Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Nibali wins in the Dolomites, Uran moves second

Siciilian effectively seals overall win, Cavendish poised to complete full set of Grand Tour points jerseys

by Simon_MacMichael   May 25, 2013  

Vincenzo Nibali wins in the snow at Tre Cime di Lavaredo (picture RCS Sport)

Vincenzo Nibali of Astana this afternoon rode away from his rivals to clinch Stage 20 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and effectively seal a convincing overall victory with just tomorrow's sprint-friendly stage in Brescia to come. Meanwhile, Mark Cavendish, looking for his fifth stage victory in this year's race tomorrow, looks poised to become the fifth member of an exclusive club whose members have won the points classification in all three Grand Tours, though he'll need to place highly on tomorrow's stage.

One of Cavendish's chief challengers for the red points jersey, Cadel Evans, struggled on today's final climb in the Dolomites amid driving sleet, and the BMC Racing rider loses second place overall to Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran, third on today's stage behind Colombia rider Fabio Duarte.

Their compatriot, Carlos Betancur of AG2R, battled back from a wheel change and a tyre change early on during the final climb to take fourth on the stage and move back into the lead of the best young rider's classification. Stefano Pirazzi of Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, meanwhile, has won the mountains classification. 

This evening, it's Nibali who besides holding the maglia rosa also now leads the points classification - second-placed Cavendish will wear the red jersey tomorrow, but the likelihood is that the Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider will be sporting it in his own right come the end of the stage and with it, the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

Following a dark Friday for the Giro – snow had forced the cancellation of Stage 19, that setback followed by the news that Danilo di Luca had tested positive for EPO – organisers were determined that the focus today should be on the racing.

They were also firmly resolved that the finish would take place at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, as originally envisaged, even though much of the route of today’s stage had needed to be amended to cut out climbs such as the Passo Giau.

Their reward was the image of Nibali crossing the line in celebration of his near-certain Giro d’Italia win, after the Astana rider attacked on the final climb of the day and left his rivals standing, only the Colombian trio of Uran, Duarte and Betancur able to provide any form of response.

The sleet turning to snow that made it near impossible to make out Nibali as he approached the line had got progressively worse after the peloton began the ascent from the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, 22km from the end of the stage and at an elevation of 1,201 metres, compared to the 2,304 metres at the finish line.

The four members of today’s break – Adam Hansen of Lotto Belisol, Katusha’s Pavel Brutt, Yaroslav Popovych of Radioshack Leopard and the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela rider Giairo Ermeti – would lead the race onto the final ascent, which began with the the Passo Tre Croci, crested 13.5km out, followed by a short descent then the tough last climb to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

Brutt would attack and lead the race up most of that climb, with counter attacks coming from riders including Pirazzi, Orica-GreenEdge’s Peter Weening, and Eros Cappechi of Movistar.

When Nibali – criticised in the Italian press before his dominant performance in Thursday’s time trial for not having won a stage yet in this year’s race - made his move with less than 3km to go, he quickly reeled in the riders ahead of him and rode off to take a stage win that removes any doubt he fully merits this Giro victory.

Those back-to-back stage wins also put Nibali on top of the points classification, although the likelihood is it will be Cavendish who will be on the podium in the red jersey in Brescia tomorrow evening.

That seemed a distant prospect after Wednesday’s Stage 17 into Vicenza, when a tough final climb saw Cavendish dropped and denied the opportunity to contest the finish, giving him a lead of just 4 points over Evans and making the Australian favourite for many to regain the jersey he had won in 2010.

However, an uncharacteristically poor performance in the time trial, for which points are awarded, plus the cancellation of yesterday’s stage and his struggles today meant Evans was unable to overhaul Cavendish, who picked up 4 more points himself today, digging deep to be the first man in the main group through both intermediate sprint points and then finishing the stage in the gruppeto.

With most of his sprint rivals having long left the race, Cavendish will be a very strong favourite to win his fifth stage of this year’s Giro in Brescia tomorrow, and with it join Eddy Merckx, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Laurent Jalabert and Alessandro Petacchi in topping the points classification at all three Grand Tours.

For a sprinter, under current rules, the Giro points jersey is by far the hardest of those to win – unlike the Tour or the Vuelta, points are equally spread across all stages rather than being weighted towards the flatter ones, which thereby sees GC contenders become accidental participants in the points classification too.

That’s in effect what happened last year when Cavendish, battling back from a crash in Stage 3, put in a huge effort to get through the mountains only to be pipped on the penultimate day by a single point by Joaquim Rodriguez, who was seeking to defend the maglia rosa, but would lose it in Milan on the last stage's time trial.

Cavendish, who turned 28 earlier this week, has certainly been dealt a favouable hand by the disruption the weather has caused to the race over the past week, whether in removing yesterday’s stage altogether or taking out some of the tougher climbs, but following three weeks of tough riding in mainly inclement conditions, that should in no way diminish his achievement should he win the points classification tomorrow.

Giro d'Italia Stage 20 result  
1  NIBALI Vincenzo      Astana Pro Team        05:27:41
2  DUARTE Fabio         Team Colombia             00:17
3  URAN Rigoberto       Sky Procycling            00:19
4  BETANCUR Carlos      AG2R La Mondiale          00:21
5  ARU Fabio            Astana Pro Team           00:44
6  PELLIZOTTI Franco    Androni - Venezuela       00:48
7  POZZOVIVO Domenico   AG2R La Mondiale          00:54
8  CARUSO Damiano       Cannondale Pro Cycling    00:58
9  ATAPUMA Darwin       Team Colombia             01:00
10 MAJKA Rafal          Team Saxo-Tinkoff         01:04
11 TROFIMOV Yuri        Katusha Team              01:11
12 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw   Lampre - Merida           01:14
13 SCARPONI Michele     Lampre - Merida            ,,
14 EVANS Cadel          BMC Racing Team           01:30
15 INTXAUSTI Benat      Movistar Team              ,,
16 KANGERT Tanel        Astana Pro Team           01:36
17 ROSA Diego           Androni - Venezuela       01:41
18 DANIELSON Thomas     Garmin - Sharp            01:50
19 CAPECCHI Eros        Movistar Team             01:53
20 KISERLOVSKI Robert   RadioShack - Leopard      02:02
Overall Standings after Stage 20  
1  NIBALI Vincenzo      Astana Pro Team        79:23:19
2  URAN Rigoberto       Sky Procycling            04:43
3  EVANS Cadel          BMC Racing Team           05:52
4  SCARPONI Michele     Lampre - Merida           06:48
5  BETANCUR Carlos      AG2R La Mondiale          07:28
6  NIEMIEC Przemyslaw   Lampre - Merida           07:43
7  MAJKA Rafal          Team Saxo-Tinkoff         08:09
8  INTXAUSTI Benat      Movistar Team             10:26
9  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro   Vini Fantini              10:32
10 POZZOVIVO Domenico   AG2R La Mondiale          10:59

8 user comments

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Paragraph 4 gives the impression Cav is about to win the Giro. Cav is good but I think that's beyond him.

posted by Matthewjb [53 posts]
25th May 2013 - 20:24

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Does it?? I'm pretty sure I read it as he's going to win the RED POINT jersey after tomorrows stage Thinking

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
25th May 2013 - 22:50

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Any clues as to why Euskaltel were pushing so hard off the front today?

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posted by Ghedebrav [1091 posts]
26th May 2013 - 0:05

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I only watched a little of the stage because it was boring as hell to start with. Euskatel just wanted some camera time from what I saw

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
26th May 2013 - 2:03

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What was the argy bargy with Cav? Comments on his twitter feed imply something about a mad Italian sprinter at one of the intermediate points locations?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
26th May 2013 - 6:46

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Gkam84 wrote:
I only watched a little of the stage because it was boring as hell to start with. Euskatel just wanted some camera time from what I saw

A true follower of cycle racing wouldn't become bored with any race; let-alone a stage in the Giro.

Wish I could have watched it.

posted by Mostyn [407 posts]
26th May 2013 - 8:30

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notfastenough wrote:
What was the argy bargy with Cav? Comments on his twitter feed imply something about a mad Italian sprinter at one of the intermediate points locations?

Vini Fantini rider crept up on him and attacked. I don't think he minded contesting it, I suspect he was having a go because the guy tried to sneak round at the last minute instead of a one-on-one sprint. Not sure who it was but commentators on Eurosport pointed out he was challenging for the intermediate sprint classification so had a reason to go for them

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
26th May 2013 - 8:57

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Mostyn wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
I only watched a little of the stage because it was boring as hell to start with. Euskatel just wanted some camera time from what I saw

A true follower of cycle racing wouldn't become bored with any race; let-alone a stage in the Giro.

Wish I could have watched it.

I think the 22c average temperature here might have helped make my mind up.

But having taken out most of the climbs over the last few days that could have decided the Giro, it was just plain boring.

Nibali has done well to win the race with his performance, but he's been handed a free pass in the last week, where no-one could challenge him with all the re-routes and cancelled stage

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posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
26th May 2013 - 14:05

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