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Giro d'Italia Stage 13: Cavendish makes it two in a row, Nibali stays in pink

Fourth stage win in this year's Giro for Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider, who extends points classification lead...

Mark Cavendish, who yesterday took his 100th professional victory, has wasted no time cracking on with his second century, winning Stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia following a hard-fought sprint in Cherasco. The Omega Pharma-Quck Step rider held off Giacomo Nizzolo of RadioShack-Leopard to cross the line first and take his fourth stage victory in this year's Giro, with Argos Shimano's Luka Mezgec third. In winning today, Cavendish also extends his lead in the points classification.

There was no change at the top of the GC, with Astana's Vincenzo Nibali staying 41 seconds ahead of BMC Racing's Cadel Evans ahead of a pair of big Alpine stages at the weekend, including a summit finish on the Galibier on Sunday.

Cavendish’s victory – his 40th in a Grand Tour, and 14th in the Giro d’Italia – followed a climax to the stage punctuated by a series of attacks as the flat terrain of the Po Valley gave way to the hills of Piedmont around Alba, southeast of Turin.

Afterwards he revealed that he hadn’t initially planned to go for the win today, the decision to work in reeling in the inevitable break and go for the sprint being made on the road by sports director Brian Holm as rival teams Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge worked to bring the escapees back.

Last year, Cavendish, then riding for Team Sky, completed the Giro but missed out on winning the red jersey by a single point after Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez, riding to defend his GC position rather than pick up points, edged 1 point ahead of him on the final road stage on the race’s penultimate day.

While he has a commanding lead over Evans – himself a past winner of the points classification – the Australian will narrow that gap as the race heads into the mountains, and with some tough climbing stages and limited sprint opportunities remaining, there’s no certainty Cavendish will aim to complete the race.

The route of today’s stage, at 254km the longest of this year's race, largely followed that of Stage 2 of the 2011 Giro from Alba to Parma, albeit in reverse and with changes to the parcours at the start and finish, the latter featuring a series of climbs that while not as tough as the ones encountered in the rain yesterday, still gave hopes that a break might carry the day.

Whereas two years ago the now retired Omega Pharma-Lotto rider, Sebastian Lang, spent almost the entire day alone at the front of the peloton, today it was six riders who managed to get away from the peloton after almost 30km had been raced, a rainy start to the day giving way to rare sunny weather.

Those men were RadioShack’s Danilo Hondo, Movistar’s Pablo Lastras, the Argos Shimano rider Tobias Ludvigsson, Lotto Belisol’s Lars Bak – a stage winner from the break in last year’s Giro – and Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox’s Nicola Boem.

The break was allowed a maximum advantage of around 13 minutes, but that tumbled as the race headed towards the lumpier terrain towards the end of the stage.

With 20km to go, the three remaining escapees – Lastras, Boem and Bak – had an advantage of just three quarters of a minute over the peloton, and as riders including Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Marco Rabottini and Oscar Gatto began launching attacks over an uncategorised climb, a new front group of nine riders formed as the race headed into its final 10km.

Movistar’s Lastras tried desperately to organise the move as it went up a final ramp crested around 6km from the finish, with Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso getting clear and looking to repeat team mate Luca Paolini’s late solo attack to win Stage 3 in Marina di Ascea last week.

With 5km to go, Caruso had a quarter of a minute’s advantage over the peloton, but with the road flattening out and Cannondale now taking up the chase, working for their sprinter Elia Viviani, he was swept up 1.5km from the finish in Cherasco and the sprint where Cavendish again battled to victory.

Today’s stage, the longest of this year’s race, started without three big names – defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp and pre-race favourite Sir Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky, both of whom finally gave in to the illnesses that had hit their GC hopes, as well as FDJ’s Nacer Bouhanni.

The latter, who would ordinarily have been expected to be one of the favourites figure on a stage like this, withdrew from the race yesterday evening shortly after finishing second to Cavendish.

That followed a controversial sprint in which Bouhanni appeared to barge Sacha Modolo of Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, although moments before the Italian had almost sent the Frenchman crashing into the barriers.

Tomorrow’s Stage 14 covers 168km from Cervere to a summit finish on the Jafferau, with a climb to Sestrire thrown in for good measure, while Sunday features that much anticipated climb of the Galibier.

Giro d'Italia Stage 13 result  
1  CAVENDISH Mark         Omega Pharma - Quick-Step     06:09:55
2  NIZZOLO Giacomo        RadioShack - Leopard     All at same time
3  MEZGEC Luka            Team Argos - Shimano
4  LANCASTER Brett        Orica GreenEDGE
5  VIVIANI Elia           Cannondale Pro Cycling
6  BELLETTI Manuel        AG2R La Mondiale
7  BENNATI Daniele        Team Saxo-Tinkoff
8  POZZATO Filippo        Lampre - Merida
9  ROUX Anthony           FDJ 
10 RUBIANO Miguel         Androni - Venezuela
11 HUNTER Robert          Garmin - Sharp
12 MARCATO Marco          Vacansoleil - DCM
13 MARTENS Paul           Blanco Pro Cycling 
14 CANOLA Marco           Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox 
15 REYNES Vicente         Lotto Belisol Team
16 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas   Garmin - Sharp
17 BOLE Grega             Vacansoleil - DCM
18 ROLLIN Dominique       FDJ 
19 BATTAGLIN Enrico       Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox 
20 PAOLINI Luca           Katusha Team
Overall Standings after Stage 13  
1  NIBALI Vincenzo        Astana Pro Team               52:38:09
2  EVANS Cadel            BMC Racing Team                  00:41
3  URAN Rigoberto         Sky Procycling                   02:04
4  GESINK Robert          Blanco Pro Cycling               02:12
5  SCARPONI Michele       Lampre - Merida                  02:13
6  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro     Vini Fantini                     02:55
7  NIEMIEC Przemyslaw     Lampre - Merida                  03:35
8  INTXAUSTI Benat        Movistar Team                    04:05
9  POZZOVIVO Domenico     AG2R La Mondiale                 04:17
10 MAJKA Rafal            Team Saxo-Tinkoff                04:21

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Colin Peyresourde | 11 years ago

Anyone checked out the Giro app. It's pretty class. They have the hill profiles and pics. As well as pictures from the stages. They have an interview with Cav in there in Italian. He doesn't speak it any better than his English, but you can pretty much make out what he says: it was a great effort by the team. It was a long stage and tough run in etc etc. anyway if you're following the rest of the race you can do worse.

notfastenough | 11 years ago

101 pro victories in 7 years is ridiculous. Crikey.

CornishSprinter replied to notfastenough | 11 years ago

Jensy got his 54th pro win yesterday, and he must have been a pro for 17 years now.

SpooksTheHorse replied to CornishSprinter | 11 years ago

Yes but i doubt Cav will be winning aged 41.

I hope he tries to complete the race. I think he's got a pretty good chance, A few breaks to mop up the intermediate sprints and Evans won't gain that many points.

gw | 11 years ago

Great result, I hope the lure of another GT jersey is enough to keep Cav to the end but last years result may well sit heavy on his mind....

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