GIRO’16 St.13: Magic Mikel!
Race Report: The first day in the northern Italian Mountains brought a lot of excitement and a new overall leader to the 2016 Giro. Sky’s Mikel Nieve broke away from the big break of the day on the final climb and was not seen again until after the finish line. Andrey Amador (Movistar) was in the chase group of favorites and moved into the overall lead by 26 seconds.
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Etixx – Quick-Step tried their hardest to keep the pink jersey for another day, but in the end they ran out of riders to control the race. Astana turned the screws on the final two climbs to first isolate Jungels and then to finish his dream of holding the lead. Movistar had Visconti up the road and Valverde and Amador with Nibali, all they had to do was watch the Italian champion and match his moves to take the lead. Jungels tried his hardest to limit his losses, but in the end it was too much and he dropped to second overall.
The road-book route
This is a very challenging mountain stage. The route takes in four categorized climbs in a row, with just a few stretches to let the bunch catch their breath. The first 45km run on apparently flat ground, and are followed by three typical pre-Alpine climbs, marked by narrow roadway, high gradients and endless turns, both while climbing and while descending. After a flat drag including a passage over the finish line, the route heads towards the two final climbs in Porzùs and Valle, with a very winding and undulating profile, and high uphill gradients. The road narrows at point while crossing urban areas. The route features some technical descents, especially when climbing down form Passo San Martino at km 67.
The last 5km are deceptive: seemingly flat and yet actually running downhill all the way to Cividale del Friuli. The route features a few twists and turns over the last kilometer; the home straight (approx. 400m long) is on a 7m wide asphalt road.
Action from the gun
The first attacks came from the gun and with everyone wanting to be in the break of the day, the race was crazy until after the first intermediate sprint in San Pietro al Natisone where FDJ’s Arnaud Démare took full points. The break had around 30 riders in attendance and, of course, Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini was there for the KOM points.
The big break was:
Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Malacarne & Andrey Zeits (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Simon Clarke, Moreno Moser & Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale), Jaco Venter & Johan Van Zyl (Dimension Data), Matteo Trentin & Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx – Quick-Step), Arnaud Démare (FDJ), Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling), Diego Ulissi, Ilya Koshevoy, Sacha Modolo & Matej Mohorič (Lampre-Merida), Pim Ligthart (Loto Soudal), Carlos Betancur, Jasha Sütterlin & Joaquim Rojas (Movistar), Grega Bole, Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Bert De Backer (Giant-Alpecin), Enrico Battaglin & Maarten Tjallingi (LottoNl-Jumbo), Mikel Nieve & Christian Knees (Sky), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Matteo Busato (Wilier-Southeast).
Behind them Etixx – Quick-Step were leading the bunch and holding the break to under 2 minutes when they hit the first climb; Montemaggiore. Denifl jumped from the break for full KOM points as Cunego had a bit of a tussle with Visconti with the Italian crashing.
On the descent Denifl had a lead of 50 seconds on the chasers and the pink jersey group were at 2 minutes. Etixx were leading the bunch as Cannondale and Lampre-Merida towed the group after Denifl.
100K To go
Trentin had dropped back from the break and was riding for Jungels at the front of the peloton, but the lead was growing and hit 3 minutes with Denifl a further 30 seconds ahead.
On the second climb of the day, Crai, Denifl was first over the top and again Cunego fought for the KOM points with Visconti, the ‘Little Prince’ was second and Visconti didn’t fall off. Etixx led the peloton.
On the descent Denifl had more than 4 minutes on the pink jersey group with the chasers at around 2 minutes.
Denifl for some reason had to stop and was caught by the chase group, at the same time Visconti was asking for the doctor as he had hurt his ribs in his hill top crash earlier. Double stage winner, Diego Ulissi was the virtual overall leader of the Giro, but it was too early to say what would happen at the finish.
Through the finish in Cividale del Friuli with 57 kilometers to go and the lead was 2:47. The Course runs flat in the valley before the next climb, the Cima Porzus, a Cat 1 at 910 meters, the break were working well and their lead went out to 3:11 as they started the final 45 kilometers.
After 129.7 kilometers the Cima Porzus climbs for 8.75 kilometers with a maximum ramp of 16%, but most of the climb is around 9%. From the summit the riders still have 29.8 kilometers and the Cat 2 climb of the Valle to go before the finish in Cividale del Friuli.
At the base of the climb the lead was exactly 3 minutes and Orica-GreenEDGE, Katusha and LottoNl-Jumbo had started to move forward with AG2R-La Mondiale and Astana not far behind, but the work was still being left to Etixx – Quick-Step.
On the climb; Cannondale lifted the speed in the break to launch Joe Dombrowski off the front, this split the group. In the bunch Astana were trying to do the same with two riders riding hard with Nibali tucked in, in third place.
Off the front, Dombrowski was joined by Nieve and the pair rode away from the others which put Cunego, amongst others, in trouble. Nieve didn’t stay with Dombrowski for long and headed off on his own through the large crowd to top the climb solo, behind him was Dombrowski and Visconti and then Cunego and Foliforov. The Astana led bunch were pulling in the remnants of the break and dropping riders at the same time. Valverde, Amador, Uran, Majka, Kruijswijk and the pink jersey were still there on the tail of the light blue train at 2:25 behind Nieve.
At the bottom of the descent of the Porzus and the start of the Valle with 20.4 kilometers to race, Nieve had a lead of 45 seconds on Visconti and Dombrowski, now with Montaguti and 2:19 on the GC group with Scarponi pulling hard for Nibali.
Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) attacked to put the pressure on the chase group, but the first proper attack came from Nibali, but it was Kruijswijk with Valverde on his wheel who pulled the Italian champion back and Jungels was dropped. Visconti left Montaguti and Dombrowski as groups were forming and splitting on the climb.
Nieve was climbing well and kept Visconti at 40 seconds and the Nibali/Valverde group at just under 2 minutes. An attack from Nibali thinned down his group to just a handful of riders, including Valverde, Majka, Kruijswijk, Chaves, Uran, Pozzovivo and a yo-yoing Zakarin
At the summit Nieve had 51 seconds on Visconti and 2 minutes on the Nibali group and Jungels was in a small group a further 30 seconds back.
5 Kilometers To Go
The big pursuit to the finish was wide open as Nieve passed under the 5K to go with 53 seconds on Visconti and the Nibali group, which was now made up of twelve riders, at 1:53 and the pink jersey of Jungels at 2:30.
Nieve buried himself over those long final kilometers, there was no way he was going to be caught and as he came into the final straight he knew he had the win in the bag. With a last sprint and a look over the shoulder, he had time for a two-arm salute. Visconti was 40 seconds later and Valverde was piped on the line for 3rd by Nibali just over a minute later.
Young Bob Jungels kept the pressure on all the way to the line, but lost out by 26 seconds to Andrey Amador and is now second overall. Amador made history today as the first rider from Costa Rica to lead a Grand Tour.
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Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky in 4:31:49
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:43
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:17
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
6. Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale
9. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
11. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
12. Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
13. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
14. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha
15. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar
16. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale
17. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:07
18. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale
19. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale
20. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
21. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky
22. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
23. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:17
24. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Trek-Segafredo at 2:33
25. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar in 54:05:50
2. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:26
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:41
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:43
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 1:37
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 2:01
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:19
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale at 2:48
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 3:15
11. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 3:21
12. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:37
13. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 3:55
14. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Trek-Segafredo at 4:48
15. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 5:18
16. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data at 5:38
17. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 6:15
18. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 7:46
19. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 9:41
20. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 9:54
21. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 13:17
22. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 13:18
23. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky at 13:57
24. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 14:34
25. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 17:04.