Heading into the closing stages, the peloton looked like a commitment-phobic bridegroom on wedding day. Not quite sure if they were totally committed. By now, Canola, Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli) and Angelo Tulik (Europcar) were steaming into the final kilometer and fanning across the road ahead of the last sharp corner.
Canola made like a Friday-night drinker, muscling his way to the bar. He squeezed between his fellow escapees, took the corner first and barreled it to the line. Rodriguez just ran out of road in his challenge.
The main field steamed in a few seconds down meaning any sprinter looking for a chance has a lot of suffering to endure between now and Trieste next Sunday.
Previously in today’s Giro d’Italia stage …: Stage 13 is short and sweet, at 157kms and with only one fourth-category climb. We run north, skirting the east of Turin on a pretty flat route. That means the sprinters teams will try to keep a lid on things.
Consequently, it’s ants-in-the-pants time for those hoping for a breakaway … five men are off together immediately, namely Angelo Tulik (Europcar), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni), Marco Canola (Bardiani CSF), Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol), and Jeffry Johan Romero (Colombia).
Katusha’s Maxim Belkov chases across and that’s the day’s escape sorted, less than twenty clicks into the stage. The peloton breathes out and turns to chit-chat. Like a parent at a playpark, they keep a watch on the gap, making sure those kids don’t get too far away.
With 100kms to go, the advantage is under two-and-a-half minutes and hovers round about there. Giant-Shimano are working for Luka Mezgec, while FDJ are looking after points leader Nacer Bouhanni.
The weather starts to play its tricks again … not the wet road surface causing problems, but riders trying to pick up rain jackets. Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) and Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp) get theirs caught in the wheels … bang, Gusev goes down and Dekker needs a new bike.
Over the top of the sole classified climb, the peloton has the break where it wants it … within comfortable reach. This is helped by the fact that Belkov and Romero are having a “heated debate” about the amount of relative effort being put into the escape. Canola leads over the climb of Salita di Rivara.
The descent is white-speckled from the hailstones and the riders teeter gingerly downhill through Busano with 30 kilometers left. The race comissaire has his red flag out, flapping like a one-winged little bird to get the message to the riders.
The break reaches Rivarolo Canavese in glorious sunshine and take the bell as they swing out for the 22km finishing circuit, with the peloton lined out 1’45” behind.
FDJ are doing all the work, not getting much help and the gap to the escape isn’t falling as quickly as Bouhanni would want. Inside ten kilometers to go, BMC and Omega Pharma-QuickStep appear on teh front, but there seems to be confusion in the chase.
The leaders are starting to attack each other as Romero, Belkov and Dockx are dropped leaving just three up front. Despite some parrying and countering, that’s how they came to the last corner, and Canola showed he was the guy who’d worked out the importance of getting through first.
Results: Giro d’Italia 2014 Stage 13, Fossano to Rivarolo Canavese
1 Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) 3hrs 37’ 20”
2 Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli)
3 Angelo Tulik (Europcar) same time
4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr + 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 same time
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13
1 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep Cycling Team 53hrs 15’ 06”
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team + 37”
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo + 1’ 52”
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale + 2’ 32”
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team + 2’ 50”
6 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team + 3’ 29”
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team + 3’ 37”
8 Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team + 4’ 06”
9 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team + 4’ 20”
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing + 4’ 41”