Cummings top Brit on mountain TT as Nibali nails it

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Stage 18 - ITT - Mori - Polsa - 20.6km
23 May 2013
Report: Eddie Allen

British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete Steve Cummings was the fastest of the British competitors on stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia, which saw the second individual time trial of the race – a 20km uphill effort from Mori to Polsa.

Cummings held onto the top spot in the early throes of the competition until the time trial specialists and GC contenders hit the course later in the afternoon, the Briton eventually finishing a creditable 26th.

The stage was won magnificently by maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali, his first stage win of the 2013 Giro, as conditions changed from bright sun to heavy rain, putting the Astana rider in a strong position as the race enters its final phase. Cadel Evans, second place on GC, failed to capitalise on the opportunity to take time from Nibali, ending the day in 25th position and losing a massive 2:36 on his rival.

Britain’s Alex Dowsett, who won the first individual time trial in scintillating style, struggled on the mountain course finishing 90th – a poor bike choice meaning a mid race swap, scuppering any chances of further TT glory. For maglia rosso Mark Cavendish, it was a day to get behind him, the terrain and the discipline not his forte, the Omega Pharma Quick Step rider finishing 157th. Fellow Briton and sprinter Adam Blythe, riding for BMC, finished in 169th position.

Tomorrow sees the race head back into the mountains for two epic stages which will see Cavendish have to tackle the Passo del Gavia and Passo dello Stelvio if he is to challenge for the red jersey in Brescia.

As Cadel Evans finished outside the top 15, the Australian failed to close the points gap on Cavendish, however thanks to his stage win, Vincenzo Nibali moves up the maglia rosso table to third, just ten points behind the Brit. If the general classification competition is beginning to look like a done deal, then the red jersey battle is open warfare, with, ironically, two GC protagonists challenging a pure sprinter for victory.

Stage Result

1 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 44:29:00
2 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel - Euskadi @ 00:58
3 CARUSO Damiano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ 01:20
4 SCARPONI Michele Lampre - Merida @ 01:21
5 MAJKA Rafal Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 01:25
6 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling @ 01:26
7 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale @ 01:32
8 CLEMENT Stef Blanco Pro Cycling Team @ 01:36
9 CATALDO Dario Sky Procycling @ 01:41
10 DI LUCA Danilo Vini Fantini @ 01:52
26 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team @ 02:39
90 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team @ 05:27
157 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step @ 08:05
169 BLYTHE Adam BMC Racing Team @ 11:42

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