Welcome to today’s live blog of stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia where the riders have to cross the Simplon Pass before a fast descent and mostly flat final 100km towards the finish in Cassano Magnago.
We’ll have updates throughout the afternoon.
Key updates (all times BST)
11.15: Stage 13 underway
11.40: Mathieu van der Poel adds two races
12:15: Large breakaway forms ahead of Simplon Pass
14:55: Lorena Wiebes wins stage three of Vuelta a Burgos
16:00. Nico Denz wins his second stage in three days
Today’s route is likely to appeal to a great number of personnel, with the Simplon Pass requiring the riders to ascend more than 1,300m of elevation in just 20km. It tops out at 2,002m above sea level.
If the sprinting teams don’t have anyone in the break, they’ll be working hard to bring the escapees back, but if a large enough break goes clear, it’s almost guaranteed that the winner will come from there. There are a few lumps in the final 20km where riders could make their winning move.
If not, it’ll be a shoot-out for the sprinters that remain in the race. Mark Cavendish of Astana-Qazaqstan is of course one, as is the leader of the points classification, Jonathan Milan (Bahrain-Merida).
The Giro d’Italia has lost a further two riders this morning, with Astana-Qazaqstan’s Samuele Battistella suffering from gastrointestinal problems and a fever. His team confirmed he had tested negative for Covid-19.
EF Education-EasyPost, meanwhile, will be without Stefan de Bod who has an infected wound sustained from a crash earlier in the race.
This year’s edition has been plagued by abandonments due to illnesses and injuries.
Mathieu van der Poel will race in Belgium before the Tour de France, with his Alpecin-Deceuninck team revealing his schedule ahead of the Grande Boucle.
Van der Poel, the winner of both Paris-Roubaix and Milan-Sanremo in the spring, will ride Dwars door het Hageland on June 10, a race he won back in 2017.
Four days later he will then begin the five-stage Baloise Belgium Tour, where his teammate Jasper Philipsen will be the favourite for the sprint stages.
Currently, the Dutchman is in an extensive training block at altitude for the Tour. “The next three weeks we will be preparing in La Plagne for the Tour de France,” he told his team’s website. “It’s good to put in some races to get some race rhythm afterwards.
“Both Dwars door het Hageland and the Baloise Belgium Tour are races that appeal to me. With my cyclocross background, I should be able to play a significant role in Dwars door het Hageland. In the Baloise Belgium Tour I will find a few guys from our Tour selection.
Van der Poel will be one of the favourites to take the first yellow jersey of this year’s Tour, which starts in Bilbao, Spain.
180km to go: Multiple attacks in the peloton but so far no break has managed to get clear.
173km to go: We have around 17 riders in a breakaway and, interestingly, riders from the sprinting teams: Bahrain-Victorious, Astana-Qazaqstan and Jayco-AlUla. That points towards the break triumphing.
Fernando Gaviria of Movistar is also present, so he would be the overwhelming favourite if this group made it to the line together.
170km to go: Bora-hansgrohe's Lennard Kämna, 1-52 off pink, is trying to get away, and his chasing group of around 10 riders has 20 seconds on the peloton. Jumbo-Visma are trying to chase it down, but this looks like it could potentially cause a major shift in the GC race. Ineos Grenadiers have Thymen Arensman present.
162km to go: And the peloton have sat up, and the breakaway of 18 has been formed. Crucially, Kämna and Arensman are back in the peloton.
There is a second group of nine riders trying to bridge across to what would become a group of 27 riders.
158km to go: The leading group of 18 looks like it's about to let the nine chasers join, and the peloton has pretty much sat up. Don't be surprised if the day's winner crosses the line 10 minutes ahead of the maglia rosa group.
The climb of the Simplon Pass (20km) has just begun, and the rain is starting.
145km to go: The breakaway of 29 riders has an advantage of around 6-30 to the peloton, but curiously no one in the break has tried to drop Fernando Gaviria of Movistar or Davide Ballerini of Soudal-QuickStep, the sprinters in the pack who will be hoping for a fast finish.
Other selected riders in the break include: Luis León Sánchez of Astana, stage 12 victor Nico Denz of Bora-hansgrohe, EF Education-EasyPost's Alberto Bettiol, and the Bais twins, Davide and Mattia of EOLA-Kometa, the former second in the KOM classification. Israel-PremierTech are represented by three riders, as too are Movistar and Trek-Segafredo.
140km to go: The breakaway cross the summit together, with the exception of Davide Bais (EOLO-Kometa) and Bruno Armirail of Groupama-FDJ who fight it out for the maximum KOM points atop the Passo del Sempione, and it's Bais who takes the 40 on offer.
That means the Italian retakes the lead at the top of the mountain classificiation, and now has a 30 point cushion of Armirail's teammate Pinot.
And now begins a wet descent.
At the start of today's stage, Geraint Thomas was asked what he makes of criticism by some former riders who were disappointed that stage 13 was shortened.
The Welshman's response was short and blunt: "A lot of other things happened in the 80s and 90s that we don't do now as well, which we're proud of, so they can say what they want."
118km to go: Both the break and the peloton are charging down the descent and are heading back into Italy. So far everyone's making it down safely despite the truly awful conditions.
100km to go: The breakaway has almost 10 minutes on the main peloton as they begin the mostly flat route to the finish in Cassano Magnago.
It's not just the Giro going on today; in Spain it's the third stage of the Vuelta Burgos Feminas, and the breakaway of seven currently have a lead of 43 seconds with 17km left. A sprint, however, looks most likely, with Lorena Wiebes, the leader and winner of stage one, the obvious favourite.
77km to go: The breakaway have a lead of 12 minutes on the peloton and the rain is biblical.
The rain continues to pourImage 1 of 3
The rain continues to pourImage 1 of 3
Lorena Wiebes wins stage three of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas, taking her second win of the race and maintaining her lead in the general classification.
57km to go: There's now a bit of movement at the front of the breakaway as riders try and make sure Fernando Gaviria of Movistar doesn't win. At the moment we have Laurenz Rex of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty and Stefano Oldani of Alpecin-Deceuninck with a small lead.
48km to go: The group of two has now swelled to four, with Davide Ballerini (Soudal-QuickStep) and Toms Skujinš (Trek-Segafredo) now joining Oldani and Rex. They have 23 seconds on the other breakaway riders.
36km to go: The four out front now have a lead of 45 seconds, while the peloton are some 16 minutes behind. It'd opening the door up to potentially Bruno Armirail jumping into the pink. The Groupama-FDJ rider is 18-37 behind Geraint Thomas.
21km to go: The break of four still has a lead of 50 seconds, but the main interest now is with Armirail who is jumping right up the GC into the top-10, and possibly into pink. The peloton are in no rush...
13km to go: The quartet's advantage has reduced to around 30 seconds, and the chasers from the breakaway are pushing hard to bring it back. The peloton, meanwhile, are approaching a deficit of 20 minutes, meaning Armirail is likely to be heading into the pink jersey.
7km to go: Toms Skujins has tried to distance his breakaway colleagues but Oldani and Ballerini remain with him.
6km to go: The trio have 18 seconds over the chasing group, but they'd like more given that they'll engage in cat and mouse tactics as the line approaches.
4km to go: The chasers include Bora-hansgrohe's Nico Denz who won stage 12, as well as Alberto Bettiol and Derek Gee. It's going to tight for the three leaders who have a 20 second margin.
1km to go: Will the leaders of three hold on? They have 12 seconds!
Nico Denz wins stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia!
That was a brilliant finale! Three became eight in the final 400m, and Denz wins his second stage in three days!
Bruno Armirail crosses the line and he needs Geraint Thomas to cross the line 18-38 adrift.
And it's confirmed, Bruno Armirail is the new leader of the Giro d'Italia, with Geraint Thomas opting to cede pink ahead of tomorrow's tough-looking stage.
Full race report can be viewed here
And that's it for the day. Join us tomorrow for stage 15. Have a great Saturday.
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