Giro d’Italia: Stage thirteen is lucky for Mark Cavendish as he takes number four
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Giro d’Italia: Stage thirteen is lucky for Mark Cavendish as he takes number four

by Ben Atkins at 11:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Manxman wins with long sprint after late Giampaolo Caruso move is neutralised

mark cavendishMark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took his fourth win in the 2013 Giro d’Italia as he sprinted to victory in the 13th stage between Busseto and Cherasco. The Manxman was without his teammates again in the finishing straight, with the Belgian team having exhausted itself chasing numerous breakaways in the longest day of the race, but was able to use the speed of the Cannondale team’s lead out before launching himself from the line.

Finding himself six riders back in the line as the sprinters approached the finish Cavendish launched himself early and, despite powerful late bursts from his rivals, managed to throw his wheel across the line in front. Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard) almost managed to get alongside Cavendish as they hit the line, to take second place and his best result of the race so far, with Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) taking his second straight third place just behind.

"I am so tired. It's a common misconception that sprinting is the laziest amount of effort," said Cavendish at the finish. "It takes a lot to do that, especially when you're at the limit. I had to go from 300 meters after a hard day. I'm on my knees. I actually didn't want to go for the sprint today, but my sport directors asked me to try and we did it. We were pulling, the guys stayed with me on the climbs, they worked so hard for me again and I'm so proud of them.

"You could see the confidence my team had in me," he continued. "Even when I say I don't want to sprint, they still ride 100 percent until they aren't able to go anymore. I said I wasn't able to win today and they still gave everything. You can see the difference in the last metres when your team's ridden the whole day, even if you don't think you can do it, if they put every single last ounce into effort into getting you there, then you finish it off. If they do this, it's not impossible for me to sleep at night if I don't win. I can always do miraculous things that I don't think is possible for me to do when I have a team that believes I can do it as well.

"I am more than physically good, I'm mentally in a good place at the moment," Cavendish added. "Finally I know exactly what this team can do. They've showed it the whole time this Giro. More than putting me in good form with the legs, it puts me in good form in my head and in my heart. It makes me excited for the next races."

At 254km stage 13 was the longest of the race and saw a long-distance breakaway from Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol), Danilo Hondo (Radioshack-Leopard), Nicola Boem (Bardini-CSF), Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano). The seven riders managed to get almost 14 minutes clear in the first half of the course before being hunted down by Orica-GreenEdge and Omega Pharma-Quick Step.

Boem then accelerated on the only classified climb of the day with 45km to go, with only Lastras and Bak going with him, but the Bardiani-CSF rider was the next to be dropped as the closing kilometres of the stage passed through the rolling Barolo vineyard country.

A counterattacking group of Manuel Bongiorno Bardiani-CSF, Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Matteo Rabottini and Oscar Gatto (both Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), José Herrada (Movistar), Jorge Azanza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) then bridged across to the two remaining leaders on one of the numerous, late, unclassified climbs.

With 6.5km to go Caruso attacked alone and, as the sprinters’ teams reorganised over the top of the final climb, managed to get 15 seconds clear with five kilometres to go, but the tiring Italian was swept up with a kilometre and a half to go.

Despite the length of the stage Maglia Rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was able to spend a relatively comfortably day in the peloton as his team allowed the sprinters to marshall the break. The Sicilian finished safely in the peloton, with the top of the general classification remaining unchanged at the end of the stage.

A group of seven escapes early in a stage to suit the breakaways

With such a flat profile, stage 13 looked to be one of the 2013 Giro’s few opportunities for the sprinters but, at 254km - and after such a tough rainy stage the day before - it was also one suitable for the breakaway artists. Sure enough, Lastras, Ermeti, Bak, Hondo, Boem, Andriato and Ludvigsson escaped after around 20km and, with nobody reacting to the break, managed to open up a massive lead of 13’45” by the 78km point. Orica-GreenEdge then took responsibility, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step lending a hand, and steadily pulled the group back again.

A windy section in the middle of the stage saw the two powerful teams increase the pace sharply, causing the peloton to split. None of the big names were caught in the second half of the bunch, however, and it was all back together again with around 100km to go.

By this point the breakaway’s advantage had been slashed to just 2’45”, but the pace then eased up so as to not catch the seven riders too soon.

Andrioto jumped ahead to take the Traguardo Volante sprint, in Castagnole delle Lanze with 71.8km to go, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step followed the break over the line 2’26” back.

A flurry of activity in the group on the approach to the second Traguardo Volante, in Alba with 52.5km to go, saw it briefly split up, but all seven riders were back together as they came to the line, where Andriato burst ahead to take the points again. The peloton was just 1’14” behind this time, with Australian champion Luke Durbridge was the sole remaining Orica-GreenEdge rider at the head of the entire Omega Pharma-Quick Step team.

The chasing teams relaxed a little at this point, with the gap remaining static as they began the 3rd category climb to Tre Cuni six kilometres later.

The course gets lumpy and the break splits up as the counterattacks begin

Almost as soon as the road began to rise Boem attacked the group. The 23-year-old was quickly chased down by Lastras and Bak, who positioned themselves on Boems wheel, but the other four did not respond. Stefano Garzelli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) jumped away from the peloton as it followed 1’05” behind the leaders, and the 2000 Giro winner was joined by Diego Rosa (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela).

Not wanting to put Cavendish under pressure on the climb, Omega Pharma-Quick Step watched the two counterattacking riders go, but then allowed another group to get away. Mountains leader Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) was in the new group along with former Maglia Rosa Luca Paolini and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Garzelli’s Vini Fantini-Selle Italia teammate Alessandro Proni. They soon caught Garzelli and Rosa and began to hunt down the original breakaway.

This new group was soon closed down by the peloton, which was shedding riders at the rear, and began to sweep up the dropped riders from the break. With Andrioto, Garzelli and Proni caught, the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team began to set the pace in pursuit of the rest.

With 40km to go only Boem, Lastras and Bak were left in front, with Ermiti struggling to chase up to them, and were now only 35 seconds clear. Over the top of the climb, with 36.8km to go, Ermiti was swept up by the peloton, which was just 22 seconds behind the leading trio.

As the sprinters’ teams reorganised themselves, however, the gap gradually began to grow on the descent. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was soon in station at the front though, stopping its progress at 27 seconds under the 35km banner.

Lastras accelerated down the hairpin descent, but the others were soon back with the Spanish veteran. As the peloton chased, however, riders were being dropped off the back again, with Pirazzi and Emanuale Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) among those struggling to regain the back of the bunch.

With 25km to go the trio was still just 25 seconds ahead, but - since there was such a long distance to go - Omega Pharma-Quick Step allowed the three riders to increase this to 45 seconds by the 20km banner.

On a small rise with 18km to go Proni attacked again, but the Italian sat up almost immediately - apparently having been expecting to be followed by a teammate - and threw his arm in the air in frustration. Lastras, Bak and Boem were in sight of the peloton as they passed between the vineyards of Barolo, and were beginning to look laboured.

As Boem was dropped by the other two his Bardiani-CSF teammate Bongiorno attacked the peloton and, in the company of Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM).

More counterattacks through the vineyards but the sprinters are detemined

Matteo Rabottini and Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) then attacked, in the way that Proni’s previous move appeared to had been intended, and the two teammates were joined by José Herrada (Movistar), Jorge Azanza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Caruso as they caught up with Bongiorno and Veuchelen.

Up ahead Lastras dropped Bak and the counterattacking group caught up to the Danish rider; the group was less than ten seconds behind Lastras over the top, but the peloton was right on its heels.

The group soon caught up with Lastras and began to work together. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was still leading the peloton, but was 15 seconds behind the new breakaway with ten kilometres to go.

Having given his all Rabottini dropped off the group and, as Gatto continued to push on another unclassified rise, Bak - who had been struggling for some time - was finally dropped. Over the top with 6.5km to go it was Caruso that attacked, however, as more riders were attacking off the front of the peloton, with Nibali among those to briefly jump clear.

At the five kilometre banner the Katusha rider was just 15 seconds clear of the peloton but, with Omega Pharma-Quick Step having moved back in the peloton over the previous climb, there was nobody chasing. Cannondale then came forward with four kilometres left, but there was a Katuasha rider in third wheel to disrupt the chase.

Danilo Di Luca then became the latest Vini Fantini-Selle Italia rider to attack but, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step reorganised itself, the 2007 Giro winner was soon swept up. Caruso himself was tiring at the head of the race and, with a kilometre and a half as Orica-GreenEdge moved its train to the front of the peloton.

Cannondale then led into the final kilometre with Elia Viviani in position, but the rest of the sprinters were jostling for position behind the 24-year-old Italian. Cavendish was the first to launch his sprint, however, with more than 300 metres to go, as he burst from the pack some five riders back.

The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider looked to have gone a little to early as the others opened up their own sprints, but he just managed to hold off Nizzolo as they hit the line side by side. Cavendish held up four fingers in celebration and then immediately slumped exhausted on the ground beside the barriers.

Result stage 13
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Leopard
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
4. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo Bank
8. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
10. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Selle Italia

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

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