After the field experienced a major stage route tweak due to inclement weather, Giovanni Visconti took Stage 15 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia in runaway fashion to end another exciting day of cycling in the mountains of Italy.
The official Giro d'Italia Twitter account posted the winner as well as the top three finishers for Sunday's action.
Giro d'Italia @giroditalia
Giovanni Visconti wins stage 15 of Giro d'Italia / Giovanni Visconti vince la tappa 15 del Giro d'Italia #giro5/19/2013, 3:42:54 PM
Giro d'Italia @giroditalia
1) Visconti 2) Betancur 3) Niemiec #giro5/19/2013, 3:44:34 PM
Despite ending Stage 15 outside the top finishers, overall leader Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana team maintained his lead over the field. Australian star Cadel Evans remains in second behind him, but he's now one minute and 26 seconds behind the leader.
But Sunday belonged to the stage winner, Visconti. The Movistar team cyclist maintained a tight lead that was threatened late by Nibali and Evans, who both made late pushes. It didn't matter, though, as Visconti beat the field by 42 seconds.
Weather nearly forced the tour crew to scrap dozens of kilometers of the race, but they were able to clean off enough of the roads to make for a minimal detour. It was previously announced (h/t Gregor Brown of Cycling Weekly) that the course would be cut by 18.1 kilometers, but that was eventually retracted to 4.25km.
With non-ideal conditions surrounding the cyclists, it's fortunate that all of the riders remained safe and the top cyclists were still able to post strong performances.
Stage 15 Results
|2||Carlos A. Betancur Gomez||Ag2r-La Mondiale||Colombia||+:42|
|3||Niemiec Przemyslaw||Lampre-Merida ||Poland||+:42|
|5||Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo||UCI Colombia||Colombia||+:47|
|6||Michele Scarponi||Lampre-Merida ||Italy||+:54|
|9||Mauro Santambrogio||Vini Fantini/SelleItalia ||Italy||+:54|
|10||Rigoberto Uran Uran||Sky||Colombia||+:54|
For a complete list of Stage 15 results, visit the race's official site.
*Route modified 4.25 kilometers for weather (via Cycling Weekly)
To see where every cyclist stands after 14 stages, visit the race's official site.
Recap and Updates
Stage 15 was supposed to bring with it a major shakeup, as massive amounts of snow poured down and the conditions were expected to be detrimental.
However, we saw the overall leaderboard hardly change at all, with some of the top finishers not gaining any ground on the leader.
Nibali seems to be running away with the Giro d'Italia, as he's able to stave off a late run from Cadel Evans every time he attempts to do so. He's not continuing to add to his lead, but he's racing just steady enough to hold off the field and maintain a lead of more than one minute.
However, it only takes one poor stage for Nibali's lead to be at risk, and there's no doubt that Evans has what it takes to come back and claim victory for Australia.
Unfortunately for stage-winner Visconti, his epic performance Sunday will be overshadowed by Nibali and Evans as they continue to distance themselves from the pack as the two lone contenders for the title.
Visconti's ability to beat out second place by 42 seconds is nothing short of miraculous, as most of the stages so far have either been tied or won by just a few seconds.