Vincenzo Nibali's jersey is becoming more and more rosa in the Giro d'Italia. Yesterday, his two closest rivals - Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Rigoberto Urán (Sky) - lost a half-minute in the overall classification.
The duo is now 1-26 and 2-46 minutes behind, respectively, to team Astana's Italian in the fight for the pink jersey.
Though the rain eased up, snow fell and the mercury sat at 1°C. Urán put on his jacket to ride back down the Jafferau to Bardonecchia.
"The stage was hard and cold, and I hope that in the next days this bad weather eases up," Urán explained.
"I was not able to stay with Nibali; he's just that much stronger at the moment, but I didn't lose much and there's still a lot left to race."
Urán won the summit finish to Montasio on Tuesday to put himself up with the overall challengers. With Brad Wiggins out, he is now Sky's GC leader.
With light snow falling on the Jafferau yesterday, the Colombian initiated the attacks with team Androni's Diego Rosa and Franco Pellizotti. Their move faded, but they isolated Nibali.
"I want to underline my team's strength," added Urán. "Despite Wiggins' abandon, we are leading the points standings and the others should be concerned.
Evans, the 2011 Tour de France winner, remained vigilant as he has this entire Giro. At one kilometre to go, however, he and Urán slipped behind.
Nibali rode away with eventual stage winner Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). He gained time and the bonus seconds, 12, for second place.
"It was not my best day," Evans said in a press release.
"Conceding time to the other GC contenders is certainly not what I wanted. I just couldn't react when the attack from Nibali came. I think that has something to do with the last couple of days. I hope this is my worst day in the mountains; otherwise to fight for the win will be difficult."
Evans and Urán face another difficult and cold test up the Galibier this afternoon. If they are to upset Nibali's pink run, they will need to strike.
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