After fifteen stages, the 99th Giro d’Italia remains fascinating. Has Steven Kruijswijk already won it?, wonder the critics who underestimated him at the time of naming the pre-race favourites. The Dutchman has an advantage of 2’12” over up and coming Maglia Rosa contender Esteban Chaves whose popularity is on the rise all over the planet, 2’51” over Vincenzo Nibali who is urged by the tifosi to make it up for the time lost on the uphill time trial to Alpe di Siusi, and 3’29” over Alejandro Valverde who went through mixed feelings during the weekend of hard racing in the natural beauty of the Dolomites.
The Alps are yet to come and the highest altitudes are yet to be reached. In its second week, a few of the GC contenders were forced to pull out of the Giro d’Italia due to sickness: Mikel Landa, Tom Dumoulin and Ryder Hesjedal. Underdogs Rafal Majka, Ilnur Zakarin and Bob Jungels who came of age haven’t said their last word as they still eye at the final podium on May 29 in Turin.
After the last rest day in Trentino Alto Adige, stage 16 will depart from Bressanone/Brixen to arrive in Andalo after a relatively short day: 132km.