Stage 10 - Cordenons to Altopiano del Montasio
14 May 2013
Report: Eddie Allen
Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins lost further time on race leader Vincenzo Nibali on the tenth stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia, losing touch with the maglia rosa in the final few kilometres to the mountain top finish at Altopiano del Montasio, in a stage which saw Wiggins’ Team Sky teammate Rigoberto Uran take a fine solo stage victory.
Following a day of rest, recuperation and press conferences, the Giro d’Italia hit the high mountains for the first time, with a 167km stage from Cordenons to Altopiano del Montasio. The opening half of the stage was on undulating terrain before two brutal climbs; the first starting in earnest in Tolmezzo, rollercoastering up to the 1555m peak of Casso di Lanza, followed by a steep descent running straight on to the ascent of Altopiano del Montasio, with its 1519m mountain top finish.
After just under 40km a 13-man break including British rider David Millar (Garmin Sharp) broke clear on the rolling and gradually ascending opening to the day’s parcours. Soon the baker’s dozen had almost eight minutes on the peloton but the big question was could they rise to the occasion and stay away on the vertiginous slopes of the Passo Casson di Lanza?
Before the first climb was an intermediate sprint at Paularo, where breakaway man Elia Viviani took valuable points to overtake Mark Cavendish in the maglia rosso passione competition. Yet as the road reared up for the first time in anger, the baker’s dozen began to crumble, with Team Sky setting a searing pace at the head of the peloton. Wiggins had six riders in support, with Nibali’s full nine- man Astana team also at the head of things.
Over the summit of the Passo Casson di Lanze and breakaway survivors Jackson Rogriquez, Serge Pauwels, Tiago Machado and Oscar Gatto persisted out front while the remnants of the break began to dissolve back into the peloton. Meanwhile local boy Franco Pelozotti had attacked from the front of the peloton with teammate Diego Rosa.
Yet as the 22km climb to the finish loomed, the pace of the maglia rosa group finally put paid to the day’s breakaway efforts and audacious attacks, with once again Sky, now down to four men (Wiggins, Zandio, Siutsou and Uran) stringing it out again, taking the fight to GC contenders Nibali, Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink.
At 9km to go race leaders Rodriguez and Pauwels were finally hoovered up as Sky’s pace began to shell riders out of the maglia rosa group, notably Nibali’s super domestique Tanil Kangert. Nibali looked untroubled as the race approached the ultra steep 20% plus sections of the climb.
Then at 7km to go Wiggins’ teammate Rigoberto Uran launched a lone attack in an attempt to unsettle Nibali and his teammates and force the chase. Lying 9th overall at 2min 49secs back on the leader, Uran’s attack could not be ignored. As the race passed through the intermediate sprint, Nibali sprang out of the front of the group to take the time bonus, but up the road Uran had opened up 50 seconds and looked remarkably comfortable. The pace of the chase then shelled Henao, leaving Wiggins with just Siutsou for company.
As the race hit the steepest part of the climb, at 3km, the attacks began, splintering the lead group. The steepness of terrain and the ferocity of attack didn’t suit Wiggins even tempo climbing style, the British rider slipping off the back of the group as teammate Uran’s lead began to tumble.
With the gradient slackening, Wiggins dug deep in an attempt to limit his losses to the group, headed up now by Evans and Nibali, both looking strong. AG2R’s Carlos Alberto Betancur attacked and went clear but despite the chase behind, Uran had done enough, taking the stage victory for Team Sky. Betancur crossed the line 20 seconds back with Nibali at 31 seconds. The final sting in the tail of the climb had cost Wiggins a further 37 seconds, the British rider finishing 1min 8secs behind his teammate, putting a further dent in his maglia rosa assault with another mountain stage to come tomorrow.
After the stage Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford reflected on the mixed emotions of the day after time loss for Wiggins.
"It is disappointing but you have got to put it in perspective," he told Sky Sports News. "That was one of the hardest finishes in the race. It was very steep where he lost touch.
"From my point of view, I like it when we take the initiative. It is better to take it on and absolutely try; sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. We have got to be very happy for Rigo, he has got great form. Not quite the result for Bradley, but I am happy that we took it on."
Wiggins will start stage 11 from Tarviso to Vajont 2 minutes and 5 seconds adrift of Nibali, still in fourth place overall, one second behind Uran who moves into third in the general classification. The stage also left Mark Cavendish in third place overall in the points competition, behind Cadel Evans and Elia Viviani.
1 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 04:37:42
2 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale 00:20
3 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 00:31
4 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini ,,
5 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team ,,
6 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff ,,
7 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale ,,
8 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack - Leopard 00:47
9 INTXAUSTI Benat Movistar Team 01:06
10 WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 01:08
General Classification after stage 10
1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 38:57:32
2 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team 00:41
3 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 02:04
4 WIGGINS Bradley Sky Procycling 02:05
5 GESINK Robert Blanco Pro Cycling Team 02:12
6 SCARPONI Michele Lampre - Merida 02:13
7 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 02:55
8 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw Lampre - Merida 03:35
9 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 04:17
10 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff 04:21