap to the leaders. Perhaps he overshot one of the turns at the bottom?

  43. 17:29:05 CEST

    Kruijswijk is on the front, Contador on his wheel and Landa marking his fellow Spaniard.

  44. 17:28:32 CEST

    As we see Trofimov joined by Amador and Hesjedal, 12.6km to go.

  45. 17:27:59 CEST

    Landa must try and go for the stage win and try and save Astana's day. Contador will want the stage as he's not taken one yet, and  Kruijswijk will of course want to take the win. No gifts today, that's for certain.

  46. 17:26:44 CEST

    The climb is about to start, and the gradient is at its toughest near this point. The leading trio have 1'15 on Trofimov, Arus at 1'44.

  47. 17:25:55 CEST

    Julich: Refueling properly is very important. Something as simple as a dropped bottle can have major impact on performance.

  48. 17:25:19 CEST

    Trofimov is losing time too and is now one minute down on the leaders. Hesjedal is now with Amador.

  49. 17:24:51 CEST

    Aru now 1'48 with the final climb still to come.

  50. 17:23:29 CEST

    Julich: Aru just changed bikes, but he made a mistake… He didn’t take his bottle with him and now will have to finish the race with nothing to drink since he is inside 20km to go. Young riders pay attention to these details even under stressful situations.

  51. 17:21:42 CEST

    He loses a few seconds and most importantly, Amador's rear wheel.

  52. 17:21:12 CEST

    And Aru has a mechanical. He needs a new bike.

  53. 17:20:39 CEST

    Julich: Heading into the final climb, the first part is a bit steep and then it is just a long drag to the line. I think that we could see many of the riders dropped on the Mortirolo gaining back time on this sort of climb unless someone in the front really commits all the way to the line. With the stage win and GC placings up for grabs, I think that we will see a lot of probing attacks.

  54. 17:19:58 CEST

    Trofimov is at 34 seconds with 20km to go as Amador leads Aru on the descent a little further back. No time gaps on Hesjedal or Konig for that matter.

  55. 17:18:11 CEST

    Aru has taken back around 30 seconds on the descent but we still have the climb to Aprica to come. Into the final 21km of a pulsating stage.

  56. 17:16:42 CEST

    Julich: For me, watching these guys go down descents is the most stressful part of the day!

  57. 17:15:12 CEST

    Amador and Aru are pulling back time and they have the three leaders at 1'30.

  58. 17:13:21 CEST

    Trofimov should catch the leaders, he has them at 34 seconds on the descent and he's cutting through the corners perfectly.

  59. 17:11:24 CEST

    27km remaining from 174km

    Trofimov has dropped Hesjedal on the descent - they were the second group on the road at the top of the Mortirolo.

  60. 17:10:20 CEST

    Aru is back with Amador on the descent and he's taken a few seconds back on the three leaders. Contador is leading the trio but he's not taking any risks. He doesn't really have to and the rain is falling.

  61. 17:09:35 CEST

    Julich: I wouldn’t expect Alberto to take any risks on the descent but wants to take it from the front to make sure that he can choose his own line.

  62. 17:05:32 CEST

    Contador leads on the descent and Aru is at 1'49 but still not at the top of the Mortirolo.

  63. 17:05:03 CEST

    Aru's Giro is in tatters at this moment in time. If he had anything left he would have used it by now. The leaders go over the top of the climb.

  64. 17:03:28 CEST

    33km remaining from 174km

    And Amador has dropped Aru. 33km to go.

  65. 17:03:11 CEST

    Kruijswijk has been doing a fantastic job and has been setting the pace for nearly half the climb. He will lead the trio over the top of the climb.

  66. 17:02:20 CEST

    Now's it 1'46 for Aru. The wheels have really fallen off for the Italian. I think he's been caught by Amador.

  67. 17:01:43 CEST

    Julich: It is now up to Kruijswijk to make the difference because he is the one that can profit the most from the current situation. The final climb to Aprica will see the gloves come off and expect to see more action from Alberto. I am sure that Alberto isn’t happy about how that gap was initially formed and what better way to respond than to do what he did and WIN the stage!

  68. 17:00:55 CEST

    Closing in on the top of the climb and Contador takes on a gel. There's snow starting to fall as Hesjedal leads Trofimov.

  69. 16:59:35 CEST

    Aru is slipping and he could be off out of second place at the end of the day. He's at 1'24. No sign of Amador though.

  70. 16:58:46 CEST

    Julich: Lets just hope for a nice and safe descent here for all the riders.

  71. 16:58:07 CEST

    Julich: Great to see Kruijswijk looking so good in the high mountains during the 3rd week of the Giro! Big talent!

  72. 16:56:41 CEST

    Another few seconds to the leaders, and the gap is back out to 1'05 as Aru takes on a 9 per cent section.

  73. 16:54:57 CEST

    Aru pulls back a couple of seconds but there's still a huge amount of work to do.

  74. 16:54:18 CEST

    Julich: I am very impressed and years from now we could look back at this moment as one of the most impressive efforts of all time. Hasn’t sunk in quite yet and still a long way to go to the finish, but have a feeling we will be talking about this for a long time.

  75. 16:53:52 CEST

    Just under 3km to go for the leaders on the climb.

  76. 16:53:18 CEST

    Over a minute now for Aru to make up and he's even losing time to Hesjedal and Trofimov.

  77. 16:51:50 CEST

    Julich: This is not the type of climb where you will gain a big advantage from sitting on a wheel, so it really is mano a mano for all the riders on the climb.

  78. 16:51:33 CEST

    Kruijswijk still on the front, with Hesjedal and Trofimov at 35 seconds. Aru is at 56 seconds. That's not the end of the world but it's not looking good for the Italian.

  79. 16:49:57 CEST

    And it's Kruijswijk who sets the pace for the leading trio. No time gaps at the moment but Aru is over 30 seconds down as Hesjedal links up with Trofimov.

  80. 16:48:35 CEST

    Bobby, should Landa have waited? 

     

    Julich: He doesn’t have a choice actually. Not the popular choice, but in this situation, Landa waiting for Aru wouldn’t have done anything but removed another Astana rider from the top GC positions.

  81. 16:47:30 CEST

    Contador will not attack. He'll want the Lotto rider with him on the descent in order to help put more time into Aru.

  82. 16:47:02 CEST

    37km remaining from 174km

    And now Hesjedal drops Aru. The Italian is falling apart and we still have 37km to go.

  83. 16:46:13 CEST

    Julich: Aru has to show the same class and poise that Alberto just showed if he wants to survive this stage with his podium aspirations in tact.

  84. 16:45:29 CEST

    Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) is having his best day on a bike though and he's holding Landa and Contador. We've still got 38km to go.

  85. 16:44:24 CEST

    And now Trofimov attacks Aru. The Italian is in a world of pain and he's not got a teammate with him. Hesjedal is coming over to Aru now.

  86. 16:42:54 CEST

    Julich: What started out as advantage Aru, has quickly changed to a massive disadvantage for him. We could be witnessing a change of leadership at Astana. Didn’t see this one coming at this moment of the race.

  87. 16:42:39 CEST

    Aru is starting to struggle even more though and Landa looks around for his leader but he's not there. 5km from the summit but the gap is 17 seconds.

  88. 16:41:09 CEST

    Kruijswijk is with Contador and Landa. The Lotto rider has been excellent since the first week.

  89. 16:40:29 CEST

    It wasnt a huge attack from Contador but it was enough to drop Aru, but the Italian is coming back slowly on the climb.

  90. 16:39:55 CEST

    Julich: Aru suffering could be the saving grace for Alberto here. What will Astana do now since Landa is riding like a motorbike? Alberto is simply….Alberto…AMAZING!

  91. 16:39:17 CEST

    Trofimov is with Aru but he can't help him.

  92. 16:38:55 CEST

    Landa responds and will just sit on Contador's wheel. No waiting for Aru.

  93. 16:38:35 CEST

    And Contador makes the catch. And he attacks. Superb from Contador. He's attacked and Aru has cracked.

  94. 16:38:07 CEST

    And Contador is about to close the gap. 40km to and he's just a few seconds off Landa, Aru and Kruijswijk

  95. 16:37:06 CEST

    Contador out of the saddle for most of the climb as he takes on some of the most difficult parts of the climb.

  96. 16:36:12 CEST

    The gap though has moved back out to 42 seconds between the pink and white jerseys.

  97. 16:35:48 CEST

    Chasing we have Hesjedal, Trofimov and Contador.

  98. 16:35:31 CEST

    What will Landa do?

  99. 16:35:18 CEST

    Aru has drifted to the back of the leading trio and he's really cracking. He's all over the road and that will spur Contador on. And Contador is about to catch Trofimov.

  100. 16:34:24 CEST

    Julich: This is where Alberto has to use his massive experience in GTs and peg this gap back at his own pace. Many riders would be in full panic mode, but don’t sense that with Alberto. Experience counts just as much as legs in these situations!

  101. 16:34:08 CEST

    And Landa has to slow. Aru is in pain and Kruijswijk is looking good in that trio.

  102. 16:33:39 CEST

    Is Landa about to drop Aru? The white jersey is cracking as we see Contador pass and drop Konig.

  103. 16:33:08 CEST

    And Contador goes again. He moves ahead of Amador, and Geniez. The gap is down to 27 seconds as we hit 18 per cent pitches.

  104. 16:32:22 CEST

    And Anton and Contador catch another group that includes Amador. Anton may need to stop helping Contador and help his teammate.

  105. 16:31:29 CEST

    All those favours handed out over the years will need to be called in today as Anton helps Contador and the gap drops to 31 seconds.

  106. 16:30:24 CEST

    Anton is helping Contador, the gap still at 42 seconds with 42 km to go.

  107. 16:29:57 CEST

    Julich; Landa looks strong, but doesn’t look like Aru is on his best day. I don’t think that anyone expected a TT up this climb, but that is what is it starting to look like now.

  108. 16:29:39 CEST

    We see Konig now, who has cracked with 42km to go. The Sky rider couldnt live with the Astana pace.

  109. 16:29:09 CEST

    And Anton is just ahead of Contador. Will he help his fellow Spaniard?

  110. 16:28:21 CEST

    The gap to Contador keeps jumping between 33 and 45 seconds and Trofimov is starting to suffer.

  111. 16:27:51 CEST

    Up ahead it's Landa, Aru, Trofimov and Kruijswijk.

  112. 16:27:17 CEST

    The gap is still holding at 40 seconds.

  113. 16:27:02 CEST

    Contador is finding a few friends out on the road who help pace him on the climb. He deserves that to be honest given that he was attacked on a descent when he had a mechanical.

  114. 16:26:22 CEST

    Julich: If there is one person that could do this sort of effort, it is Alberto but don’t think anyone saw this situation panning out this way. Bike racing is brutal and unforgiving!!

  115. 16:26:13 CEST

    It's at 40 seconds as Contador continues to cut through groups.

  116. 16:25:12 CEST

    The gap is at 38 seconds at 9.4 per cent.

  117. 16:24:51 CEST

    Out of the saddle, this is a massive test for Contador and Aru just has Landa left. Are we about to see Contador's finest ever ride?

  118. 16:24:21 CEST

    And Contador attacks from his group and drop everyone including Uran. Contador is cutting through the groups on the road. The gap at 38 seconds.

  119. 16:23:38 CEST

    Julich: It is going to take a monumental effort to close this gap at the bottom (!) of the Mortirolo. He has to go full but under control. Astana going full gas on the front and this could be a massive turning point in the race.

  120. 16:23:22 CEST

    The gap is still 50 seconds and Aru is getting a free ride.

  121. 16:22:58 CEST

    And now Contador takes over. This is a massive moment in the race. It's Contador against Astana and Katusha.

  122. 16:21:49 CEST

    Contador will have to take on this climb almost on his own. Cataldo is setting the pace for Astana and the gap is at 50 seconds. Onto the Mortirolo.

  123. 16:20:13 CEST

    It's up to 50 seconds now and the Mortirolo is fast approaching.

  124. 16:19:45 CEST

    The maglia rosa is at 45 seconds with 46km to go. He has one more teammates with him now but this a huge task for Tinkoff to pull this back. There are a few BMC riders in the Contador group. Will they help?

  125. 16:18:38 CEST

    Contador only has Kreuziger left. Is the race leader on the ropes?

  126. 16:18:18 CEST

    And Hesjedal is caught 3km from the start of the Mortirolo. Astana and Katusha have Contador back at 30 seconds. The Spaniard had a puncture, that's why there has been a gap.

  127. 16:14:05 CEST

    Contador has pegged the Aru group back to around 20 seconds but that's still 20 seconds too many.

  128. 16:13:34 CEST

    Julich: This is not ideal situation for him at the moment, but has to stay calm and use his team to close this gap as quickly as possible.

  129. 16:13:14 CEST

    And Astana start to work with Katusha. Hesjedal just has 40 seconds of an advantage left.

  130. 16:12:35 CEST

    And Contador is losing teammates fast. He's down to just Rogers and one other rider. He needs to close that gap before the climb proper begins.

  131. 16:11:55 CEST

    52km remaining from 174km

    Almost into the final 50km of action and we've already got fireworks as Aru and all of Contador's main rivals are clear with the Spaniard dropped on the last descent. We think that he had a mechanical. And Contador is losing more time. The gap between Aru and Contador's group is at nearly 30 seconds.

  132. 16:10:19 CEST

    The Aru group have 22 seconds on the Contador group.

  133. 16:09:36 CEST

    The Aru group have linked up with the Trofimov group.

  134. 16:09:17 CEST

    Hesjedal is on the climb now with 63km to go. Contador is having a real problem trying to close the gap to the Astana group. The race leader is under huge pressure right now.

  135. 16:08:13 CEST

    No let up from Katusha who are setting a furious pace with around 25 riders. Then we have Aru's group, and then Contador around 30 seconds down.

  136. 16:04:25 CEST

    We have several groups and Contador is around 40 seconds down on the Aru group. We still dont know what caused that split but at one point Contador's team were waiting for him.

  137. 16:02:34 CEST

    According to the time checks Contador is a minute down on the Aru group and Astana are not letting up.

  138. 16:02:04 CEST

    There are a number of splits but it's starting to come back together with Contador and his team pulling the peloton back into one larger group. Aru is still clear though with Uran and a number of other riders.

  139. 16:01:11 CEST

    Julich: Felt a bit like two buddies just out for a ride and is always nice when your hard work is repaid by your leader with a stage win.

  140. 16:00:25 CEST

    Julich: I was on the Mortirolo with CSC in 2005. We started the Gavia and then headed down the valley towards the Mortirolo. I remember pulling on the front with Jens until the first km of the climb and then our day was over. From there to the top, we were able to listen to what was going on above us on the climb with Ivan and Simoni. Sounded like quite a battle!! I remember this being the stage that Ivan dropped Simoni for the stage win after he (apparently) agreed to let Simoni win the stage. Jens and I actually enjoyed the Mortirolo, but of course we weren’t doing anything besides trying to finish the stage.

  141. 15:59:34 CEST

    Contador is actually in a chase group, behind the main field but he's being paced by his teammates.

  142. 15:59:03 CEST

    Has Contador had a problem because he's just off the back of the bunch. There are splits on the descent and three Katusha men have pushed clear.

  143. 15:56:58 CEST

    And there's crash for Rosa. He's up and okay but the roads are still slippy.

  144. 15:56:11 CEST

    Another mistake on a corner and Hesjedal has to unclip his left foot in order to stay up.

  145. 15:55:14 CEST

    On the descent and heading towards the Mortirolo and Hesjedal is taking risks as he looks for every second he can. It's Katusha who are setting the pace at the front of the bunch as Hesjedal takes on a quick gel and almost loses his position around a tricky corner.

  146. 15:52:42 CEST

    Julich: Coming into a stage like this one after a rest day surely made for some nervous riders at the start of the stage. The tempo has been high and the break hasn’t been given much of an advantage, but sure once we hit the Mortirolo the sparks will start to fly.

  147. 15:52:03 CEST

    And now we're joined once again by former pro Bobby Julich.

  148. 15:44:55 CEST

    The Cannondale Garmin rider comes over the line for the first time. He has 74km to go and it will be interesting to see if he can extend his lead on the descent.

  149. 15:42:38 CEST

    Hesjedal has 31 seconds on the break as he climbs towards the crest of Aprica. He takes a quick look over his shoulder before moving out of the saddle.

  150. 15:41:21 CEST

    Dry roads, the rain having held off on this part of the course and Hesjedal is motoring along as he moves the gap back out towards two minutes.

  151. 15:39:47 CEST

    There are about 70 men left in the main field as Hesjedal takes a couple more seconds on the break.

  152. 15:38:16 CEST

    The Cannondale leader is over 11 minutes down and with 78km to go this a very brave move from the Canadian.

  153. 15:37:13 CEST

    With the gap down to 1'30 Hesjedal has attacked and gone clear of the break.

  154. 15:33:25 CEST

    The gap is dropping, it's down to 1'43 as we head towards the Mortirolo. The pace is rising in the bunch and they're almost encouraging Astana to take up the pace duties and it's as if Tinkoff aren't worried about Contador becoming isolated later on.

  155. 15:29:58 CEST

    Into the final 80km of the stage and it's heating up out on the road as Tinkoff Saxo set the pace with the gap at a steady 2'00.

  156. 15:26:58 CEST

    Contador keeps his rain jacket on but he's lost a couple of teammates. Aru takes a quick peek at his main rival before going back into the pack.

  157. 15:25:55 CEST

    And already riders are dropped from the peloton, just on ones and twos but the damage is being done by Contador's team. The break meanwhile, spread out all over the road, each man fighting against the gradient in the best way they can.

  158. 15:24:27 CEST

    The main field hit the lower slopes of the climb not with Tinkoff pulling on the front.

  159. 15:19:06 CEST

    Average gradient of 3 per cent but there are some steep ramps on this third cat climb.

  160. 15:18:37 CEST

    Feedzone for the break but they race through without any hesitation or thought of picking up supplies. A couple of riders break rank and take on food as they start the climb to Aprica.

  161. 15:16:45 CEST

    Clarke has a mechanical and has been distanced on the descent by the leaders. The gap is out to 2'20 and that's the largest it's been all day.

  162. 15:04:31 CEST

    The rain is falling once more as Astana line out behind the Tinkoff Saxo train. The break move into the final 99km of racing, their gap at 2'03.

  163. 14:58:03 CEST

    106km remaining from 174km

    The gap moves out to two minutes as we hit the valley before the climb to Aprica.

  164. 14:57:02 CEST

    Clarke is about to catch the leaders on the descent but the peloton will not ease up, the gap at 1'29.

  165. 14:45:04 CEST

    Clarke has just gone over the top but he should be able to make contact on the fast, long descent.

  166. 14:44:18 CEST

    Fernandez is top over the climb and he leads the rest of the break at the start of the descent. The peloton are at 1'38 so the break really aren't establishing anything like the advantage they would have wanted.

  167. 14:35:36 CEST

    The group containing Viviani and a number of other sprinters is around two minutes down on the main field with Tinkoff Saxo continuing to set the pace for race leader Alberto Contador.

  168. 14:30:36 CEST

    On the climb it's Tinkoff Saxo who set the pace for Alberto Contador - steady but manageable, nothing too intense as there's still well over 100km of racing to go an three more ascents after this one.

  169. 14:28:04 CEST

    Simon Clarke is climbing alone. Orica had Chaves in an early move but it didn't work out so Clarke has been sent up the road. The former maglia rosa is 46 seconds down on the leaders.

  170. 14:22:35 CEST

    So just confirmation of those riders in the main break. We have  - in order of height - Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale Garmin), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre Merida), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Franco Pellizotti (Androni Sidermec), Fabio Felline (Trek), David de la Cruz (Etixx QuickStep), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani CSF) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC).

  171. 14:19:30 CEST

    128km remaining from 174km

    Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal) has joined the leading group as they start the climb. Simon Clarke is trying to bridge over too.

  172. 14:17:41 CEST

    The rain has at least eased but the peloton are wrapping up on the climb as the cold air creeps in.

  173. 14:15:28 CEST

    The leaders have reached the Passo del Tonale, their gap at 1'20 over the peloton with a couple of riders sandwiched in between.

  174. 14:11:25 CEST

    Hesjedal is the best placed rider on GC in that move, 11:17 down on Contador.

  175. 14:10:49 CEST

    Confirmation of those in the break: Pellizotti, Zardini-Bookwalter, De la cruz, Niemec, Fernandez, Felline-Hesjedal and Mihaylov.

  176. 14:00:55 CEST

    Hesjedal is about 20 seconds back on that first group and a few more riders are also trying to bridge over. The peloton at 55 seconds, and the Viviani group another 40 seconds back.

  177. 13:59:54 CEST

    The group of seven, that now lead the race, have 35 seconds on the bunch. They include Zardini, Pellizotti, Felline, Bookwalter, De La Cruz, and Fernandez and Niemiec.

  178. 13:54:34 CEST

    Groups are forming, splitting and re-forming on the descent but we have confirmation that Sebastian Reichenbach has climbed off and abandoned the race.

  179. 13:48:42 CEST

    142km remaining from 174km

    Pellizotti and Zardini currently lead the race with a chase group of three at 20 seconds, and the main field a further 16 seconds adrift.

  180. 13:44:08 CEST

    Over the top of the climb and it's Carlos Betancur who leads the way, followed by Pellizotti, Intxausti, Zardini and then Hesjedal.

  181. 13:31:30 CEST

    Around 20 riders have trying to go clear at the moment but their gap is just a few seconds.

  182. 13:30:15 CEST

    Roughly half way up the first climb of the day and the Viviani group have dropped back to 1'30. They'll have to work hard on the wet descent in order to claw back this time.

  183. 13:25:49 CEST

    Contador and Aru are riding close to each other near the front of the race, their respective teams around them as we tackle the first of five climbs today.

  184. 13:23:11 CEST

    The rain has started to fall and the attacks are raining down too with Pirazzi and Mihaylov just two of the riders to try their luck. The Viviani group is at 30 seconds.

  185. 13:18:05 CEST

    That move has come back together and the peloton are upping the pace. Already there are casualties with Viviani among those who have lost contact with the main field.

  186. 13:10:10 CEST

    Geschke , Domont , Zardini , Bouet and Berlato have jumped clear on the climb so all eyes on Movistar as to whether they chase. Geschke is a threat in the KOM competition.

  187. 13:08:56 CEST

    • Team Sky 2015 team jersey

    We're just trying to confirm the full list of riders who have not started the day's stage. The biggest casualty is of course Richie Porte, who confirmed that he would leave the race yesterday morning. The Australian picked up a knee and hip injury in a crash and lost over 27 minutes on stage 15. He now returns to his base in Monaco where he must pick himself up and focus on the Tour de France. For our exclusive interview with Porte, click here.

  188. 13:05:40 CEST

    Onto to the lower slopes of the Campo Carlo Magno and most of the riders have opted not to start with rain jackets, Contador included. The climb rises up to around 12 per cent.

  189. 12:59:45 CEST

    1km into the race and it's all together for the peloton.

  190. 12:55:00 CEST

    Through the neutralized zone for the peloton then, 174km ahead of them and five categorized climbs.

  191. 12:50:56 CEST

    • Blue Jersey

    It will be quite interesting to see how Movistar take on the stage. Benat Intxausti has a lead in the KOM competition but Landa is on the prowl and could easily take the jersey by the end of the day. Movistar also have Amador in third and they'll want to protect that from Landa as well. Can they work towards both aims with one tactic?
     


    1 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team 85 pts
    2 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 54
    3 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 53
    4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 53
    5 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 53
     

  192. 12:40:52 CEST

    A lot of riders actually warmed up on the rollers this morning at the start, all in preparation for the first climb of the day.

  193. 12:38:03 CEST

    Back to business and we're around 15 minutes from the official start. Contador and most of the peloton are on the start line and ready for the roll out, with the maglia rosa a picture of concentration at the front. Could be rain later today as well but the first issue of day is the Camp Carlo Magno, a second cat climb that the riders will tackle immediately.

  194. 12:36:17 CEST

    • Twitter Icon

    If you  have any more songs for a Fabio Aru playlist please tweet them into us at Cyclingnews.

  195. 12:33:02 CEST

    • Astana 2015 team jersey

    As for Aru's he's not 'lost hope', which is nice given that we've still got nearly a week of racing. If you're tuning into live before the start of the race, Fabio, this is for you. There's probably some obvious subtext to that song that I'm missing but it's been a long Grand Tour.


    And here's Aru's press-conference story if you want to a click on something a little more worthwhile.

     

  196. 12:28:58 CEST

    • Tinkoff-Saxo 2015 team jersey

    Contador:

    “I didn’t imagine I’d have an advantage like this at this point in the race,” he admitted. “It’s true that I was thinking that this last week would be my opportunity to take the maglia rosa. Right now I’m happy with my position, it’s better than I’d hoped for. But there’s still a long way to go.”

     

    You can read Contador's full rest-day press conference story, right here.

     

  197. 12:26:22 CEST

    A lot of folk believe that with Contador in control that the race for pink is over. The Spaniard certainly isn't saying anything of that sort - at least not in public - and with around 1000km to go in this year's race the maglia rosa is still up for grabs. One bad day, one bad climb, and a GC rider  - even Contador - could lose minutes.

  198. 12:24:21 CEST

    • Pink Jersey

    Heading into the stage, this is how things look on GC with Contador still ahead of Aru and Amador.

     

    1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 60:01:34
    2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:35
    3 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:04:19
    4 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:04:46
    5 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:06:36
    6 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:06:58
    7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:07:10
    8 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:08:20
    9 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:09:53
    10 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:10:03

  199. 12:23:25 CEST

    Right now the riders are shuffling around the start area, with the official start in around 30 minutes from now. There are a few nervous faces out there, and the time cut could certainly be a factor with the first climb of the day coming right at the start. Dropped there and it's going to be an incredibly tough day of survival and chasing.

  200. 12:22:07 CEST

    After yesterday's rest-day, a well deserved break for the peloton in this year's race - we're back in the saddle for another day in the Dolomites. Arguably the hardest stage in this year's race, we'll take in five peaks with two ascents into Aprica, and one of the Mortirolo. The stage starts with the Camp Carlo Mago, before also tackling the Passo del Tonale. Epic is a word that's often overused so lets get it out of the way as quickly as possible. Epic.