Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was in the mix again on stage 13 of Giro d’Italia as Ryan Gibbons took fifth place in the bunch sprint. Omar Fraile kept the blue KOM jersey.
With a total distance of only 167 km and no categorized climbs to overcome, today’s stage was earmarked for the sprinters. Knowing that the rest of the stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia all are very hilly, stage 13 could also very well be the last chance for the fast riders to fight for glory.
Early in the stage, a small group of four riders managed to distance the peloton. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Johann van Zyl found himself at the front but with only three others riders in the group, Van Zyl decided to drop back to the peloton and save his legs for the difficult stages ahead.
The front trio worked well together but the pack never let the break get a gap of more than two minutes. Ultimately, with less than 20 km left to go, it all came back together for the expected bunch sprint in Tortona. Kristian Sbaragli did a great job positioning Gibbons near the front and the 22-year-old South African impressed by taking his sixth Top10 place in his first-ever Grand Tour. Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) won the stage, while Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) kept the pink leader’s jersey.
Without any KOM points up for grabs today, Fraile had no problems keeping the blue jersey as he continues to top the mountains classification before tomorrow’s uphill finish on the iconic Oropa climb.
“The team was really good today. Everybody did their part, whether it was to help in the wind or to get bottles. Kristian [Sbaragli] was great in the final. He’s an absolute wizard and I always feel safe on his wheel. With about 1.2 km to go, I got on the wheel of Greipel and I thought that was a good place to be. I moved up quite nicely but then there was a lot of chaos with the attack from the Bora rider. Kristian then came back to take me to the front again and he left me in a good position with 300 meters to go. Unfortunately, I was stuck behind a UAE Team Emirates rider and when I finally could get around him, it was too late. I’m disappointed about the outcome but I must also be honest and admit that I didn’t have the legs I was hoping for today. However, I still feel that I’m capable of much more than I have been able to show in this Giro so far”.