Victor Campenaerts sprints to Giro d’Italia stage win after huge early crash

Victor Campenaerts won the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia at the end of a breakaway, a 147km bumpy ride from Grado as the Colombian Egan Bernal retained the maglia rosa on Sunday. But the drama began early on when Emanuel Buchmann’s hopes ended in a mass pile-up that forced organisers to neutralise the race for 15 minutes inside the opening three kilometres.

Campenaerts, who rides for Team Qhubeka Assos, sealed the win by outsprinting his breakaway companion Oscar Riesebeek after the duo had had attacked from a breakaway approaching the final climb, with the rain falling heavily.

The stage which concluded with 2019 Tour de France champion Bernal keeping the lead with a 93-second advantage over Simon Yates, who is in turn 18 seconds behind Damiano Caruso. Nikias Arndt won a sprint for third, seven seconds behind Campenaerts.

After a punishing 14th stage to the Monte Zoncolan, the peloton let the 15-man breakaway loose on what appeared to be a recovery ride for most of the overall contenders after a crash-hit start. A huge early collision meant several riders had to get medical attention at the side of the road and there were numerous bicycle changes.

Riders react after a big early crash.
Riders react after a big early crash. Photograph: Luca Bettini/AFP/Getty Images

Buchmann, who was sixth overall, abandoned alongside Jos van Emden. Also forced to abandon was and Natnael Berhane, with Portugal’s Ruben Guerreiro withdrawing later after find himself unable to cope with the pace of the peloton.

Monday’s 16th stage is the Giro’s toughest leg. The so-called queen stage includes nearly 6,000m of climbing over the Passo Fedaia, the Passo Pordoi and the Passo Giau in the Dolomites before the descent to the finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo. At 2,239 meters, the Passo Pordoi is also the race’s highest point.