Stage 13 – Savona to Cervere, 121km
Stage profile: The first 30km or so of this short stage are uncomfortably steep for the sprinters, but thereafter it should all come back together for a bunch sprint.
Top three: 1. Mark Cavendish (Sky), 2. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), 3. Mark Renshaw (Rabobank).
Who was in the breakaway?: Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) and Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) took 5½ minutes out of the peloton at one point, but on this final day before the big mountains their escape was always doomed and it was gruppo compatto just over 20km from home.
How the stage was won: Working for points leader Mark Cavendish, Sky left their move to the front of the peloton until inside the final 4km on a long, straight run-in punctuated only by a single roundabout just inside 3km which everyone safely negotiated. Saxo Bank, looking to set up J J Haedo, briefly took over but it was Cavendish’s train which reasserted itself as the bunch sped under the flamme rouge. With 700 metres to go, Orica-GreenEDGE moved up the outside, inadvertently baulking Cav’s pilot fish Geraint Thomas. The world champion immediately switched over on to the wheel of Garmin’s Robbie Hunter but had to wait patiently before following Matt Goss‘ sprint. He was forced to briefly free-wheel until the space opened up for him to apply his trademark finishing burst and surge clear of all his rivals to win by a bike length. It was a fantastic display of positional awareness and race-craft by the Manxman.
Quote of the day: Despite the pre-race expectation that he would leave the race before the big climbs which dominate the final eight stages, Cavendish suggested he may not be finished with the Giro just yet:
I came to the Giro d’Italia 100% determined to go all the way to Milan. I wanted to win the red [points] jersey. Because of the crashes, the red jersey went out of the window a little bit. But I’ve recovered now and I’m feeling okay. As long as I don’t miss the time cut, I don’t see myself going home just yet.
The way he has contested the intermediate sprints supports the theory that he will continue. Should he win the points competition, he will complete the set of sprinters’ jerseys at the three Grand Tours.
Odd occurrences: Not so much an odd occurrence as a statistical oddity. It should have come as little surprise that Cavendish won today: it was the third time he has won stage 13 at the Giro, and he is the only rider ever to have won stage 13 at the Giro, Tour and Vuelta.
VeloVoices rider of the stage: Martijn Keizer, who has kept us all entertained during this middle phase of the Giro by getting himself into the day’s breakaway on practically every stage.
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) 54:21:15
2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17
3. Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) +0:26
4. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:32
5. Ivan Santaromita (BMC) +0:49
Points leader: Mark Cavendish (Sky).
King of the Mountains leader: Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).
Tomorrow: Stage 14 – Cherasco to Cervinia, 206km. The first high mountains stage features the first category one climbs of this year’s race. It’s flat for 130km before the peloton tackles the Col de Joux (22.4km, with a 5.8% average gradient) ahead of the final 27km ascent to the Cervinia ski resort. The average gradient here is ‘only’ 5.5%, but it is constantly varying – the climb comprises three steeper sections followed by three flatter ones. The steepest slopes can be found just after kilometre 16, which could provide the platform for a decisive long attack. The race won’t be won here but by the summit several contenders could find themselves effectively out of the running for the maglia rosa.
Cycling the Alps‘ interactive videos of the route can be found here.
Link: Official website