Cavendish completes mountain stage to retain red jersey while Millar retires

Cavendish completes mountain stage to retain red jersey while Millar retires

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Stage 14 - Cevere - Bardonecchia
18 May 2013
Report: Eddie Allen

British Cycling Podium Programme Rider Mark Cavendish remained in the red points classification jersey after a weather-hit stage 14, surviving the first of two gruelling days in the high mountains, which saw Vincenzo Nibali increase his lead in the general classification. Stage 14 also saw British rider David Millar retire from the race, partly due to the conditions and following the withdrawal of his team leader, 2012 champion Ryder Hesjedal.

Stage 14 saw the Giro return to the hills for the first of two days in the mountains. The 149 km route was to include two categorised climbs, the first a 2nd category climb to Sestriere and the second a 1st category mountain top finish at Jafferau. However snowy conditions at Sestriere forced organisers to alter the route at short notice, meaning that the peloton would have just one climb and a further 12 kilometres to contend with.

From a British perspective, following Wiggins’ departure two days previously, the question would be if red jersey holder Mark Cavendish would make it through the mountains to challenge for the overall points win. Cavendish began the day with 108 points with his nearest rival Cadel Evans on 73. However with the race heading into Evan’s natural habitat for two days the Australian had opportunity to close the gap on the British super-sprinter. The day saw withdrawal of Cavendish’s key lead-out man Gert Steegmans – raising further questions about the chances of Cavendish continuing to Brescia. British rider David Millar also pulled out mid stage – following the withdrawal of his team leader Ryder Hesjedal a few days earlier, Millar’s decided to call it a day in the face of hazardous weather conditions.

With the race heading towards the mountains under cloudy skies and light rain, an early breakaway at 160km saw Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Pietropoli (Lampre), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Peter Stetina (Garmin-Sharp) all go away but they were quickly reduced to four, when Stetina, Martinez and Weening crashed.

It wasn’t the day’s only crash – a high speed crash in the peloton saw Enrico Battaglin, positioned eighth in the points competition after stage 13, forced to retire from the race with a broken rib. The incident also saw race leader Nibali’s Astana teammate Alessandro Vanotti exit the race with a broken collarbone.

Meanwhile the all-Italian breakaway went on to open up a lead of over nine minutes. With no GC contenders up ahead, the peloton were initially happy to let them go. Yet as the race neared its conclusion Matteo Trentin lost touch with his compatriots and the remaining breakaway trio of Paolini, Pietropoli and Colbrelli were hunted down and caught on the final mist-laden climb of the Jafferau, with Mauro Santambrogio of Vini Fantini emerging from the mist taking the stage, with maglia rosa Nibali on his wheel, further distancing his GC rivals.

Mark Cavendish eventually crossed the line 22 minutes and 31 seconds back on the race winner but it made no difference as the Omega Pharma – Quick Step rider retained the red jersey for another day, albeit with the points gap reduced to 26 points.

It was confirmed that tomorrow’s stage (stage 15) would also fall victim to the foul weather, with both the Col de Mont Cenis and the Col du Galibier mountain top finishes scrapped due to adverse weather conditions at both summits, prompting race organisers to frantically provide an alternative parcours.

Stage result

1 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 04:42:55
2 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team ,,
3 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale @ 00:09
4 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel - Euskadi @ 00:26
5 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling @ 00:30
6 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team @ 00:33
7 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale @ ,,
8 KISERLOVSKI Robert RadioShack - Leopard @ ,,
9 COLBRELLI Sonny Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox @ 00:55
10 CARUSO Damiano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team @ 00:58
69 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team
128 DOWSETT Alex Movistar Team @ 20:32
160 BLYTHE Adam BMC Racing Team @ 22:26
163 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step @ 22:31
DNF MILLAR David Garmin Sharp

Points classification after stage 14

1 CAVENDISH Mark Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 109
2 EVANS Cadel BMC Racing Team 83
3 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro Vini Fantini 77
4 VIVIANI Elia Cannondale Pro Cycling Team 72
5 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling 65
6 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 65
7 NIZZOLO Giacomo RadioShack - Leopard 61
8 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale 59
9 BELKOV Maxim Katusha Team 55
10 PAOLINI Luca Katusha Team 45

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