Giro d’Italia: Rigoberto Urán wins on Altopiano del Montasio as Nibali contains his rivals
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Rigoberto Urán wins on Altopiano del Montasio as Nibali contains his rivals

by Ben Atkins at 11:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Team Sky goes on the offensive but Wiggins drops time on the steep mountain finish

Rigoberto UranRigoberto Urán (Team Sky) won the tenth stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, between Cordenons and Altopiano del Montasio, with a solo attack as the race hit the high mountains for the first time. The Colombian jumped clear of the shrinking Maglia Rosa group with eight kilometres of the steep final climb to go, and managed to hold off the big names behind him as they began to attack one another.

Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) escaped the chasing group with less than two kilometres to go, but had no chance of closing the gap to Urán and crossed the line 20 seconds behind him to take his second straight second place. Leading the first group of contenders, Maglia Rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) outsprinted Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) after 31 seconds, to take third place and the final eight second time bonus on offer.

"I’m very happy to have taken the win today,’ said Urán afterwards. “It is the first win for me in a Grand Tour and it is very satisfying after getting so close before. It nice to finally be able to finish off a victory.

“It is doubly special as it came after such a strong ride from the team,” he added. “It was always the plan for me to attack on the climb and things went to plan. The team rode incredibly all day.”

Having put Nibali’s Astana team under pressure on the 167km stage’s two 1st category climbs, however, Team Sky’s leader Bradley Wiggins was unable to hold on the the Maglia Rosa group as the road steepened to up to 20% in the final four kilometres. The Tour de France winner finished 1’08” behind teammate Urán, losing more than half a minute to his overall rivals.

“The result has meant I have jumped up a few positions on the general classification so now I am one second in front of Brad,” Urán said. “That is a good position to be in for me and for the team to have two riders there.

"There is still such a long way to go in this Giro but today we showed that we have one of the strongest teams in the race, if not the strongest,” the Colombian added.

The stage began with a group of 13 riders getting away, and managing to get eight minutes clear after the first 80km. Following the climb of the Passo Cason di Lanza, however - and the long, twisting descent that followed - only Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) remained at the head of the race as the final climb began.

The duo was swept up just inside the ten kilometre banner as Team Sky set a stiff pace and, two kilometres later, Urán made his move. Valerio Agnoli was Nibali’s sole Astana teammate left and, once the 28-year-old had chased for as long as he could, the Maglia Rosa was left alone.

Nibali calmly responded to every dangerous attack, however, as his rivals were dropped one by one, but - with Betancur of no immediate danger overall - allowed the Colombian to escape in the closing stages. Betancur could not catch Urán, however, with the 2012 Olympic silver medallist going on to take his first ever Grand Tour stage.

Nibali’s lead over Evans opened up to 41 seconds, with the time bonus on the line, while Urán’s victory saw him leapfrog teammate Wiggins into third overall.

After a well earned day of rest the race finally hits the big mountains

After a tough opening week the Giro the peloton had used the first rest day of the race to transfer to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in the very north east of the country for its first foray in the high mountains. With Nibali having taken the Maglia Rosa perhaps a little earlier than intended, he was exp

With Rodriguez and Pauwels in the break were Thomas Dekker and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco), Kenny Dehaes (Lotto-Belisol), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), ELia Viviani (Cannondale), Tiago Machado and Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Leopard), Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff), and Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF).

Modolo was unable to stay with the leaders and dropped back to the peloton, with the group covering 49.5km in the first hour over the gradually rising roads. Astana was leading the peloton, quite happy to allow the big breakaway group some space and, at the 80km point, it led by eight minutes.

Viviani won the sprint at the first Traguardo Volante, in Paularo after 102.9km, but this was where the climb to the Passo Cason di Lanza began. As the peloton hit the climb Team Sky began to lift the pace while, up ahead, riders were gradually dropped from the lead group. Rodriguez then attacked the break and set off for the summit alone.

The Sky pace was rapidly reducing the peloton, and defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) - who had struggled on the final, short climb of stage nine - was among those to be dropped. Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) then attacked the peloton - which was now down to around 20 riders - and began to pass the dropped members of the breakaway.

Over the top of the climb, with 49.6km to go, Rodriguez was 18 seconds clear of Machado, with the rest of the group’s survivors spread out in the two minutes behind them, with Pellizotti was in amongst them. As Astana took over from Sky over the top, the Maglia Rosa group was 3’35” behind.

The descent was narrow and twisty, but the roads were almost completely dry and so the from the group stayed together with Wiggins apparently having no difficulties. Pellizotti crashed onto the grass at the side of the road as he overcooked a corner, however, but was unhurt and remounted immediately.

The Italian champion then joined up with Machado and Brutt, and the trio was chasing hard, with Serge Pauwels in between them and Rodriguez. Rodriguez took a new bike from his team car, apparently having experienced problems changing gear for several kilometres, and the Venezuelan was caught by Pauwels.

The final climb arrives and Team Sky turns the screw a little tighter

Under the 25km banner Pellizotti, Machado and Brutt were a little more than two minutes behind Rodriguez, while Team Sky had pulled the peloton to just 20 seconds behind them and the Italian champion’s group was soon caught.

Passing through Chiusaforte at the foot of the final climb Rodriguez and Pauwels were just 2’22” ahead of the Sky-led Maglia Rosa group. The pace in the peloton was such that riders were continuing to join from the rear, swelling its number to around 50.

As the climb steepened up ahead Rodriguez changed his bike for a second time, but was able to rejoin Pauwels up front. At the 20km banner their lead had been cut to just 1’56” as Team Sky continued to lead the peloton, stringing it out into a long line on the steady gradient.

Under the 15km banner the two fugitives’ lead was just 1’12”, but were still working well together. Team Sky was still working hard on the front of the peloton, however, as Xabier Zandio swung off leaving the pacesetting to Kanstantsin Siutsou, with Dario Cataldo and Urán behind him as Wiggins briefly dropped back in the peloton.

The two leaders were just arriving at the final 11km, and the climb’s first really steep section, but the peloton was now just 24 seconds behind them. Riders were beginning to lose contact again, including white jersey Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) and, shortly after the ten kilometre banner - with the gradient at 14% - the two riders were swept up.

Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was the next big name to lose contact, with Tanel Kangert (Astana) - Nibali’s strongest teammate from the previous mountain stage - following him shortly afterwards.

Urán breaks away as Nibali’s rivals put him under pressure

With eight kilometres to go Urán attacked, forcing Astana’s Valerio Agnoli to chase. The 28-year-old was Nibali’s last teammate in the front group, and the Colombian was edging further away as Agnoli grimaced behind him at the head of a group that now numbered less than 20.

With six kilometres to go Urán’s lead was up to 30 seconds as Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) - who had been sitting in second wheel - sat up. Most of Nibali’s rivals were line up behind the Maglia Rosa, but still content to led Agnoli set the pace.

Urán took the intermediate sprint at Sella Nevea with 4.2km to go, as Nibali took over from his teammate behind him. The gap was 50 seconds as the Maglia Rosa outsprinted Scarponi for second place and, as the steepest section began, Evans moved up alongside them.

Urán was still climbing strongly up the road as Scarponi’s Lampre-Merida team took over. This saw Pellizotti dropped, along with Urán’s Sky teammates Cataldo and Henao, leaving Wiggins alone in the group.

Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) made a small move at the front, which was quickly pulled back but, with 3.5km to go former Maglia Rosa Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) attacked. As more riders chased the Spanish rider Robert Gesink (Blanco) began to lose contact, and was followed out the back by Wiggins and Scarponi.

Pozzovivo then took up the pace, leading Nibali, Betancur, Majka, Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard), Evans and Santabrogio, and the gap to Urán was cut to just 28 seconds at the three kilometre banner. Wiggins was fighting his way back across but was 20 seconds behind the Maglia Rosa group with two kilometres to go as Intxausti caught him up.

Evans moved to the front of the chase group and, with Nibali, steadily reeled in Pozzovivo. The Australian then began to try to lift the pace to prevent Wiggins from joining.

With a kilometre and a half left Betancur attacked, but was still several seconds behind Urán as he passed under the flamme rouge. Nibali began to chase again, but his gears skipped as Evans came by to close down the AG2R rider. Having recovered the Maglia Rosa attacked again

Urán, meanwhile was entering the finishing straight and, zipping up his jersey as he did so, sat up to take the stage victory. Betancur sprinted over 19 seconds later - realising that he was taking second this time, and not celebrating as he had done on stage nine - with Nibali beating the rest to the line after 31 seconds.

Kiserlovski finished 46 seconds behind Urán, with Intxausti at 1’06” and Wiggins at 1’08”, while Scarponi was led over the line by teammate Przemyslaw Niemiec, along with Yuriy Trofimov (Katusha) at 1’10”, and Gesink after 1’16”.

Hesjedal finished in 71st place, in the middle of a group 20’53” behind Urán, finally losing any chance of defending his title in the race.

Result stage 10
1. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky
2. Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale @ 20s
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Team Astana @ 31s
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard @ 47s
9. Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team @ 1’06”
10. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky @ 1’08”

Standings after stage 10
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Team Astana
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 41s
3. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky @ 2’04”
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky @ 2’05”
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 2’12”
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida @ 2’13”
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia @ 2’55”
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida @ 3’35”
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale @ 4’17”
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 4’21”

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