Mark Cavendish became the first rider since Alessandro Petacchi in 2005 to win four stages in one Giro d’Italia, as he sprinted to his 101st victory since turning professional in Cherasco this afternoon.
Cavendish quickly sought refuge on the roadside after this victory, as the combination of the race’s longest stage and a frantic finish took their toll.
Unlike yesterday’s victory in Treviso, he had to fend for himself in the closing part of the stage. His Omega Pharma-Quick Step team had ridden the perfect race until they reached a small climb around seven kilometres from the line.
The Manxman made it over the top of the slight ascent in a good position, but it left him having to latch onto the Orica-GreenEdge and Cannondale lead-out trains.
However, a frantic pace in the peloton meant that the last of the day’s escapees, Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso, was caught with 1.5km remaining.
Attempting to set up Elia Viviani for the victory, Cannondale came to the front in the final 600 metres, but Cavendish was unbeatable once he had launched his sprint on the right-hand side of the road.
This was his fourth victory in this year’s Giro – his best-ever performance in the race – and the win means he becomes only the third rider to win at least 14 stages in two different Grand Tours after Petacchi and Eddy Merckx.
Ahead of tomorrow’s mountain-top finish at Bardonecchia, the GC favourites – now without Bradley Wiggins and Ryder Hesjedal, who did not start the stage – enjoyed a quiet day. The sole action was a short-lived attack by Benat Inxausti (Movistar), which was immediately shut down by race leader Vincenzo Nibali.
Giro d’Italia 2013, stage 13: Busseto to Cherasco, 254km
1. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) in 6-09-55
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Leopard)
3. Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano)
4. Brett Lancaster (Orica-GreenEdge)
5. Elia Viviani (Cannondale)
6. Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
7. Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff)
8. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida)
9. Anthony Roux (FDJ)
10. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni-Giocattoli) all at s.t.
Overall classification after stage 12
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in 52-38-09
2. Cadel Evans (BMC) at 41 secs
3. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) at 2-04
4. Robert Gesink (Blanco) at 2-12
5. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) at 2-13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 2-55
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) at 3-35
8. Benat Inxausti (Movistar) at 4-05
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) at 4-17
10. Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 4-21
Giro d’Italia 2013: Previews and race info
Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson