Diego Ulissi came out on top ahead of João Almeida and Patrick Konrad in a photo finish on stage 13 of the 2020 Giro d'Italia, with the Italian winning by half a wheel on the line.
The sprinters gave their all to get back on after losing touch to the general classification group over the final climb but were not able to get back on, The sprint came then down to the GC contenders and a couple of puncheurs, such as Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates). Despite a decent lead out by Deceuninck - Quick-Step for Almeida, Ulissi was able to pip he and Konrad to the line in the final 100m of the stage.
Almeida extends his lead yet again over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) and the rest by adding six seconds of bonuses with the second place on the day. He leads by 40 seconds now with Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) moving up to sixth thanks to his third place.
How it happend
The peloton started stage 13 in Cervia before riding a nearly completely pan flat 192.5km course with two climbs near the end and finishing in Monselice. The break went away eventually with seven riders going up the road.
The break was made up of Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM), Rodrigo Contreras (Astana), Harm van Houcke (Lotto-Soudal), and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizàne).
The break only managed three minutes over the bunch which was led by Bora-Hansgrohe and Israel Start-Up Nation all day as they wanted to bring it to a sprint for Peter Sagan and Davide Cimolai respectively.
The pace was steady all the way with Pellaud taking both intermediate sprints, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) taking one point from the peloton as he hoped to hold onto the ciclamino points jersey.
It remained this way until 10km before the first of the two finishing climbs as teams like Ineos Grenadiers started to really up to pace as they worked for British champion, Ben Swift.
The break broke down as soon as they hit the climb with Bouchard and Tonelli being able to kick on out of the lead group on the Roccolo category four climb, 4.3km at an average of 7.8 per cent gradient, maxing out at 14 per cent.
Behind, Bora took the lead of the peloton with Sagan in second wheel. Swift was also staying close to the front as were the GC riders, while Démare was one of the first riders dropped along with other sprinters like Elia Viviani (Cofidis).
Bouchard and Tonelli pushed on but only had 35 seconds on the now Astana led peloton over the top of the climb, but there was another climb to come; the Calaone, another category four climb but just 2km at an average of 9.9 per cent, shorter but much steeper maxing at 20 per cent.
Démare got back in with 20km to go, just before the final climb and went straight to the front of the peloton as they looked to give the French champion some sliding space.
Tonelli and Bouchard hit the bottom of the climb with 18km to go, holding that 35 seconds advantage as stage 12 winner, Jhonatan Narváez (Ineos Grenadiers) went to the front to work for Swift.
UAE Team Emirates then came to the front with Valerio Conti driving it on for Ulissi, who then attacked with 17km to go. Ulissi was not able to get away as Deceuninck - Quick-Step covered the move.
Tao Geoghegan-Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) then attacked with 16km to go, with Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) trying to follow along with Almeida. Guerreiro countered the move and took the points at the top of the climb ahead of the Deceuninck - Quick-Step led group.
Guerreiro was brought back and it was the pink jersey’s team who started to push the pace for him. Sagan then lost contact with Swift and slipped to 15 seconds back with Démare and Viviani a further 54 seconds back.
Three groups came out at the bottom of the descent with 10km to go, The peloton with all the GC leaders led by Deceuninck - Quick-Step working for Almeida, the Sagan group with Ineos working for Swift and the Démare group that had Groupama riders along with Cofidis riders chasing for Viviani.
With 4km to go Swift and Sagan went on an attack with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) but they weren’t able to pull back the lead group.
It came down to the GC riders to sprint for the line with Ulissi coming out on top by half a wheel over Almeida and Konrad.
Almeida extended his lead in pink to 40 seconds thanks to the bonuses he received on the line for getting second place.
The Giro d'Italia continues on stage 14 on Saturday, a tough 34.1km individual time trial from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene.
Giro d'Italia 2020, stage 13: Cervia to Monselice (192.5km)
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 4-22-18
2. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
3. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Tao Geoghegan-Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
5. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
6. Sergio Samitier (Esp) Movistar Team
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb, all at same time
General classification after stage 13
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 53-43-58
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 40 seconds
3. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 49s
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling, at 1-03
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-07
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-17
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 1-25
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-27
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 1-42
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 2-26
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