Basque rider attacks fellow escapees on final climb to take solo win

Jon Izaguirre of Esuskaldel Euskadi attacked the fellow members of a ten man breakaway on the final climb of today's Stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia in Falzes to take his team's first victory of this year's race. Alessadro De Marchi of Androni-Giocattoli finished second, 14 seconds behind the Basque rider, with Rabobank's Stef Clement third. The group containing the riders who in the days ahead will battle it out for the overall win, including maglia rosa Joaquin Rodriguez, crossed the line some nine minutes later. The Katusha rider retains a 30-second lead in the GC over Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal.

Izaguirre had attacked with Mathias Frank of BMC Racing as the road headed uphill inside the closing four kilometres of today’s stage, which had no categorised climbs but featured that tough ascent before the road levelled out for the last two kilometres.

De Marchi tried to give chase but was unable to do so, and Izaguirre also dropped Frank on the climb as the 23-year-old, who placed 15th in this year’s Gent-Wevelgem, headed towards the biggest win of his career to date.

It wasn’t until more nearly 70 kilometres had been raced of today’s 173-kilometre stage that the group containing the men that contested the finish managed to get away, although there had been a series of earlier attacks that didn’t stick.

Also in the group, which quickly stretched its advantage out to more than 10 minutes,  were Lars Bak of Lotto Belisol, Farnese Vini’s Luca Mazzanti, Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Nikolas Maes, Jose Herrada of Movistar, the NetApp rider Matty Brandle and Saxo Bank’s Manuele Boaro.

With three tough mountain stages to come this week, as well as a potential sprint finish stage on Thursday that Mark Cavendish will be targeting as he chases the points classification, the peloton took things relatively easy today – until the final climb, at least, when they watched each other closely – and were happy to let the break go.

That means there’s no change in the classifications, with Katusha’s Rodriguez staying in the overall leader’s maglia rosa, Sunday’s stage winner Matteo Rabottini of Farnese Vini leading the mountains classification, and Team Sky’s Sergio Henao in the white jersey of best young rider.

Giro d’Italia Stage 16 result

1  IZAGUIRRE Jon          EUS   4:02:00
2  DE MARCHI Alessandro   AND      0:16
3  CLEMENT Stef           RAB
4  FRANK Mathias          BMC      0:19
5  HERRADA Jose'          MOV      0:21
6  BOARO Manuele          SAX      0:37
7  BRANDLE Matthias       APP      0:43
8  MAES Nikolas           OPQ      0:45
9  BAK Lars               LTB      
10 MAZZANTI Luca          FAR      0:48
11 FLECHA Juan            SKY      8:54
12 PIRAZZI Stefano        COG
13 CASAR Sandy            FDJ      8:57
14 HESJEDAL Ryder         GRM
15 DE GENDT Thomas        VCD
16 LAGUTIN Sergey         VCD
17 SLAGTER Tom            RAB
18 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin      KAT
19 IMPEY Daryl            OGE
20 CUNEGO Damiano         LAM

Overall Standings after Stage 16

1  RODRIGUEZ Joaquin      KAT  69:22:04
2  HESJEDAL Ryder         GRM      0:30
3  BASSO Ivan             LIQ      1:22
4  TIRALONGO Paolo        AST      1:26
5  KREUZIGER Roman        AST      1:27
6  SCARPONI Michele       LAM      1:36
7  INTXAUSTI Benat        MOV      1:42
8  HENAO Sergio           SKY      1:55
9  CATALDO Dario          OPQ      2:12
10 CASAR Sandy            FDJ      2:13

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.