26/05/15 - 5:55 PM
Pinzolo - Aprica
Giro d'Italia • Stage16

Pinzolo - Aprica
Giro d'Italia - 26 May 2015

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 17:55 on 26 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Contador has now extended his lead to 4:02 on the overall standings - but it's not Aru, but that man Landa who is his nearest opponent. Aru drops to third place a further 50 seconds back. What a brilliant stage - Contador showed just why he is the best stage racer of his generation, but we also saw Landa underline his promise with a second emphatic stage win...


Fabio Aru (Astana) crosses the line 2:49 down on his team-mate Mikel Landa, his face a picture of pain. Damiano Caruso (BMC) takes eighth ahead of a small group containing Konig (Sky), Betancur (Ag2R) and Geniez (FDJ).


Yuri Trofimov (Katusha) outsprints Andre Amador (Movistar) for fourth, about two minutes down on the winner. Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) rides over for sixth.


Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) pips Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) for second place, but the Spaniard will extend his lead in the pink jersey today. The gap was 38 seconds.


Mikel Landa (Astana) zips up his jersey and raises his arms as he crosses the line to take his second - and his team's third - win of this Giro d'Italia.


In to Aprica rides Landa - and the win is his, for sure.


Landa could well leapfrog Aru into second place tonight - and force a change of leadership at Astana.


It looks like Contador and Kruijswijk have no answer to that attack - and Landa will take the win. But the closer he gets to a win, the more damage he does to his team-mate, Aru. Remember, there are also bonus seconds available at the finish...


Landa has shed both Contador and Kruijswijk - he's got a large gap now. Second successive win for the Astana climber?


Another dig from Kruijswijk - and he forces Landa to do the chasing - and the Spaniard then puts in an attack of his own! Contador covers it, and Kruijswijk has to dig deep.


Contador sits on the back for the first time. It's stalemate out there, with everyone riding at the same pace. The Amador-Hesjedal-Trofimov chase group is 1:10 down, and Aru 1:45 down. Kruijswijk momentarily rides clear of shadow boxing Contador and Landa.


Kruijswijk and Contador are taking it in turns on the front, with Landa doing nothing. The Astana rider could exploit that by taking a second stage win - but you sense that Contador won't let this one go.


Aru has reduced the gap a little, but you get the impression that Contador will really throw down the hammer towards the end of this stage. He will be 4min+ ahead on the overall standings tonight.


Aru's face is a picture of pain and suffering as he continues his lone pursuit of the two leading groups. He's 1:50 down still, with Hesjedal, Trofimov and Amador now 1:15 behind.


Now Contador starts to drive the pace with those trademark unseated surges. Is there anyone as elegant on a bike as the Spaniard - especially in pink.


Aru is 1:55 down on the leaders but making his way back onto the wheels of Hesjedal and Amador. It's not raining but the road is wet.


Trofimov is joined by Hesjedal and Amador. On the front, it's still Kruijswijk who sets the pace.


The leading trio has just started the final Cat.3 climb to the finish in Aprica - this is the second time they have tackled this climb today and so they know exactly what to expect.


So, the gaps are as follows: Contador, Landa and Kruijswijk have 1:12 on Trofimov, 1:35 on Hesjedal and Amador and 1:47 on Aru, who is riding solo after that puncture.


Mechanical for Aru: aftyer all that, Aru needs a new bike. Exactly what he didn't want there. Sean Kelly reckons it was a rear puncture - and replays show that he's right. Now bike throw there from the Italian, who places his steed on the side of the road before picking up a fresh Specialized from the roof of his Astana team car.


There's still another 10km of this descent to go - and Aru and Amador have managed to shave 30 seconds off the leaders' advantage so far.


It's raining again now - which is why this leading trio is taking no risks, hence the time gaps coming down.


Aru is back with Amador on this descent, while Trofimov has dropped Hesjedal. The Russian is 35 seconds down on the leading trio, who lead Aru by 1:40.


Contador driving the pace on this descent - surely today's the day he gets that elusive Giro stage win?


Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) crosses the summit of the Passo del Mortirolo in pole position ahead of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Mikel Landa (Astana). Yuri Trofimov (Katusha) and Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) cross at 55 seconds. Andre Amador (Movistar) passes at 1:45 and Fabio Aru (Astana) at 1:55.


Andre Amador is the latest rider to catch and pass Fabio Aru. The Italian white jersey is in crisis today - and he's slipping off the podium.


And now it's snowing on the Mortirolo! Epic stuff here - and Kruijswijk could be riding himself into the blue jersey...


Still it's Kruijswijk who sets the pace with Contador in his wheel. Landa is doing nothing - but that's because his man Aru is 1:35 behind and pedalling squares.


The gap is getting bigger for Aru: 1'20 now, with still 2km of climbs and a long descent to go, not to mention the final climb to Aprica.


Could it be a bonk? Aru is taking on more gels and bars from the Astana team car. You'd think he'd have learned from last week on Monte Berico...


Aru pops a gel but it's probably too little too late. He's a minute down, while Hesjedal and Trofimov 35 seconds down on the three leaders, Contador, Landa and Kruijswijk.


Aru is almost a minute back now, pedalling squares on this, the Montagna Pantani.


Hesjedal's in a good rhythm and has almost caught Trofimov now.


Aru now caught and passed by Hesjedal. That must hurt as much as the mountain.


After sitting on Aru for a few kilometres, Trofimov now attacks - and he drops him. The white jersey is running out of gas. Hesjedal will be next to catch him.


Kruijswijk has been caught. Aru is 16 second down.


Landa has gone with Contador, but Aru and Trofimov can't keep up with the pace. The gaps are minimal, mind. Kruijswijk has about 10 seconds on Contador and Landa, who in turn have about 5 seconds on Aru and Trofimov, while Hesjedal leads the chase behind.


Bravo to Trofimov, who catches the three leaders as the pace drops. And then Contador attacks! And that was a pure vanity attack by Contador, waiting until there's a photographer poised to take a snap before dancing on the pedals.


Contador has now caught the Astana duo of Aru and Landa. That could well break the Italian in the white jersey. Landa still sets the pace. Aru looks absolutely cooked.


Contador passes Hesjedal and has Trofimov on his wheel. They round a bend and can see the three leaders up front. Landa has eased off to help pace Aru, and Kruijswijk rides clear. The Dutchman has had a very, very encouraging Giro.


Aru, the white jersey, is really struggling now. He's been momentarily dropped by Landa and Kruijswijk - and Astana have a big decision to make here.


Landa looks to be tiring out Aru with his pace - the italian is struggling to keep up with the Spaniard's pace. Contador, meanwhile, has passed Konig and now has Trofimov and Hesjedal in his sights. Fascinating stuff. I reckon the Spaniard will catch them and then win the stage.


Anton paces Contador back to another small group, which includes Anton's Movistar team-mate Andre Amador, who seems to be struggling. After his brief respite, Contador jumps out of the saddle and powers clear. He now has Konig in his sights.


Trofimov is struggling to hold on. Confirmation that Hesjedal was caught in that earlier flurry by Astana. Kruijswijk is going strong - such a shame he lost so much time in the opening week. Just the three leaders now - Landa, Aru and the Dutchman. Contador is 42 seconds down and has joined compatriot Igor Anton (Movistar) soe a bit of pacing.


The gap is still 39 seconds for Aru over Contador. The Italian has Landa with him, plus Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and one Katusha rider, that man Yuri Trofimov.


In all the drama, everyone seems to have forgotten about the lone leader Ryder Hesjedal - including the cameramen. In fact, it's unclear if the Canadian is still out ahead or not.


Contador, the pink jersey, is picking rides off one by one as he bids to return to the front of the race. Back with the main group, and Mikel Landa is the only Astana rider left for Fabio Aru.


We're onto the Passo del Mortirolo - 13km long with a maximum gradient of 18% and regular sections of 12%. And Contador has dropped both his team-mates Kreuziger and Boaro: the pink jersey is on his own and fighting back. He has a BMC rider and an Etixx rider with him, Uran I think, plus the blue jersey of compatriot Benat Intxausti (Movistar). But they are quickly dropped...


The gap is growing ahead of the climb. It's 50 second now as Luis Leon Sanchez comes to the front for Astana. Fascinating stuff.


It's not Rogers, but Kreuziger, who is pacing Contador back. The Czech is completely burying himself for his team leader, while Astana and Katusha combine to drive the pace on the front of the race. Still 45 seconds separate the groups - and it's quite controversial given Contador dropped back because of a puncture... Another Tinkoff-Saxo rider has dropped back from the first group - could it be Tossato? No, it's Boaro.


The Astana-led chasing group have joined the Katusha-led chase group. They are 35 seconds down on lone leader Hesjedal, whiole the Tinkoff-Saxo-led group is another 30 seconds back. Apparently he punctured on the last descent - according to Oleg Tinkodd on Twitter - and it appears that he has but one team-mate alongside him, Mick Rogers.


Hesjedal has30 seconds on the Katusha-led chasing group, 45 seconds on the Aru group and 1:20 on the maglia rosa group. The Canadian is approaching the start of the Mortirolo.


The likes of Aru (with three team-mates), Konig and Amador are all in the main lead group and have about 40 seconds on the Contador group chasing back on. This won't be the best way for the maglia rosa to start the Mortirolo. Those three Katusha riders have joined the remnants of the breakaway. The only man up ahead is Hesjedal...


Meanwhile, three Katusha riders have opened up a gap on the front and - at the foot of this climb - have almost caught the chasers. And wow, look at that: aerial images show the race split into about six different groups - with Contador, after that issue, in the back group, and Aru in the second group... Interesting.


Slighty issue for Contador, who appears to have dropped back for some reason. Perhap she needed a wheel change or had a mechanical?


One rider who has come down is Diego Rosa of Astana, who loses his grip on fresh tarmac on a bend before landing spread-eagled on his front. It looks like one rider then runs over his fingers just for good measure. The Italian is back up and, after a small chain issue, on his way.


How Hesjedal has not come a cropper on this descent is beyond me: he takes one bend very wide, almost clobbering into the barriers, then hits a pothole while riding with one hand behind his back rummaging around his pockets, then had to unclip on a left-hander over over cooking another turn. He's living life dangerously...


Quite a few potholes in this fast descent. Katusha have taken up the reins on the front of the pack, working for their man Yuri Trofimov.


Hesjedal rides down the finish straight for the first time in Aprica. He's in time trial mode now as he looks to open up his lead ahead of the descent to the foot of the Mortirolo. The break passes through 1:04 down on the lone leader, so it looks like the other escapees are slipping back fast. The pack, which is still quite large, comes over the line 2:08. And it's Ivan Basso, the Italian veteran at Tinkoff-Saxo, who leads them over. The likes of Astana, Movistar and Katusha are all near the front too.


Hesjedal has 30 seconds on the chasing group and 1:55 over the maglia rosa group.


One of the Bardiani-CSF riders off the back of the pelotol has got their rain jacket caught in his spokes. That's always the peril of derobing while riding. The rain, you see, has eased off and it looks to have cleared.


Ryder Hesjedal is clearly on a good day: the Cannondale-Garmin rider - winner of the 2012 Giro, lest you forget - has broken clear of his fellow escapees. Probably the right move: something needed to be done, what with the gap coming down fast.


Ryder Hesjedal leads the break through the intermediate sprint - they're almost half way through this climb. The gap is down to 1:43 thanks to the pace-setting of Tinkoff-Saxo.


It's all Tinkoff-Saxo on the front for their man Alberto Contador, whose pink jersey is partially obscured by an unzipped black rain jacket. They seem determined not to let Astana dictate play today as they did on Sunday's first stage in the Alps.


The 11 leaders start the Cat.3 climb to Aprica - the first of two ascents, the second being the final. It's only about 10km long and has a maximum gradient of 6% and so most of the damage today will be done on the climb that splits this dual ascent - the Mortirolo. The gap is currently 2:30.


The leaders pass through the feed zone at Edolo. They've now completed this long descent and will soon start the climb to Aprica. En route, there will be the first of two intermediate sprints.


The likes of Hesjedal, Pellizotti, Zardini and Clarke have been fairly active in this year's Giro - especially the Italian veteran from Androni Sidermec, who almost won the stage last week when Paolo Tiralongo came through to take the spoils. The gap is 2:20 for these 11 leaders.


The rain looks to have eased up a little as this break continue this long descent towards the feed zone and the start of the first ascent to Aprica. Very localised showers, it seems, because the peloton are being thoroughly poured on whereas the break is in sun and on dry roads - even though the gap is just two minutes.


We pick up the race live now midway through the descent of the Tonale. Tinkoff-Saxo are controlling matters for the pink jersey and the 11-man break have almost two minutes advantage to play with ahead of those two ascents to Aprica, which sandwich the meat filling that is the Mortirolo.


It's Ruben Fernandez, the Movistar team-mate of blue jersey Benat Intxausti, who takes maximum points over the summit of the Passo del Tonale. They have about 1:30 over the peloton and lone chaser Simon Clarke has almost bridged over.


Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEdge) was chasing down the lead group on the Passo Tonale. His team tried something with Esteban Chaves earlier on - in that move with Geschke - but it didn't work out.


A group of 11 riders formed after the descent ahead of the second climb. They were: Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal), Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Sidermec), Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), David de la Cruz (Etixx-QuickStep), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC).


Carlos Betancur (Ag2rR-La Mondiale) took maximum points over the top ahead of Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Sidermec) and Benat Intxausti (Movistar).


A number of riders tried their luck soon after the start, including Simon Geschke (Giant Alpecin) who is a threat to Benat Intxausti's blue KOM jersey. But it was no can do. Meanwhile, a group of riders were distanced early - including the red jersey Elia Viviani (Team Sky).


It was almost straight away onto the first of today's five climbs, the Cat.2 Campo Carlo Magno.


The remaining 174 riders rolled out of Pinzolo at midday UK time under light rain.


Many believe that the race for the pink jersey is over - but we still have six stages to go, just the one of which is a processional roll into Milan. If Astana can pile on the pressure early on, then attack the isolated Spaniard on the Mortirolo today, then we could see some fireworks. It's likely that they will try - but debatable if they can succeed. Contador does indeed look very, strong - certainly far stronger than any of the comptition out there.


Porte's withdrawal opens the door to team-mate Leopold Konig, who is currently fifth on GC at 6:36. If only the Czech rider hadn't crashed and lost two minutes last week - then he'd be right up in the mix in the battle for a podium finish. A reminder that Spain's Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) leads the race by 2:35 over Italy's Fabio Aru (Astana) and 4:19 over Costa Rica's Andre Amador (Movistar).


The big news from the rest day was the withdrawal of Team Sky's Richie Porte, who decided to call it a day after a horror second week saw him puncture, crash, plummet down the standings and injure his knee. The Australian failed to stop the rot in the ITT and then shipped a hefty slice of time in the opening Alpine stage to drop to almost 36 minutes down on GC. He'll now concentrate on getting fit in time to help Chris Froome's Tour de France campaign.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia, a 177km mountainous slog from Pinzolo to Aprica that features the fearsome Mortirolo pass and four other categorised peaks in the Alps.