Giro d’Italia: More success for Beñat Intxausti as he takes stage 16 in three-up sprint
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Giro d’Italia: More success for Beñat Intxausti as he takes stage 16 in three-up sprint

by Ben Atkins at 11:40 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Short final climb proves decisive as the favourites attack one another

benat intxaustiBeñat Intxausti (Movistar) continued his and his team’s successful 2013 Giro d’Italia as he sprinted at the head of a three-man breakaway group to take the 16th stage between Valloire and Ivrea. The 27-year-old Spanish rider, who wore the Maglia Rosa for a day earlier in the race, proved faster than Estonian champion Tanel Kangert (Astana) at the finish as he responded to the early sprint of Polish rider Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) after the three of them had escaped from a highly select group in the final kilometres of the stage.

The three-man group had originally been four before Robert Gesink (Blanco) suffered a puncture on a cobbled street with just under two kilometres to go. The Dutchman was not to be credited with the same time as Intxausti, however, as the jury ruled that he hadn’t stopped for a mechanical problem. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) led the chasers across the line 14 seconds down.

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was safely in the chase group, along with most of the overall contenders, although both ninth and fourth placed Domenico Pozzivivo (AG2R La Mondiale) and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) were both dropped on the climb to Andrate inside the final 20km and lost time to their rivals.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Intxausti afterwards. “In the final 3 kilometres, Kangert was on my wheel. I knew he was dangerous. 600 metres from the line, I cold-bloodedly moved behind Niemiec and Kangert into third place. 300 metres from the finish line, the pace slackened. With the wind behind us, I darted past on the left and gave it everything.

“Above all, I came to the Giro with the goal of raising my hands at the end of a stage,’ he continued. “The Maglia Rosa was very important for the team, although losing it during the time trial at Saltara left a strange taste in my mouth. Today I got my stage win.”

The 238km stage, which saw the Giro cross back into Italy after its rest day in France, saw a group of 22 riders escape over the top of the Col du Mont Cenis as the peloton made its way across the border. The group managed to get more than five minutes ahead, but the presence of Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) - 19th overall, just 9’57” behind Nibali - was adjudged to be of concern by the Katusha and RadioShack-Nissan teams, as he was threatening the 12th and 11th places of Yuriy Trofimov and Robert Kiserlovski.

The group began to splinter under several attacks as it entered the final 40km, until only Navardauskas, José Herrada (Movistar), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Danny Pate (Team Sky), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and mountains classification leader Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) remained from the original 22. Aggression on the front of the peloton on the steep Andrate climb saw them swept up before they could reach the top, however.

Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) attacked into the final few hundred metres of the climb, with Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joining him on the descent. Nibali led the rest of the favourites group across to them, however, and all of the overall contenders - bar Santambrogio and Pozzovivo - were together with ten kilometres to go.

The decisive move was made by Kangert with just over 7.5km to go, and the Estonian was joined by Gesink and Niemiec. Third place overall Rigoberto Urán (Team Sky) also made it across but, as he was personally closed down by Nibali, the Colombian dropped back and allowed the trio to re-establish itself. Intxausti then made it across himself and, with Astana, Lampre-Merida and Movistar all represented in the group behind, the quartet was allowed to go.

As they hit the cobbled streets of Ivrea, however, Gesink punctured and dropped out of the break, leaving the other three to fight out the stage win. Niemiec found himself stuck on the front into the final kilometre and, as the Polish rider opened his sprint with more than 400 metres to go, Intxausti came past him with ease and managed to hold of Tangert all the way to the line.

A massive group gets away but a danger man means it won’t get far

On the approach to the Col du Mont Cenis, an attack from Kelderman pulled a group of 16 riders clear. With the Dutchman were Grega Bole (Vacansoleil-DCM), Eros Capecchi and Herrada (Movistar), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano), Christian Meier and Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), Navardauskas, Pate, Pirazzi , Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Jackson Rodriguez and Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Verdugo.

Before it reached the Col, the group was joined by Darwin Atâpuma and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia), Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Caruso, with Francis De Greef (Lotto-Belisol) and Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) chasing on shortly afterwards.

Over the top the 22-man group was three minutes ahead of the peloton and, as they descended back into Italy, its lead continued to grow slowly. Its progress was controlled by Astana, with Nibali unwilling to allow Caruso too much space, but it was more than five minutes clear with 75km to go.

With Caruso threatening the 12th and 11th places of Yuriy Trofimov and Robert Kiserlovski, the Katusha and RadioShack-Leopard teams came up to help Astana, and the gap began to fall quickly. It had been cut to four minutes within the next ten kilometres and, as Di Luca took the Traguardo Volante sprint in Agliè with 54.4km to go, it was down to just 2’10”.

With their capture now looking inevitable, the members of the group began to attack one another and, after ten kilometres of moves and counter moves, Sella got clear, was joined by Kelderman and then Pate, and this time the rest of the group sat up. Bole, Herrada, Pirazzi, Verdugo and Navardauskas gave chase, but were 22 seconds behind with 35km to go, and the gap was widening. The peloton was now a minute and a half behind and, even though danger man Caruso was swept up with the rest of the dropped members of the break, the Katusha team continued to chase.

Caruso back in the fold but the peloton keeps on chasing

The pace did drop a little, however, with the rate the gap was coming down slowing considerably as the leaders rode through Ivrea for the first time. As they passed through the second Traguardo Volante, in Bollengo with 30.5km to go, they were still 22 seconds clear of the chasers, with the peloton now at 1’25”.

The eight riders in the lead joined together shortly after the 25km banner, just as the Andrate climb began; Pirazzi promptly attacked, which saw Bole dropped. The peloton was little more than 40 seconds behind by now, with RadioShack-Leopard present on the front once again.

The Italian was pulled back and Herrada went himself with Verdugo following, with Navardauskas joining them on the steepest part of the climb. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) then attacked form the peloton, soon overtaking the dropped Sella; Astana was in control of the peloton once again and, as the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuala rider was pulled back, several others began to launch attacks.

Fifth place Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) tried to attack, but was marked by Nibali, with second place Cadel Evans (BMC RAcing) bringing the rest across - although Urán was caught out for a moment - as more of the breakaway stragglers were caught.

Herrada was still leading up ahead, with Navardauskas and Verdugo, and Pirazzi, still chasing. Kangert then took control of what was left of the Maglia Rosa group, just 17 seconds behind with 21km to go, and soon picked up Pate and Kelderman.

Duarte had joined up with the four leaders, taking the lead as the gap to the peloton fell below 15 seconds. There was little hurry in the Maglia Rosa group, however, although - having had his team chase down the threat from Caruso - Kiserlovski was slipping off the back, along with Pozzivivo and Santambrogio.

Pirazzi attacked yet again with 20km to go, but was chased down once again. This proved too much for Verdugo, however, who was dropped and, shortly afterwards Duarte made another move. As the Colombian pushed on up the climb, however, with Pirazzi in pursuit, the Maglia Rosa group was right on the heels of Navardauskas and Herrada as Lampre-Merida led the chase.

The big names exchange blows on the final climb and on the descent that follows

Italian champion Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) then tried to go, with Intxausti on his wheel but they were quickly closed down and the increase in pace saw the group catch Pirazzi with a kilometre still to climb, then overtake Duarte shortly afterwards. Pirazzi managed to jump away as the climb approached, but Betancur flew past him with a few hundred metres to go and was eight seconds clear over he top.

Betancur was caught by Sanchez on the narrow descent down the other side, and the 2008 Olympic champion pushed on ahead of the Colombian.

Scarponi tried to put pressure on Nibali, but the Maglia Rosa responded by attacking himself and the two of them rode across to the leaders. Evans and the rest also managed to get across as the road began to widen and straighten, but the group was no more than 14 strong as it flew under the ten kilometre banner.

Niemiec then began to set the pace to keep Santambrogio away, which would move both himself and teammate Scarponi above the Italian in the general classification. With 7.6km to go Kangert attacked, with Gesink chasing across to him. As Urán joined, however, Nibali himself had to close the group down.

Santambrogio was more than two minutes behind with six kilometres to go, and was chasing alone with several members of Team Sky lined up behind him.

With Urán caught Kangert and Gesink managed to escape again, along with Niemiec, and Intxausti chased across the gap. Pellizotti, and then Scarponi, tried to bridge the gap, but were closed down by Fabio Aru (Astana). Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Urán then tried, followed by solo attempts from Pirazzi and Sánchez, but - with the four-man group now established - nobody else was getting away.

With just under two kilometres to go Gesink suddenly stopped, having broken his chain, while the others continued under the flamme rouge and began looking at one another with Niemiec stuck on the front. The Polish rider went with 400 metres to go, but it was far too early and, as the pace dropped Intxausti launched his own sprint, and manage to hold off Kangert all the way to the line.

Result stage 16
1. Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
2. Tanel Kangert (Est) Team Astana
3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp @ 14s
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
9. José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
10. Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale

Standings after stage 16
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Team Astana
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team @ 1’26”
3. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Team Sky @ 2’46”
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida @ 3’53”
5. Przemislaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida @ 4’13”
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia @ 4’57”
7. Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale @ 5’15”
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 5’20”
9. Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team @ 5’47”
10. Domenico Pozzivivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale @ 7’34”

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