Yesterday the break stuck in the long 234km stage, with Omega’s Bak scoring the fine win. Today’s break didn’t have the same numbers or pedigree, but Farnese Vini’s Francesco Failli and Vacansoliel-DCM’s Martijn Keizer threw caution to the wind and went out early.
Stage video courtesy of CyclingtheAlps.com
The sprinters’ teams were keen to keep the break on a short leash, and once the break went out over a handful of minutes, the rouleurs went to the front to set the pace. It looked unlikely for the duo out front to stay away, but they dug their heels in just the same and worked together.
Through the feed zone with about 45km to go, the break hovered around the 2 minute mark. A scant 5 km later, the gap was 1:15. The writing was on the wall in big fat letters for the break.
You know it’s a slow day at the Giro when we start posting pics like this…
Once the gap hit a minute, the peloton set the hook there and eased up. Cavendish, resplendent in his red points jersey, was having a leisurely chat back at the Team Sky car. Guys rolled off the back for food or nature breaks. This was the calm before the inevitable sprint storm. Matty Goss of Orica lurked up front, most likely to be Cav’s rival, though still feeling the effect of a tumble a few days ago.
By about the 22 km mark, the break’s fate was surely sealed as the group whittled the lead down to just a handful of seconds. By 20km, the duo were mopped up, with a Rabobank rider setting the new tempo for the gruppo compatto.
With 16km to go, no teams were really willing to do spadework, so the group spread across the road, watching each other.
Anyone remember the Giro of ’94 – this guy set the race on fire and beat the unbeatable Big Mig. Yup – Evgeny Berzin.
Closing in on 10km, the Orica and Lotto-Belisol teams came to the front and began winding it up. Rabobank soon pitched in with a few men on the front, no doubt thinking of Renshaw.
Sky started showing themselves around the 7km mark, as did Liquigas, each team trying to do some work and keep their sprinters near the business end of the race.
There’s a curvy short incline at about 6km out, and an AG2R rider saw a bit of an opportunity and made a dig, pulling another pair with him. Looked good for the cameras, but short lived as they were swept up almost immediately.
Saxo Bank put their train on the front, all lined out. It was all straight running into the last 3 km, with Orica and Sky both keeping tabs. Renshaw of Rabobank was now without teammates, but at least he was up near the front to get in the mix.
2km to go, Saxo with 4 on the front just drilling it. Sky began to creep over, then coming over the men in blue and taking over. Cav was in the perfect spot, with Renshaw on his wheel. Roberto Ferrari also snuck up as the Sky train was working with surgical precision. Orica somehow managed to get Goss right to the front and gave him a clean look at the line, but the little man from Manx turned on the jets and that was it – he slipped left to the barrier and through the traffic, and simply outsprinted everyone in the group, taking the win in a tight sprint.
It’s around this point that no one stands a chance against Cav.
Am impressive display of speed as Cav sprinter timed his acceleration perfectly for the win and the consolidation of points in the red jersey competition.
We hope the sprinters enjoyed their day, as tomorrow the Giro takes the peloton into the mountains. It’s time for the GC favorites to really start sculpting the race.
1 CAVENDISH Mark GBR SKY 3:02:07 0:00 22″
2 KRISTOFF Alexander NOR KAT 3:02:07 0:00 12″
3 RENSHAW Mark AUS RAB 3:02:07 0:00 8″
4 MODOLO Sacha ITA COG 3:02:07 0:00
5 FAVILLI Elia ITA FAR 3:02:07 0:00
6 GOSS Matthew Harley AUS OGE 3:02:07 0:00
7 DEMARE Arnaud FRA FDJ 3:02:07 0:00
8 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian ARG SAX 3:02:07 0:00
9 COLBRELLI Sonny ITA COG 3:02:07 0:00
10 BELLETTI Manuel ITA ALM 3:02:07 0:00
Overall After Stage 13