Giro d'Italia: Stage 15 as it happened

Italy's Giovanni Visconti wins his first ever Giro d'Italia stage as compatriot Vincenzo Nibali remains in the race leader's pink jersey

19 May 2013 Last updated at 18:20

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As it happened

  1. 1706: 

    Right, time for me to sign off. You can read the report about what happened in today's stage here, and more reaction and analysis will be added there later.

    I'll be back with you on Tuesday so make the most of your rest day. Cheerio for now.

  2. 1702: 

    Carlos Betancur and Rafal Majka are eighth and ninth in the general classification, and first and second in the maglia bianca, separated by 37 seconds. They are both 23, with Majka a month older. Forget Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, could this be cycling's next big rivalry?

  3. 1659: 
    Results of stage 15

    Carlos Betancur has now finished second three times in this year's Giro, and awaits his first stage win. He and Poland's Rafal Majka are scrapping it out for maglia bianca - the white jersey for the race's best-placed young rider (under 25).

    1. Giovanni Visconti (Italy/Movistar) 4:40:48"

    2. Carlos Betancur (Colombia/AG2R) +42"

    3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland/Lampre) SAME TIME

    4. Rafal Majka (Poland/Saxo) SAME TIME

    5. Fabio Duarte (Colombia/Colombia) +47"

    6. Michele Scarponi (Italy / Lampre) +54"

    7. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy / Astana) SAME TIME

    8. Cadel Evans (Australia / BMC Racing) SAME TIME

    9. Mauro Santambrogio (Italy / Vini Fantini) SAME TIME

    10. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia / Team Sky) SAME TIME

  4. 1653: 

    It's a rest day at the Giro on Monday... and I think the riders have earned it. Not that things get much easier for them next week. They stay in the mountains when the race resumes on Tuesday with a 216km hop from Valloire to Ivrea, and head back up Mont Cenis - which they tackled so slowly today.

  5. 1650:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    So, no change at the top of the overall standings in the general classification at the end of stage 15. Vincenzo Nibali continues to lead the way.

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 62:02:34"

    2. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +1:26"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Team Sky) +2:46"

    4. Mauro Santambrogio (Italy/Vini Fantini) +2:47"

    5. Michele Scarponi (Italy/Lampre) +3:53"

  6. 1647: 

    The snow continues to get heavier at the finish line as more bikes roll past. Lots of riders are still making their way up the Col du Galibier. They are probably not enjoying themselves too much.

  7.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "Giovanni Visconti was desperate at the end there and he will be grateful he did not have to go up any higher than he did. He really had no choice but to stay out all day but his tactics paid off."

  8. 1643: 

    Here come Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans and Rigoberto Uran. They all cross the line together. They may well be frozen together, it is that cold.

  9. 1643: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT- Italy's Giovanni Visconti wins stage 15

    Visconti crosses the line, arms aloft. His bravery pays off.

  10. 1642: 

    Visconte is a three-time Italian champion but he cannot have many harder wins than this... here he comes through the snow and down the finish straight with 150m to go.

  11. 1642: 

    Three riders, Betancur, Majka and Duarte are chasing Visconte... but he is going to hold on!

  12. 1640: 

    0.7km to go for Giovanni Visconti. He is riding through treacle at the moment though.

  13. 1640: 

    Nibali, Evans and Uran are all together as they charge up the Galibier towards the finish.

  14. 1639: 

    Giovanni Visconti is into the final 1km. He deserves this stage win, but will he get it? He has slowed up...

  15. 1638: 

    Matteo Rabottini is going to get reeled in by Nibali next. That will just leave Giovanni Visconti on his own at the front. The fog is thickening.

  16. 1637: 

    Nibali is leading the peloton up the Galibier.

  17. 1637: 

    Mauro Santambrogio is with Nibali. Cadel Evans is cranking it up to catch them. They are in the last 2km.

  18. 1637: 

    Nibali attacks!

  19. 1635: 

    It's not just snow. That mountain mist is back. Visconti battles on, and on and on.

  20. 1634: 

    This is where things get tough for Visconti. The last 3km to the finish line is very steep, and the snow is falling heavily. It is absolutely freezing on the slopes of Galibier but one spectator has just run on to the road wearing only a pair of boots and his underpants. A brave boy.

  21. 1633: 

    Now it is snowing for Visconti! He has just gone round the Plan Lachat bend on the slopes of Col du Galibier. With 3km to go, he has still got a lead of more than a minute on Rabottini.

  22. 1630: 

    Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans and Rigoberto Uran are all together in the peloton. Ahead of him, Samuel Sanchez has opened up a gap of about 20 seconds. They won't be bothered about that.

  23. 1629: 

    Meanwhile at the front of the race, Giovanni Visconti is now a minute clear of Matteo Rabottini, with 4.5km of climbing to go.

    It is starting to snow a bit where he is on the slopes, but nothing compared to how it is coming down thick and fast at the finish line.

  24. 1626: 

    An attack at the front of the peloton. Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez is trying to escape. He has got a couple of other riders with him.

  25.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "The way that Vincenzo Nibali has been going, I don't think second-placed Cadel Evans will be interested in attacking him today. I think Evans will not only be frightened of seeing that attack not pay off but also of losing time on the riders behind him. Instead he might be looking to defend his podium place and just hoping Nibali has a bad day."

  26. 1623: 

    Giovanni Visconti is yet to hit the snow. I bet he can't wait for that.

  27. 1621: 

    Giovanni Visconti has got 7.5km of climbing to go. Can he hold on for the stage win? He has got a 43-second lead over fellow Italian Matteo Rabottini.

    Behind him, will the big hitters chasing overall victory make their move? Nothing from Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans or Rigoberto Uran yet.

  28. 1618: 

    The snow is getting heavier at the finish line.

  29.  

    James, somewhere in Kent: I'd like to see Cadel Evans attack and really take this race to Nibali. Too often he just sits on the wheel of his rivals.

  30. 1615: 

    The breakaway group containing Robert Gesink and Team Sky's Sergio Henao have been caught by the peloton. That means they only have Visconti, then Rabottini, Weening and Pirazzi strung out ahead of them on the road.

  31.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "It's looking pretty grim outside our commentary box at the finish line. The clouds have really come in now and it is snowing. It is raining where the riders are now, but that will soon turn to sleet... and then into snow."

  32. 1614: 

    Right, into the last 10km now. It is still snowing at the finish, but not sticking on the road which is good news for the riders.

    Italy's Giovanni Visconti is about 45 seconds clear at the front of the race... behind him, Matteo Rabottini is having another pop at catching him.

  33. 1612: 

    More and more riders are trying to get off the front of the main peloton, or what is left of it.

    No sign of any attacks from overall race leader Vincenzo Nibali or his main rivals Cadel Evans and Rigoberto Uran yet. Mind you, Nibali left it until the last 1km on Saturday.

  34. 1610: 

    Further back down the road, the five-man group containing Robert Gesink and Team Sky's Sergio Henao group is at +2'15", while the peloton containing Nibali, Evans, Uran and co is at +5'08". There are 11.5km to go.

  35. 1608: 

    Giovanni Visconti's lead is up to a minute now. Behind him, Matteo Rabottini, of the Vini Fantini team, tried and failed to drop Stefano Pirazzi and Pieter Weening.

  36.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "Giovanni Visconti is looking good at the moment. He has got a good lead and a nice rhythm and he has the psychological advantage of knowing that he is clear and the other riders have got a lot of hard work to do to catch him."

  37.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "A lot of team directors are already up here at the finish. They will be on their radios to the team cars and the riders to let them know that it is snowing where they are going!"

  38. 1601: 

    According to the race computer Giovanni Visconti is about 45 seconds clear, but that is probably because he has just been zipping down the short descent to the start of the climb of Galibier... which is where the snow is.

  39. 1600: 

    The five-man group containing Robert Gesink (Blanco), Team Sky's Sergio Henao and Danilo Di Luca of Fantini is another one minute and 30 seconds back.

    There are more riders scattered behind them on the road but the big hitters at the top of the general classification are yet to make their move and are still sat in the main peloton, another one minute and 20 seconds or so adrift. There are 16.5km to go, mostly uphill.

  40. 1558: 

    Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) is still clear as he goes over the top of Col du Telegraphe, about 20 seconds ahead of Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) and Pieter Weening (Orica). Can he hold on?

  41. 1553:  
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    I think I just jinxed the weather. Simon Brotherton, who is in the commentary box at the finish line at the Marco Pantani Monument on Les Granges du Galibier, has reported it has just started to snow. "The weather is beginning to close in," says Brotherton. That sounds ominous...

  42. 1551: 

    No snow on the side of the roads either, but the riders have got all that to look forward to as they continie to wind their way up this mountain.

  43. 1549: 

    By the way, that rain and snow has not arrived yet. I think the riders will be pretty pleased if they miss it.

  44. 1548: 

    Another attack, this time at the front of the race. It is Italian rider Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) who is trying to go it alone.

  45. 1545: 

    The main peloton, including Nibali, Evans and Uran, are about two-and-a-half minutes behind Weening and co, with plenty more attacks coming off the front of that big bunch. Danilo Di Luca of Fantini seems to have gone clear and is catching the Gesink and Henao group. There are 23km to go.

  46. 1543: 

    Team Sky's Sergio Henao and Robert Kiserlovski of Radioshack have just joined Gesink and Martinez.

  47. 1542: 

    Then, about one minute and 45 seconds back, comes Robert Gesink (Blanco) and Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel).

  48. 1541: 

    This is how we stand at the moment, with about 25km to go: Pieter Weening (Orica) and Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) have been caught by Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini) so there are four riders at the front of the race.

  49. 1538: 

    Today's finish technically takes in two climbs, the Col du Telegraphe and then up to within 4.25km of the summit of the Galibier, but it is basically one long slog for the final 30km.

  50. 1537: 

    Another attack from the main peloton. Team Sky's Sergio Henao has a pop and gets a few seconds up the road. Things are starting to liven up.

  51. 1536: 

    There is movement at the front of the race too. Pieter Weening and Stefano Pirazzi are out on their own, with 26.3km to go. They are two minutes clear of the main peloton, containing Vincenzo Nibali and co.

  52. 1535: 

    A long way to go to the top of Col du Telegraphe but attacks are happening already. Dutch rider Robert Gesink, who lost a stack of time on Saturday to slide out of contention for overall victory, has gone clear of the maglia rosa group.

  53. 1533:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "The organisers have spent an awful lot of money to clear the snow this week and they were desperate to get this stage on."

  54. 1530:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentary is now under way with Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles, who are snug and safe in their commentary box in the snow on Les Granges du Galibier (see 1346). The link will appear on the right-hand side of this page or on the cycling index.

  55. 1527: 

    So, we are at the bottom of Col du Telegraph and at the business end of today's stage. What are you lot expecting? Another show of strength from Vincenzo Nibali? Will Cadel Evans spring into action... or will Rigoberto Uran go on the attack?

    Tweet me your thoughts using the hashtag #bbccycling and text me on 81111. Put your names on those texts, though.

  56. 1521: 

    Back in Italy (well, France actually but you know what I mean) and the gap from the breakaway bunch to the peloton continues to fall, and fast. It is now just two minutes and 49 seconds, with 32km of the 145km to go.

    They might not be clear for too much longer so I will remind you who the seven escapees are: Pieter Weening (Orica), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni), Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani) and RECG (Colombia).

  57. 1515: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    Colombian climber Rigoberto Uran is Team Sky's big hope in the Giro's general classification and he will be looking to emulate his team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen, who has just wrapped up overall victory in the Tour of Norway. Boasson Hagen, who won stage four on Saturday, took third place in Sunday's fifth and final stage to take the title.

  58. 1512: 

    It is the Lotto and Astana teams who are leading the chase at the front of the peloton, where race leader Vincenzo Nibali and all the big hitters in the general classification are sitting safely. The gap to the front seven is coming down, and has just dipped under five minutes with 40km to go.

    Not long until they hit the slopes of Col du Telegraph, when things will start to liven up.

  59. 1504: 
    OUCH!

    Uh-oh! It might be sunny in the Alps now but apparently clouds carrying rain and snow are on their way to the high mountains, around the time the riders are scheduled to finish - between 1600 and 1630 BST. This might get messy...

  60. 1459: 

    Back on the road, the seven escapees have now got a lead of six minutes with about 51km to go.

    There are a few specialist climbers among them, like king of the mountains leader Stefano Pirazzi, because they made their move to fight for mountains points at the top of Mont Cenis. That means they should be well set for the climb up Col du Telegraphe and Galibier to the finish at the Marco Pantani Monument... but the chasing pack, including race leader Vincenzo Nibali will have plenty to say about that.

  61.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Seb King: Cycling fans love rider with panache. Marco Pantani may have been flawed but he had this in abundance hence why he is loved.

  62. 1451: 
    The start of the 15th stage

    This was the start of stage 15 in Cesana a few hours ago so, as you can see, it is a gloriously sunny day in the Alps. It is still very cold, though. The riders take off their jackets when they are in the valleys but they need them on their way up the mountains (which is where all the snow is), and also when they are speeding down them.

  63. 1446: 
    The view from the Galibier...
    The final bends at the top of Col du Galibier

    This is the view from the top of Galibier on a GOOD day. There is a LOT more snow up there at the moment... which is why the race will be stopping 4.25km short of the summit.

  64. 1443: 

    Right then, Pieter Weening has been caught so we have got a seven-man breakaway group with 60km to go. They have opened up a lead of around four-and-a-half minutes and are about to start a long descent down to St Michel de Maurienne.... then the climbing begins, first to Col du Telegraphe, then on to the Galibier.

  65.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Joseph Foster: Pantani should be celebrated, his attacking style is what fans crave. Flawed, tragic & box office in the peaks.

  66. 1435: 

    We have got 62km of today's stage to go, and Dutch rider Pieter Weening is still 'winning'... with a lead of about 23 seconds, but behind him a bunch has formed, another three minutes or so clear of the peloton.

    There are six riders in that bunch: Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni), Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani)... and my old mate Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Colombia) - from now on known here as RECG.

  67. 1429: 

    An interesting tweet from the ORICA-GreenEDGE team: Assistant DS Julian Dean reports that no horns are allowed in the race caravan today for fear of causing an avalanche. #Giro

  68. 1424: 

    It is just Italian rider Giovanni Visconti who is trying to catch Pieter Weening now as they continue their descent. The sun is out but it will still be freezing cold, especially as they speed down the mountain.

  69. 1420: 

    Actually, make that Pieter Weening with a 30 seconds lead on the chasing riders. The peloton are another two minutes back.

  70. 1417: 

    Dutch rider Pieter Weening is out clear on his own at the front of the race, ahead of Stefano Perazzi and the rest of those riders who escaped near the top of Mont Cenis.

    The peloton are about 30 seconds back. There is about 80km of today's 145km stage to go.

  71.  

    Massimo Danieli: To be fair Marco Pantani was NEVER found positive to doping.

  72.  

    Andy Seville: Celebrating Pantani today shows UCI have learned nothing. Shameful. #cleansport

  73. 1412: 

    It is Stefano Perazzi who is first over the summit to extend his lead in the mountain's classification.

    Behind him, the bunch are still taking it easy. A lot of them have stopped at the top to put on an extra layer and they are now tucking into their musettes and enjoying a spot of lunch.

  74. 1410: 

    At last, some racing! There are some King of the Mountains points available at the top of Col du Mont Cenis, and a few riders have broken away to try to claim them...

  75. 1408: 

    By the way, it is not only the freezing conditions that are conspiring against the riders. Someone has scattered tacks on the road about 20km from today's finish. Police have been hoovering them up.

    This sort of sabotage has happened before - you might remember another 'Tack Attack' during stage 14 of last year's Tour de France. I am guessing police are still looking for their prime suspect - a Mr Wile. E. Coyote.

  76. 1404: 

    They have been using dynamite and snow ploughs to remove the snow from the roads at the top of these mountains. Hopefully not at the same time...

  77. 1401: 
    Il Pirata - The Pirate
    Marco Pantani

    As I mentioned earlier, today's stage will finish at the Marco Pantani monument today, not on top of Col du Galibier. For those of you who are new to cycling, and not sure who Marco Pantani was, I will (briefly) explain. The Italian, the last rider to win the fabled double of the Giro and the Tour de France when he did it in 1998, was a hugely popular climber known for his flamboyant attacking style and distinctive appearance - his bandana, shaved head and earrings earned him the nickname 'Il Pirata' - 'The Pirate'.

    His reputation was tarnished by doping allegations and he died at the age of 34 in a hotel room in Rimini, from acute cocaine poisoning.

    The 'Pantani Forever' monument was unveiled on Col du Galibier in 2011, at the spot where Pantani launched a fierce and decisive attack on his closest rival Jan Ullrich in the 1998 Tour, that ultimately gave him overall victory.

    For more on Pantani, read this excellent blog by BBC Radio 5 live's Simon Clancy.

  78. 1359: 

    This go-slow will be in agreement with the race organisers, Marc. The riders probably didn't want to go over the top of Mont Cenis in these conditions, but this appears to be a compromise!

  79.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Marc Horsbrough: Are the riders staging a protest by going so slowly? They must be so fed up by now!!

  80. 1357: 

    There is LOTS of snow on the side of the road on the way up Mont Cenis as the riders continue slowly up to the summit. It looks like a beautiful sunny day in the Alps... but then I am not riding up to the top of a 2,094m mountain.

  81. 1354: 
    The roads on Les Granges du Galibier

    Here's what things look like near the finish line at the Marco Pantani Memorial a bit further down Les Granges du Galibier. As this photo from BBC Radio 5 live's Simon Brotherton shows, there are blue skies and the road is clear... but the snow has not exactly left much room for spectators!

  82. 1351: 

    As you can see from that picture from Simon, there is plenty of snow still about in the Alps, especially at the top of Col du Galibier.

    The latest news is that racing has been neutralised because there is uncertainty about the roads near the top of Col du Mont Cenis. That means the riders will continue as planned but at a very gentle pace. No breakways, no attacks... and probably no king of the mountains points. They will just continue slowly andsafely to the summit and down the other side.

  83. 1346:  
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator
    The view from 5 live sports extra commentary box

    "The view from the commentary box today."

  84. 1345:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra's Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles are in their commentary box at the finish line on Les Granges du Galibier and will be providing live commentary from 15:30 BST to the end of the day's racing, which will also be available on this very page and the cycling index.

    Until then, it is just you and me. Can anyone stop Nibali winning this race? Tweet me your thoughts on the state of play in the Giro using the hashtag #bbccycling and text me on 81111. Put your names on those texts, though, otherwise I will chuck a virtual snowball in your direction.

  85. 1344: 

    As discussed, the race organisers have already shortened today's stage. There is talk that they might also decide the descent from Col du Mont Cenis is too dangerous, if there is ice and snow on the road.

  86. 1343: 

    Today's stage is already under way and the riders are currently on their way up to the 2,094m summit at the top of Col du Mont Cenis, which comes after 58km. They have got about 6km to go until they get to the top.

    No attacks yet, and the riders seem to be taking things extremely easy. You cannot blame them. It is dry, for once, but temperatures are still below freezing.

  87. 1341: 
    A shortened stage
    The memorial to Marco Pantani at Valloire

    Fingers crossed, we we will see rather more of today's action, which sees the Giro briefly leave Italy for France, although melting snow and fear of avalanches means 4.25km has been lopped off the end of the stage, meaning it finishes at the glass Marco Pantani memorial on les Granges du Galibier, rather than at the top of one of professional cycling's most formidable peaks.

  88. 1338:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader
    Giro leader Vincenzo Nibali

    That thrilling finish - made even more dramatic because we had so little idea of what was happening - has left the top of the general classification looking like this after 14 of the 21 stages. Vincenzo Nibali has been in the maglia rosa since taking the race lead on stage eight, and his hopes of staying in pink until the race ends in Brescia in a week's time look stronger by the day.

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 57:20:52"

    2. Cadel Evans (Australia/BMC Racing) +1:26"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/Team Sky) +2:46"

    4. Mauro Santambrogio (Italy/Vini Fantini) +2:47"

    5. Michele Scarponi (Italy/Lampre) +3:53"

  89. 1334: 
    Who's that coming over the hill? Is it Nibali, is it Nibali?
    Cadel Evans appears out of the gloom at the end of stage 14

    Here is a picture that tells you a little about the nature of stage 14, which I described yesterday as "the best Giro stage that nobody saw".

    Overall leader Vincenzo Nibali attacked with 1km to go and was first to appear out of the mountain mist at the finish line, at the top of a steep climb up Jafferau. He was followed by second-placed Cadel Evans, who is pictured here in the gloom near the end of the stage, being chased up the hill by a man wearing what appears to be a horse costume. Evans finished 30 seconds back, as did another contender for the maglia rosa, Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran.

  90. 1330: 
    Italy up

    Hello. I bring mixed news at the start of our coverage of stage 15 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia. The snow and risk of avalanches means we will NOT finish on top of the legendary Col du Galibier today, WHICH IS A SHAME.

    However, the clear skies in the Alps (at the moment) mean the TV helicopters have got off the ground, and we will (hopefully) have normal coverage of today's racing. Those of you who spent Saturday afternoon in my company, when there was little or no information about what was happening during a 180km stage until the riders got within 500 metres of the finish, will know this is a VERY GOOD THING INDEED.

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