Italy’s world time-trial champion Filippo Ganna continued his sparkling form on Saturday by winning the 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia, while Joao Almeida tightened his grip on the leader’s pink jersey.
Ineos rider Ganna claimed his third stage win in this year’s race over 34.1km through Italy’s Prosecco wine region.
Ganna clocked 42min 40sec in Saturday’s individual time-trial, with Australian teammate Rohan Dennis second fastest at 26sec and American Brandon McNulty third at 1min 9sec.
“I’m proud of this third victory in the Giro!” said 24-year-old, who has six wins this season including five time-trials.
“This year I’ve improved a lot thanks to the help of my team.
“Every little improvement is important and contributes to performances such as this one today”.
The rider from the northern Piedmont region won his first world road race title in Imola last month, and in the Giro was fastest in opening time-trial in Palermo and the moderately mountainous fifth stage in Calabria.
Almeida, sixth on the stage at 1min 31sec, has been leading from the front since stage three.
The Portuguese gained another 16 seconds on second-placed Dutchman Wilco Kelderman, who drops to 56 seconds adrift on the eve of the summit finish in Piancavallo.
“It was a good day,” said Almeida.
“I did a good ITT and now I have a few seconds more on Wilco Kelderman in the general classification.
“I hope to continue like this, I feel good.”
UAE Team Emirates’ McNulty, 22, moves up to fourth overall, ahead of two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali, who dropped to 2min 30sec in the overall standings.
Nibali also lost Trek-Segafredo teammate, Italian climb specialist Giulio Ciccone, before the mountains.
Former Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Ciccone pulled out of the race before the start with bronchitis-like symptoms.
However, all 512 coronavirus tests carried out on the 20 teams and staff came back negative, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said before the stage.
Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma have pulled out of the three-week race, which ends on October 25 in Milan, after eight positive tests were recorded.
On Sunday, the Giro returns to altitude in the 15th stage which arrives at the Piancavallo ski resort in the Friulian Dolomites after 185km, with three second category mountains preceding the final 14.5km climb.