Close second place for Dario Cataldo on stage 14 as he is passed by Enrico Bataglin in final metres

Sky left Richie Porte at home and aimed its other stars Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome at the Tour de France, leaving the Giro d’Italia open to opportunists. Dario Cataldo tried on one of the toughest stages, attacked on the last climb to the Oropa Sanctuary and failed only metres from the line.

“It would’ve been big for Sky given that we are here for stage wins,” the Italian told Cycling Weekly. “It’s a shame, but we have to try again, from here to Trieste.”

Cataldo tried it all on the 11.8-kilometre climb north of Turin near Ivrea in Italy’s northwest. He escaped, helped pull back solo rider Albert Timmer, dropped him and dealt with Colombian companion Jarlinson Pantano.

Through the final left bend at 250 metres he led in his black and blue team kit. Pantano began to catch up. They duelled to the line but a green flash surprised them: Enrico Battaglin in Bardiani’s colours. The Italian won last year’s stage to Serra San Bruno and, for the tech enthusiasts, rode Campagnolo’s new prototype groupset to its first win today.

“We thought that we had it, we believed from the first kilometres when we were in 21. I tried in every way possible, so I can’t be too upset with myself,” Cataldo said.

“I took that last curve at the front because I knew there’d be pavé and then the sprint, where it’d be hard for someone else to regain and catch me. It was longer than I expected, honestly. Those 250 metres that never seemed to end.

“Battaglin? I wish I knew that Enrico Battaglin was coming because he is truly fast. I knew about Mattia Cattaneo, who joined us late, but Battaglin came from nowhere when I was just focusing on the other two with me.”

The second place matches team Sky’s result in Dublin when the Giro was in its third day. Ben Swift bolted to the line after Edvald Boasson Hagen led out and had a good gap, but Marcel Kittel caught back up to the Brit after caught behind his rivals.

“It was my turn today,” Cataldo said, still wiping the sweat from his face. “Sky is here for stages. It’s my turn in the mountains. I’ll keep trying from now until the end of the Giro.”