Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) won stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia, coming across the line alone. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) was 2nd and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) claimed 3rd spot. The overall race lead was taken over by Andrey Amador (Movistar).
It was a tough stage at the Giro d’Italia today as riders left Palmanova on a 170km trip before arriving at the finish in Cividale del Fruili. 4 big categorised climbs also had to be dealt with, 2 in the first half of the race and 2 in the last half of the race with the finish coming 14km after the top of the final climb.
Despite the tough course that lay ahead, the peloton started the stage at a rapid pace. It took over 50km before the break of the day went clear and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Jaco Venter and Johann van Zyl in the 25 rider break of the day. With the group being so big, the gap was kept small as the main GC contenders didn’t want to leave anything to chance.
Venter and Van Zyl rode well in the big break and reached the start of the penultimate climb, the category 1 Cima Porzus, with a 3-minute lead on the peloton. It was a beast of a climb though, averaging at more than 8% in gradient for 8.8km and this is where the decisive moments of the stage would take place.
From the break Mikel Nieve showed he had the best climbing legs on the day and rode clear by 30″ from Visconti. The rest of the break, including our 2 South Africans were caught and passed by a flying GC favourites group. Kanstantsin Siutsou went over the summit just 20″ behind the select group which contained the likes of Nibali, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Amador.
It was then a fast and technical plummet to the foot of the final climb, a 6km cat 2 stinger. Nieve maintained his advantage over Visconti and the peloton, to start the descent with enough time to take the stage win. Visconti came home 43″ adrift and the select group of favourites were a further 30″ behind. Siutsou was unfortunately not able to regain contact with this main group and went on to finish 26th, 2’46” behind Nieve. Despite losing a bit of time, Siutsou maintained his 16th position on the overall GC.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
Stage 13 was one of the most technical I can remember in world cycling. 4 extreme climbs and downhills on narrow roads so it was nearly impossible to pass the dropped riders with a car. Our boys did a fantastic job, Johann and Jaco were in a big move with between 25 and 30 riders and there were some very strong riders in the move. The winner came out of this group in the end. We protected our GC rider Kanstantsin and he did another good ride to finish just outside the top 20. We thought he moved up a few places on GC but in the end he kept his position which is still okay. We believe a top 10 is still in reach as there are many hard stages still to come. Also, Kristian had a pretty tough day being sick but we want to keep him in the race to have some options in the last sprint stages. Overall, it was a tough day.