American McNulty wins tight Giro sprint
Brandon McNulty of the United States won stage 15 of the Giro d'Italia in Bergamo on Sunday in a three-up sprint following a long breakaway.
It was a first win on a Grand Tour for the 25-year-old from Phoenix, who took advantage of his powerful build to clinch the sprint.
Team UAE rider McNulty, Irish EF rider Ben Healy and Marco Frigo of Israel Premier-Tech dropped the peloton on the last of four climbs before a tearaway run to the finish.
"It all came together today. I'm so happy. In the end it came down to that last kick and then the sprint. At 150 or 200m I just went for it," said McNulty, on his fourth Grand Tour.
The 195km stage culminated in a steep climb into the old town where the main peloton raced across the line almost seven minutes adrift.
French rider Bruno Armirail kept the leader's pink jersey despite losing 25 seconds of his lead.
He leads Ineos veteran Geraint Thomas in second place by 1min 08sec. Thomas, meanwhile, has a two-second edge on Primoz Roglic in third.
Thymen Arensman of Ineos said the British team, down to six riders, had a peaceful day.
"G (Thomas) showed he is in good shape and we were there to support him. Today was a good day," said the 23-year-old Dutchman who sits ninth in the overall.
"We are looking forwards to this hard finish they have planned for us."
So far 45 riders have already pulled out of this year's Giro either through illness or falls with just 132 still in line to finish on Sunday.
Monday is a rest day for the peloton with much of the attention currently focussed on a press conference from Mark Cavendish, 38 on Sunday, amd thought to be on the verge of announcing his retirement.
The prickly Manxman will almost certainly ride one last Tour de France in July.
The remainder of the peloton resume Tuesday with a medium mountain stage 16 run to Monte Bondone.
Wednesday should be the last opportunity for the remaining sprint specialists before two mountainous stages and the decisive individual time trial on a mountainside next Saturday.