Italian Marco Canola was rewarded for his lengthy sprint as he claimed today’s thirteenth Giro d’Italia stage in Rivarolo Canavese after a day-long break.
Canola (Bardiani CSF) edged out Jackson Rodriguez (Androni-Giocattoli) and Europcar’s Angelo Tulik as the trio managed to hold off an on-rushing peloton.
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It was the 26-year-old’s first victory of the season; he also became only the second Italian rider after Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi to win a stage of their home Grand Tour this year.
“I hope that this will be the first of many wins,” Canola said at the finish. “I wasn’t in great form in the last stages, I felt that I lacked energy and my legs felt empty, but with that grinta, it pushed me through. I kept patient for this day, I got the right day. The grinta brought me this stage win. I could dedicated it to many people, but my dad above all.”
The trio were part of a six-man move that formed almost from the gun. Initially it comprised of Rodriguez, Canola, Tulik, Jeffry Johan Romero (Colombia) and Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol).
Katusha’s Maxim Belkov bridged across soon after, but despite the best placed rider – Rodriguez – sitting nearly an hour down on GC, the six leaders were never allowed a lead over four minutes.
FDJ.fr and Giant-Shimano controlled the pace in the peloton, and their chase was not significantly slowed by the waving of a red warning flag with 30 kilometres to go because of an earlier hailstorm that made the route treacherous.
However, momentum was lost shortly after the intermediate sprint with 12km remaining. FDJ, who have already won three stages through Nacer Bouhanni, scaled back their efforts, which left only Trek of the sprinters’ teams committing.
By now, Rodriguez, Canola and Tulik were clear having escaped at the prime, and had a gap of 1-19 entering the final 10 kilometres. The bunch only managed to remove nine of those seconds within the following five kilometres.
Canola, seemingly worried about taking his two companions to a sprint, attacked with 3.6km to go to no avail.
The trio passed under the red kite together, and having forced Rodriguez into riding at the front for most of the final kilometre, Canola accelerated around a sweeping right-hand bend with 250 metres remaining, and managed to hold on to the take an important win for his Italian wildcard team.
The peloton had the escapees in their sight in the final kilometre, and points leader Bouhanni led them home, 11 seconds behind the winner.
Race leader Rigoberto Uran finished within the peloton to stay in the maglia rosa.
Trek sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo said of the sprinters’ tactics: “The escape got free, which every once in a while you need that for the escapees’ sake. We miscalculated the gaps and started to pull too late.
“Were we afraid of the Bouhanni? It’s true, we could’ve done it, but we also have to try to weaken him for the sprint. We tried to make his team work and maybe be a man down in the final. Clearly, we didn’t do the right thing.”
Giro d’Italia 2014, stage 13: Fossano – Rivarolo Canavese, 157km
1. Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 3-37-20
2. Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
3. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Team Europcar at st.
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0-11
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano
8. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
9. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp
10. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team all at st.
Overall classification after stage 13
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53-15-06
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 37 secs
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-52
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R at 2-32
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2-50
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 3-29
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3-37
8. Wouter Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 4-06
9. Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC 4-20
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek 4-41