Giro d'Italia: Steven Kruijswijk extends lead on stage 15 time trial
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 22/05/16 11:01pm
Steven Kruijswijk extended his lead of the Giro d'Italia after rival Vincenzo Nibali suffered a major collapse on stage 15's individual mountain time trial.
Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) produced a superb performance to set the second-fastest time on the 10.8km climb to Alpe di Siusi, a fraction of a second behind winner Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo) but a huge 2min 10sec ahead of woefully out-of-sorts Nibali (Astana).
Having been 30 seconds down on Kruijswijk at the 4.4km intermediate split, the Italian continued to haemorrhage time in the middle section of the climb and his crisis then deepened when he shed his chain and had to stop for a bike change.
Nibali started the day 41 seconds down on Kruijswijk, but he is now 2min 51sec adrift and has been replaced in second place by Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), who finished 40 seconds down on the pink jersey on the day and is now 2min 12sec back overall.
The only overall contender to keep some semblance of pace with the outstanding Kruijswijk was Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who finished 23 seconds down in third place on the day and is now 3min 29sec back in fourth overall.
Kruijswijk said: "This morning, I was hoping I could keep the pink jersey and it did really not matter with how many seconds. I never thought that I could increase my lead in the standings.
"I'm in shape and I feel good. It's nice to have this feeling before the heavy final week. I am definitely a contender for the victory. Even I believe it after today."
Foliforov, meanwhile, claimed the biggest win of his career by stopping the clock in 28min 39sec, narrowly ahead of Kruijswijk.
The 24-year-old Russian told Eurosport: "I don't know how I can win. It's unbelievable. It's like a dream for me. Yesterday I tried to keep my strength and in the last kilometres and I was thinking only about this race."
Giro talking points
Why the fight for pink isn't over and why Steven Kruijswijk isn't a bolt from the blue
Monday is a rest day, but the Giro continues with a mountainous 132km 16th stage from Bressanone to Andalo on Tuesday. Find out more about the stage in our race guide.
Stage 15 result
1 Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom RusVelo, 28:39
2 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, same time
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +23sec
4 Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom RusVelo, +30
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana, +36
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, 40
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, +47
8 Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale, +52
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step, +1:04
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, +1:09
1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, 60:41:22
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, +2:12
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +2:51
4 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +3:29
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, +4:38
6 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, +4:40
7 Andrey Amador (Cos) Movistar, +5:27
8 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step, +7:14
9 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data, +7:37
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +7:55