Giro stage 13: Modolo the home hero as Contador slips out of pink

It was supposed to be an innocuous transition stage at the Giro d’Italia. With not a classified climb in sight on the short 147km trip across Veneto, it looked like it would have no bearing on the general classification whatsoever. How wrong we were. A crash near the finish of the stage caught a significant chunk of the peloton out, allowing Sacha Modolo to take the stage win and, more importantly, Fabio Aru to overtake Alberto Contador and seize the maglia rosa.

Rider of the day

It’s quite difficult to choose a rider of the day on a stage that wasn’t particularly notable but for a big crash. The upshot is that we’re giving the prize to stage winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), who just hung on to take his first ever Giro victory in his first season at Lampre. Adding to the joy is that he’s originally from Conegliano, in the same region that today’s stage crossed. Considering his sprint credentials, it’s quite remarkable that Modolo has never won here at the Giro and it seems pretty unlikely that this will be the last.

Finally I’ve won a stage. My great companion, colleague and friend, Max Richeze, gave me the perfect lead-out, and I just finished off the work of my team. At Fiuggi, I was disappointed with myself. At Forlì the breakaway made it so I didn’t get the chance to sprint, so it was destiny that I would win my home stage. I have so many friends standing at the barriers from San Vendemiano, my home village, that this experience is unforgettable.

Three things we noticed

1. The clichés are trueThey say that in cycling you can never afford to lose concentration for a second, and this stage showed that as much as anything else. The mental endurance required to ride a three-week race is perhaps underestimated by the armchair supporter – as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) today found out the hard way, it only takes a split second for the dynamics of the competition to change completely. The peloton certainly won’t be upset when the drizzle subsides and the surfaces dry out, as the weather is continuing to make things all the more twitchy out on the road.

2. Nizzolo is getting closerTrek’s Giacomo Nizzolo has looked perilously close to a big breakout season for so long that we’d started to wonder if it’s ever going to come at all. He’s now 26 years old, and only has one WorldTour victory to his name – a stage of the 2012 Eneco Tour. However, he impressed in today’s stage, winning the intermediate sprint and just mistiming his final move at the finish in Jesolo. Had he moved a fraction earlier, he could have won. Like Modolo, he looks a pretty opportunistic sprinter, who lacks the raw pace of the likes of Marcel Kittel but can make up for it with inventiveness in the finale. Hopefully he’ll break his duck in the not-too-distant future.

3. Poor PorteRichie Porte (Sky) is having an utterly miserable time at this race, and today things went from bad to worse. He lost two minutes in the crash just outside the final 3km – compared with Contador who lost just 40 seconds. He apparently finished the race on the bike of his teammate Vasil Kiryienka, whose frame was much too big for the diminutive Australian. Stop laughing at the back.

Stage 13 result

1. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) 3:03:08

2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) same time

3. Elia Viviani (Sky) s/t

4. Alexander Porsev (Katusha) s/t

5. Eduard Michael Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) s/t

General classification

1. Fabio Aru (Astana) 54:20:35

2. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) +0:19

3. Mikel Landa (Astana) +1:14

4. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) +1:38

5. Dario Cataldo (Astana) +1:49

6. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step) +2:02

7. Damiano Caruso (BMC) +2:12

8. Andrey Amador (Movistar) +2:21

9. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) +2:40

10. Yury Trofimov (Katusha) +3:15

Points leader: Elia Viviani (Sky).

King of the Mountains leader: Benat Intxausti (Movistar).

Best young rider: Fabio Aru (Astana).

Team classification: Astana.

Link: Official race website

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