Marco Canola recorded a career-defining win in Stage 13 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, winning a sprint with three riders who survived a long break. Jackson Rodriguez and Angelo Tulik completed the podium, just mere seconds ahead of the pack.
|2014 Giro d'Italia Stage 13 Result|
|2||Jackson Ridriguez||Colombia||Androni-Giocatollo-Venezuela||Same time|
|3||Angelo Tulik||France||Europcar||Same time|
|5||Giacomo Nizzolo||Italy||Trek Factory Racing||+11|
|8||Ben Swift||GBR||Team Sky||+11|
Following the high drama of Thursday's time trial, which saw Cadel Evans lose the pink jersey to Rigoberto Uran, Stage 13 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia was laid out as an almost exclusively flat stage, designed to give the sprinters one last chance at glory before Sunday's gruesome Stage 15, towards Montecampione.
Gregor Brown showed us this picture, as Uran became the very first Colombian ever to start a stage in the Giro in pink:
As shared by GCN's Daniel Lloyd, the weather didn't look like it would cooperate once again as the riders got ready to depart:
Five cyclists tried their luck early in the stage, breaking away from the pack just minutes after the start. They were soon joined by Katusha's Maxim Belkov, giving us a group of six leaders in total for most of thee stage, as shared by Roadcyclinguk:
The pack never felt like giving the six leaders too much space during Friday's short race, however, limiting their lead to a maximum of 3 minutes, 2 seconds and picking up the pace with 45 km to go.
Vladimir Gusev aided the break for a second, as the Russian veteran clumsily went to the ground following a mishap with his jacket, as shared by OPQS Cycling Team:
Blazin' Saddles had an image of the incident:
With 30 km left to go, fans lining the road were surprised by not only rain and wind but even snow, as the track started to get very slippery. Event organisers shared this photo of the banner:
Canola, Tulik and Gert Dockx would break from the group of six with 10 kilometers still to go, and following some slight hesitation in the pack, the lead of the threesome looked like it might just be big enough to see them through to the finish.
The three were helped by slight tailwinds up until the final 200 metres and a finish in small, narrow streets, which combined with the weather to give the advantage to a smaller group as opposed to the pack.
The sprint teams, meanwhile, seemed to realise they wouldn't be able to chase the three down, electing to move forward in the pack without truly organising themselves until the final three kilometres, at which point Team Sky took control.
At the front, Dockx had to let go of his two fellow leaders, who were then joined by Jackson Rodriguez, the winner of most of the in-between sprints until that point. The three started to gamble and almost lost sight of the pack, finishing with a lead of just a handful of seconds.
Canola started the sprint from the front of the group with 250 metres to go and held off a push from Rodriguez to give himself the most beautiful win of his career.
Via France 24's Alberto Celani, Canola dedicated the win to his deceased father:
Favourite Nacer Bouhanni won the sprint for fourth place in dominant fashion, 11 seconds after the winner had crossed the line.
Highlights soon to follow.
|Giro d'Italia Updated Leaderboard|
|1||Rigoberto Uran||Colombia||Omega Pharma - Quick Step||53:15:06|
Uran will hold on to the pink jersey with no changes at the top of the standings. Tomorrow's race is another relatively easy stage, and one that should give some of the more adventurous riders a chance to make a name for themselves.
The leaders for the general classification will keep quiet ahead of Sunday's heavy mountain stage, which will have major implications with an eye on the final week.
Evans surprisingly lost a lot of terrain on Thursday to a solid climber in Uran, who will now get the chance to defend his lead as opposed to lead a risky adventure towards Montecampione.
The Australian will have to attack if he wants to close the gap with Uran, as there won't be many more chances to gain ground after Sunday's stage.