Filippo Ganna triumphs over Pogačar to win stage 14 time trial- Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia 2024

Stage 14

There was little surprise on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia as Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) eased to his seventh career stage win at the race, dominating the time trial with a finishing time 29 seconds clear of anyone else.

Ganna’s time of 35:02 – set at an average speed of 53.453kph on the 31.2km course to Desenzano del Garda – beat Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) into second place, while a stellar ride from Thyman Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) saw him place third with a time of 36:09 to shoot up four places in the standings to sixth overall.

Arensman’s teammate Geraint Thomas was another big winner on the day, gaining time from the start on podium rival Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) to move ahead into second place with a time of 36:16.

Having lost 45 seconds to the maglia rosa, Thomas now lies 3:41 down on Pogačar before the Giro heads back to the high mountains on Sunday, though both he and his team can come away from the day happy, celebrating the 25th time trial victory of Ganna’s career and a 1-3-4 finish on the stage.

“Today I suffered a lot,” Ganna said after his victory. “I was just speaking with Jonathan Milan – for him, it’s 70 seconds in the sprint, and then you know immediately if you win or not.

“Today, I had to wait two hours. In the end, a little bit blocked with emotions because to win in Italy after a lot of time without a win is a really intense moment.

“Especially here, across the lake, it’s like a second home for me,” he concluded before breaking up with emotion.

“It’s nice to be here and to also see G [Thomas] arrive really well for the GC. We keep going for more seconds. Now, tomorrow it’s a really intense day and we need to fight with the heart and with the head.”

Ganna, riding in the Italian colours as national time trial champion, rode a near-peerless performance to lead at both checkpoints on the 31.2km course, though Pogačar sped through to beat him by four seconds at the first.

On the long, flat roads north towards Lake Garda following that early checkpoint, Ganna was in his element, putting the power down and increasing his average speed to almost 52kph at the second checkpoint.

Daniel Martínez dropped to third in the GC.

There, his four-second deficit to Pogačar turned into a 10-second advantage, one that would only increase on the final run to Desenzano del Garda. He’d beat the race leader to earn his first win since the mid-race time trial at the Vuelta a España last September, with Arensman a strong third place, albeit over a minute behind his teammate.

The time trial brings no change at the very top of the overall standings, with Pogačar still in pink and reigning supreme after 50 hours and nine seconds of racing.

Thomas now lies second overall at 3:41 down, while Martínez is now third overall at 3:56, 39 seconds up on fourth-placed Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale). In fifth, Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) holds his place at 5:17 down, while Arensman is up four places to sixth at 6:30 down.

After a run of days for the sprinters and breakaway hopefuls, the Giro d’Italia returned to GC mode on Saturday for stage 14 and its second and final time trial – a 31.2km test against the clock in Lombardy.

The stage would take the 153 remaining riders in the race would head to the shores of Lake Garda, tackling an almost entirely flat route out to the east between Castiglione delle Stiviere and Desenzano del Garda, with the highest point of the day coming at 159 metres above sea level and lowest coming at the finish 95 metres lower.

With riders setting off in reverse GC order, it was no surprise to see time trial specialist Josef Cerny (Soudal-QuickStep) hit the top of the timing boards early on.

As third man down the start ramp, the Czech rider was quickest of the earliest runners. He set the only time under 10 minutes at the first checkpoint and then laying down a benchmark of 36:58 at the finish line – a rare early rider to average over 50kph.

Cerny’s time wouldn’t last long at the top, however, with Max Walscheid (Cofidis) speeding through 10 minutes later in a time of 36:50 and then Daan Hoole (Lidl-Trek) going nine seconds quicker soon after.

Edoardo Affini (Visma-Lease A Bike), who was sixth quickest over the flat section of the stage 7 time trial, was the next man to take over the hot seat, coming through 27 minutes after Cerny had finished to post a time of 36:32 at an average speed of 51.241kph.

As Affini was crossing the line, it was time for several of the big favourites for the stage win set out to start their ride. Former world time trial champion Tobias Foss was joined out on the road by his Ineos Grenadiers teammate, hot favourite Filippo Ganna, as well as Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates).

Arensman took third place on stage 14.

The first checkpoint saw them shoot to the top of the standings, with Ganna’s time of 9:39 already 12 seconds up on Cerny’s leading time after just 7.8km. Bjerg lay third at 9:59, while Foss passed through in fifth, two seconds further back.

Foss’ 27:46 at the 23.2km second checkpoint would put him four seconds up on Affini’s leading time. That time would be blown away by the flying Ganna, however, as the Italian passed through in a time of 26:47 to clear his teammate by 59 seconds. Bjerg, already chasing from the first checkpoint, came through at 55 seconds down, having lost more time to the Italian.

Foss would eventually come to the line to briefly take over the hot seat, still four seconds up on Affini with a time of 36:28, though Ganna would blitz that time minutes later. He lay down a marker of 35:02 to go 1:26 up on Foss, a surely unbeatable time for the rest of the afternoon.

At the finish line, Bjerg had slipped further away from Gann, dropping time and a place to slip behind Foss as he slotted into third place with a time of 36:30.

It would take some time before another contender got out on the course, with Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla) and Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) the pick of the runners before the GC men got going.

The Australian went third at the first two checkpoints, losing 57 seconds to Ganna at the second. He’d improve on the final run to the line to move to second at 1:15 behind the Italian.

Sheffield started out faster still, crossing the first checkpoint in second just five seconds behind Ganna. The young American shed a further 34 seconds on the road to the second checkpoint, but his chances of securing that provisional second place evaporated as he crashed late on, sliding out on a right-hand turn.

In the end, Sheffield would cross the line down in seventh place, 1:35 down on Ganna and sporting some nasty road rash down his right side to boot.

Soon after Sheffield had drawn his ride to a close, it was time for the main contenders to set out on their efforts as the top 15 riders on GC – all separated by three minutes at the start ramp – got underway.

Some of those riders – such as Esteban Chaves (Jayco-AlUla), Domenico Pozzovivo (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), and Jan Hirt (Soudal-QuickStep) – passed through the first checkpoint at over a minute down on Ganna.

Pogačar had to settle for second place.

For Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers), it was a different story as the Dutchman made a flying start to the stage, passing through that checkpoint in third place at 9:50, the only man between Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain Victorious) in fifth place and Sheffield in 39th to break the 10-minute mark there.

He’d continue his impressive ride to go third at the second checkpoint and go even quicker in the final section to take provisional second, beating Plapp by 11 seconds with a time of 36:09.

Tiberi also impressed to take sixth at the checkpoint with a time of 9:56, while the man 48 seconds above him on the GC, Ben O’Connor (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), edged ahead by two further seconds.

In the battle for second overall between former teammates Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) and Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe) it was the Welshman who struck the first blow to put in a time of 9:50, taking 19 seconds off the Colombian and moving into provisional second place.

The big news at the first checkpoint, however, came with the final rider through, as race leader Tadej Pogačar sped through the 7.8km marker at 9:35 – four seconds up on Ganna.

At the finish, the outsiders were coming in to finish their rides, with Arensman the big winner of the day and taking minutes on those lying ahead of him. Once the dust settled on the rides of those ahead of him – Einer Rubio (Movistar), Filippo Zana (Jayco-AlUla), Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana Qazaqstan), and Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) – the Dutchman had comfortably jumped up from 10th overall into the top six.

Fifth-placed Tiberi, who started the day at 1:25 up on Arensman, fared better, though. The 22-year-old limited his losses to 12 seconds with a ride to provisional fourth and a time of 36:21 to keep hold of his placing, while one spot further ahead O’Connor put in a top ride too. The Australian sped home in fifth and a time of 36:27.

Back at the second checkpoint after 23.2km, Thomas was flying into second place with a time of 27:34 to put him 32 seconds up on Martínez. The Colombian, meanwhile, was losing 18 seconds to O’Connor having started the day 59 seconds up on fourth place.

Come the end of the stage, Martínez had lost 31 seconds to Thomas and 20 to O’Connor, causing him to slip to third overall as Thomas jumped up to second place.

Meanwhile, a 14-second swing saw Pogačar cross the second checkpoint at 10 seconds down on Ganna, seemingly putting paid to his chances of taking the stage win and bringing some relief to the man in the hot seat.

Ganna celebrates after taking the stage honours.

That relief was well-founded as Pogačar shed more time on the final run into Desenzano del Garda, eventually crossing the line 29 seconds down on Ganna, the only man within a minute of the stage winner.

After today’s time-trial fun tomorrow’s stage 15 is arguably the hardest of the entire Giro. The route from Manerba del Garda to a mountain-top finish at the Mottoline above Livigno covers 222 kilometres and includes an elevation gain of 5,400 metres.

The riders clip into their pedals in Manerba del Garda and the route rises false flat and then slightly steeper – 7.3 kilometres at 4.5% – to Lodrino. A short downhill paves the way for the Colle San Zeno – 13.9 kilometres at 6.6%, and with its summit reached at 64.7 kilometres into the race.

The riders descend to Lago d’Iseo and follow the Oglio river for tens of kilometres upstream. Passing through Edolo and then Monno, they reach the foot of the Mortirolo. This is a 12.6 kilometres toil with an average gradient of 7.6%.

After descending into the valley of the Adda River and following it upstream towards Bormio, the riders don’t enter the Stelvio or Gavia passes but instead tackle the ascent to Isolaccia. This climb mostly maintains moderate gradients, except for the 3 kilometres just before the village, which climbs at 7.5%.

The Passo di Foscagno begins right after the intermediate sprint for time bonuses in Isolaccia. It’s a 15 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 6.4%. The summit lies 8.7 kilometres before the finish in Livigno. The first 4 kilometres descend, while the remainder ascends at 7.6% to the finish line.

The initial part of this final stretch climbs the Passo di Eira, but things get tougher when the riders take a left-hander and hit the Mottolino. The final 1.8 kilometres rise at almost 10% to the line.

The Mottolino rises high above Livigno, which is a perfect spot for high altitude training, so all pro-teams know the area inside out. Oddly, the town in the heart of the Italian Alps is rarely visited by the Giro. In 2005, Ivan Parra climbed to triumph and before that it was Eddy Merckx who took the spoils as far back as 1972.

The second and third intermediate sprint come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds each, while the first three riders on the line gain 10, 6 and 4 seconds.

Stage 14 result:

General Classification:

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