Race Report: Katusha-Alpecin’s Ilnur Zakarin won the first major mountain stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. On the tough final climb to Ceresole Reale, dropped his last break companion, Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), for the solo win. Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) fought hard to keep the pink jersey.
Three riders didn’t make the start line: James Know, Roger Kluge and Giacomo Nizzolo. The leader’s jersey rested on Jan Polanc’s shoulders after he took over the lead from teammate Valerio Conti in yesterday’s stage 12. Today would see more changes on the first big day of climbing.
How long will UAE Team Emirates’ Jan Polanc hold the pink jersey
Stage 13 – Pinerolo-Ceresole Reale (Lago Serrù) 196km – total elevation 4,500m
With a summit finish above 2000m, Stage 13 is entirely within the province of Turin. The route circles the town from the north, cresting the Colle del Lys from the most challenging side, with long stretches sloping at 9-10%. After crossing the western Canavese, the race takes a first-ever climb up Pian del Lupo (along the Santa Elisabetta side). The climb and the descent are equally harsh and demanding, with two-figure gradients over long stretches.
The final climb (more than 44km overall, including the false-flat drag) begins at the end of the descent onto Pont Canavese. The climb officially starts in Noasca, touching the sharpest gradients. In the first part, the route uses the old road, properly repaved for bicycle racing, avoiding the long tunnel (3,650m). The route flattens out in Ceresole, near the artificial lake, then rises again over the last 10km.
After levelling out near the lake of Ceresole, the route goes up again, in hairpins, sloping at 9% on narrowed roadway, all the way to the finish in Lago Serrù (2247m). The home straight is 50m long, on 6m wide road.
The Gran Paradiso National Park
Today’s stage will cross through some of the Gran Paradiso National Park (Locana, Noasca and Ceresole Reale) to finish at Lago del Serrù. The Gran Paradiso National Park was established in 1922 and covers an area of 70,000 hectares between Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta. The area is closely associated with the animal that features in the park’s symbol: the Alpine ibex. The last 9km of today’s stage (from Villa to Lago Serrù) are within the Park. More information at this link.
Ready for the mountains ahead
The fans were out in Pinerolo to see the start
It was raining on the run-up to the Colle del Lys and many riders wanted to be part of the break. On this first climb the leading group formed: A large group escaped from the peloton with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) the best classified rider at 6:02 to leader Polanc. Ilnur Zakarin was also amongst the group. The other teams also had riders up front: Movistar (with Amador, Rojas and Carretero), Astana (Cataldo, Zeits and Izagirre) and Bahrain Merida (Pozzovivo and Nibali). Jumbo-Visma had Antwan Tolhoek. Gianluca Brambilla, Giulio Ciccone and Fausto Masnada were there for the mountain classification.
Ciccone was the first to the summit, as the leading group had about 3 minutes on the peloton. With Mollema 2 minutes from Primož Roglič, Jumbo-Visma didn’t want to give the escape too much space. On the descent of the first climb, Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) crashed and had to give up.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) crashed out of the Giro halfway through stage 13
At the half-way point; the lead of the leading group was reduced to just 1:45 as the break started the Pian del Lupo (9.4 km at 8.7%), the second climb of the day. Ciccone and Brambilla took points for the KOM jersey and were good workers their leader Mollema and set the pace at the front. In the peloton; Jumbo-Visma were the engine. On the steep part of the climb to Pian del Lupo, Pello Bilbao led, causing the group to split. Among others, Polanc and Bob Jungels were dropped. In the leading group, Cataldo had dropped back to help teammate Bilbao and leader Miguel Ángel López. Due to the pace set by Astana, the lead group only had 1 minute at the summit.
What remained were the narrow and difficult descent of the Pian del Lupo and the 44-kilometre climb to the finish in Ceresole Reale. The peloton had in the meantime been reduced to 11 riders: Mikel Landa, Richard Carapaz, Miguel Ángel López, Pello Bilbao, Vincenzo Nibali, Rafał Majka, Hugh Carthy, Simon Yates, Lucas Hamilton, Pavel Sivakov and Primož Roglič, who had teammate Antwan Tolhoek up ahead.
In the valley, the large group of riders (including pink jersey Jan Polanc) who had been dropped, rejoined the favourites under the impetus of Jungels. The escape still had Mollema, Zakarin and Tolhoek. In the valley, the time difference was only 30 seconds.
At 25 kilometres to go, the leading group fell apart. Fausto Masnada attacked and was joined by Ion Izagirre, Giulio Ciccone, Hector Carretero and Joe Dombrowski. Mollema and Zakarin had to chase, to rejoin 17 kilometres from the finish. Behind; Nibali set his teammate Damiano Caruso to work. The difference between the leading group and the favourites group had again increased to more than 2 minutes.
Mikel Landa was the first to attack the favourites group when he saw that Roglič and Yates were in trouble. Landa caught teammate Carretero, who came back from the leading group with Amador. Roglič was able to take his place among the favourites, but Yates was gone. Miguel Ángel López was also in trouble, but due to a mechanical, 10 kilometres from the finish and had to change bike. Simon Yates was with Jan Polanc.
Mollema, Ciccone, Zakarin and Mikel Nieve would do battle for the stage win at the front. This foursome had more than a minute and a half on the first pursuers. The last eight kilometres went up sharply again at 8.9%.
Landa fully dropped his team mates to continue on his own 7 kilometres from the finish with 20 seconds on the group of favourites. The Spaniard steadily extended his lead. At the front; Zakarin rode away from Mollema and Nieve at the start of the last five kilometres – Ciccone had already been distanced.
While there was plenty of battle for the stage win and Landa was also doing good business for the GC standings. Nibali accelerated behind, only Majka, Carapaz, Roglič and Sivakov had an answer. Majka and Carapaz and, later, Sivakov also rode away from Roglič and Nibali, who refused to work for each other. As a result, Landa was able to consolidate his lead, at 3 kilometres from the finish line, he had more than a minute lead.
Nieve was able to join Zakarin again at the front. Between the snow walls of Ceresole Reale, they would decide who would take the stage victory. The Russian, who already won a stage in the Giro in 2015 attacked with 2 kilometres to go and Nieve could not return to Zakarin, who triumphed on the shores of Lake Serrù in La Corsa Rosa. Nieve crossed the line at half a minute.
Mikel Landa finished in third place at 1:19 as he had passed Bauke Mollema in the final section. Richard Carapaz also passed the Dutchman, who finished in fifth place. Roglič and Nibali crossed the finish line side by side, just 3 minutes behind stage winner Zakarin. The differences in the general classification crept closer together in the first real big mountain test of the Giro’19.
The problems were greater for López and Yates: the Colombian lost more than four minutes to Zakarin, the Brit one more minute.
Stage winner Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin): “I’m very happy with this victory. My two attacks weren’t planned at all. I came to the Giro d’Italia to make the top 5 and I hope it’s still possible.”
Race leader, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a very hard stage, I tried to pace myself on the climb and I’m happy to have managed to defend the Maglia Rosa. I have to thank the team that worked hard all day. Tomorrow we’ll see how it goes.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin in 5:34:40
2. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:35
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 1:20
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 1:38
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:45
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:08
7. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 2:57
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos at 3:34
10. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 3:50
11. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 4:19
12. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First at 4:23
13. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 4:25
14. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 4:37
15. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 4:39
16. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 4:54
17. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 5:00
18. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 6:40
19. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 7:59
20. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 9:30
21. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 10:16
22. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos at 10:29
23. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 10:38
24. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 11:20
25. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 12:24.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 54:28:59
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 2:25
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:56
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 3:06
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 4:09
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 4:22
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4:28
8. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 5:08
9. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos at 7:13
10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 7:48
11. Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First at 7:52
12. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 8:14
13. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 8:44
14. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 8:52
15. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 11:24
16. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 13:10
17. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 15:14
18. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 15:43
19. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 16:03
20. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 17:20
21. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 17:22
22. Victor De La Parte (Spa) CCC at 18:14
23. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 18:51
24. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 19:48
25. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 19:57.